Jaw pain is certainly a less common complaint amongst our patients
Fortunately, our chiropractors are trained in treating the temporomandibular articulation (the jaw), where treatment usually incorporates joint mobilisation techniques, soft tissue massaging for muscles of the face and jaw, and probably most importantly, a series of therapeutic home exercises.
Successful management of jaw pain depends on many factors.
The initial emphasis should be on prevention by identifying the habits and functions placing a person at risk of injury.
You might be surprised how active the jaw is throughout the day.
Knowing how one uses their jaw throughout the day could explain discomfort felt in this region. It could also serve as a starting point for modifying any bad habits or over usage of the jaw in preventing a disorder.
What are the signs and symptoms of a disorder?
- pain felt in the jaw and/or muscles
- pain felt in the area of the ear, temples or cheeks
- limited or deviated jaw mobility
- clicking, popping or grinding of the jaws
What causes of jaw pain?
Jaw pain is a symptom of a variety of different diseases, disorders and conditions. If you experience pain on one or both sides of your head in front of your ears, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder [TMD]. TMD is characterized by pain, tenderness, and trouble opening your mouth. TMD can be caused by behaviors such as teeth grinding, improperly aligned teeth or bite, and age-related wear and tear on the joint and the articular disc that cushions the joint. More serious conditions that lead to jaw and joint pain include rheumatoid arthritis and neuralgia (nerve pain).
Jaw pain is a sign of inflammatory, infectious, and autoimmune processes including:
- Age-related wear and tear on the jaw joint and surrounding tissues
- Jaw alignment disorder
- Jaw dislocation or fracture
- Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
- Osteonecrosis of the jaw (loss of blood supply to an area of the jaw bone, usually occurring in people taking bisphosphonate
- medications for osteoporosis)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Teeth grinding
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
- Dry socket (complication of tooth extraction)
- Impacted tooth
- Tooth abscess
- Tooth decay
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
- Trigeminal neuralgia (pain from the nerve responsible for sensations on your face)
In some cases, jaw pain may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition including:
- Heart attack
- Oral cancer
*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this discussion are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE JAW PAIN?
Ideally, you would want to restrict the activity of your jaw to eating and speech only. Habits like nail biting, smoking, pencil biting, teeth grinding are all essentially unnecessary, and more importantly deprive this active joint of valuable rest time.
Consider also how you chew your food. Do you tend to chew on one side more so than the other? In the interest of exercising both sides of muscle groups around the jaw, try to chew evenly on both sides of your mouth when eating.
Lip stretch – smile then pucker lips
Lateral jaw stretch – push your jaw sideways
Lateral jaw stretch