What causes Jaw Pain?
Jaw pain is a common symptom that can have various causes. It can be a result of a problem with the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or it can be related to dental issues or other medical conditions. The pain can be sharp, dull, or throbbing and may be felt in the jaw joint, face, neck, or ear. Other symptoms may include difficulty opening or closing the mouth, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, headaches, and difficulty chewing or talking. Treatment for jaw pain depends on the underlying cause and may include pain medication, physical therapy, dental treatment, or surgery.
Jaw pain can have various causes, including:
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD): This condition affects the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. It can cause pain in the jaw joint, earache, headache, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.
- Dental problems: Dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, or impacted wisdom teeth can cause jaw pain.
- Sinus problems: Sinus infections or sinusitis can cause pain in the upper jaw and teeth.
- Trauma or injury: An injury to the jaw or face can cause pain in the jaw.
- Bruxism: This condition involves clenching or grinding of the teeth, which can lead to jaw pain.
- Arthritis: Arthritis can affect the jaw joint, causing pain and stiffness.
- Neuralgia: Neuralgia is a nerve disorder that can cause sharp, shooting pain in the face and jaw.
WHAT IS TMJ?
TMJ is an acronym that stands for Temporomandibular Joint. Your TMJ is located on both sides of your face in front of your ears and is the joint where the motion to move your jaw occurs. TMJ is often confused with TMD which is Temporomandibular Dysfunction (or when one experiences pain and difficulty with the joint itself). This is caused by irritation or inflammation of the joint itself or surrounding musculature.
Causes of TMJ
TMD can be caused by trauma to the joint, arthritis, teeth grinding, improper biting/chewing, stress, and even dislocation (popping) of the joint itself. These can cause many symptoms ranging from headaches, locking of the jaw, popping, ringing in the ear, swelling, and difficulty opening the mouth, to pain in the neck and shoulder areas.
Believe it or not, PTs are uniquely trained in identifying causes and treating TMD. We here at Carolina PT use a wide array of treatments for TMD including modalities (Heat/Ice/Electrical Stimulation), Soft Tissue Massage (STM), Intra-Oral massage Trigger Point reduction (inside of the mouth), Therapeutic Exercise, Integrated Dry Needling (IDN), Spinal and TMJ Mobilization.
We’ve had great success here at Carolina PT in reducing patients’ jaw pain and symptoms suffering from TMD and would welcome a chance to help you. If you are experiencing jaw pain and feel you may have TMD please don’t hesitate to give us a call to see if we can help.