“Oh, my jaw hurts…”
Who has never uttered this plaintive phrase?
But having a sore jaw is not just localized pain.
It is often diffuse, spreading to the cervical vertebrae and causing headaches or earaches.
Let’s see together the reasons for this pain, what is its possible cause and how to relieve it.
- 1 What is jaw pain?
- 2 Causes of jaw pain
- 3 What are the symptoms of a jaw disorder?
- 4 When to consult a dentist?
- 5 Temporomandibular joint disorder treatment
- 6 Tips for relieving jaw pain
- 7 Jaw pain natural treatment
- 8 How to strengthen your jaw?
- 9 How to stop jaw pain?
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
What is jaw pain?
Jaw pain also called temporomandibular joint or TMJ is very common because it is a hinge joint on both sides of the mandible that is overstretched.
Unlike all other joints, the TMJ is a double hinge that has the ability to exert movements in all directions, not only up and down but also sideways, forwards, and backward.
So you use your temporomandibular joint in all directions and to the extreme when chewing.
But this often acute pain, although localized to this joint, does not necessarily come from it.
Causes of jaw pain
Disorders related to the temporomandibular joint can appear at any time as soon as you suffer chronically from this joint or if its movements are limited.
And this problem is very embarrassing because you know how much it can impact your life and your diet.
Many factors can cause jaw trouble but the most common are:
When biting becomes impossible
This disorder is often due to a misalignment of the jaw.
Who would think that our little incisors can generate TMJ pain?
Yet if they don’t line up perfectly when you bite down, the temporomandibular joint moves erratically and you can’t chew normally.
All these staggered movements slowly lead to a joint disorder.
Bruxism is the term for clenching your teeth or grinding your teeth.
When chronic, it can lead to overpressure and premature wear of the temporomandibular joints.
The strain of squeezing the jaws very hard can damage the ligaments and muscles in the jaw that allow movement.
Gradual cartilage deterioration doesn’t just affect the joints of the hands or knees but can also cause joint pain related to arthritis of the jaw.
An accident or violent injury can permanently damage the internal ligaments and discs of the temporomandibular joint and thus create a jaw problem.
What are the symptoms of a jaw disorder?
To spot a temporomandibular joint disorder, some common symptoms should alert you:
- ear ache
Since your TMJ sits close to the ears, its muscles spread across your teeth, face, head, and neck.
So it’s not uncommon to experience jaw-related pain in places other than the joint itself.
You may also hear creaks and pops emanating from TMJs, especially when opening or closing your mouth.
Occasional creaking is insignificant but when it becomes systematic, talk to your dentist.
Joint stiffness that is just showing up but is likely to set in is more easily managed.
Also note the time of day the pain is worse, such as when waking up, which may be a sign of bruxism at night.
Limited movement as joints stiffens also carries over to your jaw.
You may not be able to open your mouth like before, not being able to bite into an apple may be impossible for you simply because of the weight of years.
Jaw blockage is very rare.
In some specific situations, you may find yourself with your mouth closed or opened and unable to move.
Medical intervention is then necessary.
Finally, atypical anatomy can only be taken care of by your dentist who will determine a possible deterioration of the articulation.
When to consult a dentist?
If you are at the point of not being able to eat normally or have to manage daily pain, it is imperative to consult your dentist.
He will perform x-rays to assess whether treatment is needed.
If he cannot help you directly, he will refer you to a dental surgeon, orthodontist or chiropractor, or osteopath.
Temporomandibular joint disorder treatment
Your dentist can recommend a combination of treatments to manage your pain.
He can refer you to orthodontic therapy if he thinks your ailment is related to your teeth.
A few years ago it was recommended to prescribe muscle relaxants but they were not without side effects.
This is the reason why dentists nowadays opt for botox injections which is a natural muscle relaxants with lasting effects.
The practitioner may also recommend that you wear a prosthesis such as a mouth guard or an anti-bruxism prosthesis.
The purpose of these prostheses is to help your jaw relax so that the joint is no longer under pressure.
The most frequently prescribed is the bruxism mouth guard (#ad) which will prevent you from clenching your teeth or grinding your teeth during the night and will allow the total relaxation of the joints and thus the relief of your jaw pain.
Tips for relieving jaw pain
We are not talking here about physical rest to bear the pain but about resting the joints.
You should therefore avoid chewing violently or consuming foods that are too hard.
On the contrary, it is even recommended to blend your food until the pain subsides.
Special mention for chewing gum is that it is good to banish it during this period because it exerts significant pressure on the jaw.
It is important to massage painful joints and muscles to reduce symptoms.
Your dentist can guide you in dedicated exercises.
You can also find many videos on the net to guide you.
3- Warm compress
Using a warm compress as soon as the pain starts can bring you real relief.
For maximum effectiveness, alternate 20 minutes of application, a 20-minute break, then a new 20-minute application for a few hours.
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol may be recommended for a day or two.
Jaw pain natural treatment
Collagen is a protein that the body produces naturally and is very suitable for treating joint pain regardless of its cause.
Studies show that it improves the elasticity of ligaments and tendons, and facilitates joint function.
Peptides are the vectors of collagen and allow its diffusion into your body.
It is therefore advisable to opt for a collagen peptides supplement (#ad) one to two scoops daily in your favorite drink.
Tasteless, you won’t even notice its presence.
A vitamin D deficiency is likely to cause muscle and joint pain.
It’s easy to stock up on this vitamin in the summer as you only need about 20 minutes of sun exposure to make your daily dose.
But, in winter, we are all more or less deficient in vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine, and the pain is exacerbated.
You can opt for a natural vitamin d3 (#ad) at a rate of 2000 to 5000IU per day.
Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in many body functions.
Its relaxing effects will help you relax the jaw muscles and thus reduce pain.
Go for a magnesium bisglycinate (#ad) which is more assimilable and has no digestive side effects.
Taking 300mg every day before bed gives you the benefit of muscle relaxation at night which impacts your well-being during the day.
The active compound in turmeric called curcumin is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory.
Its impact on joint pain is well established and its antioxidant action preserves joint cartilage.
Try a cure of an organic turmeric supplement (#ad) for a few weeks to assess its effectiveness.
How to strengthen your jaw?
A cork stopper, a simple cork stopper that you insert between your teeth can bring you great relief.
Cut a cork stopper into two parts.
Start by placing one half between your incisors and holding it there for a few minutes.
This posture will allow you to relax the maxillary muscles and thus reduce pain.
The next step is to move the half cap placed between your teeth from left to right and from right to left without using your hands, only by jaw movements.
Rolling it like this will slowly restore natural chewing movements, remove stiffness, and provide more elasticity.
By practicing these two simple exercises every day, you will notice a marked reduction in the pain and tension that you constantly feel in your jaws.
You can also work on opening and closing your mouth by practicing these types of exercises.
How to stop jaw pain?
A jaw problem that clicks, cracks, hurts, and tends to lock up can be very debilitating.
Some natural anti-inflammatory remedies can help you stop the pain.
Their effectiveness can be increased by introducing regular “jaw gymnastics”.
As with many joint pains, immobility is damaging.
With appropriate movements, you can correct an imbalance, strengthen the jaw muscles and reduce inflammation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Jaw pain who to consult?
It is important to consult your physician to rule out any cause other than joint or muscle pain.
Depending on his diagnosis, he will prescribe medical imaging such as an X-ray or MRI to reveal the exact cause of your jaw pain.
You may need to consult a dentist if a dental problem is evident.
What is a dislocated jaw?
Jaw dislocation is a strong exerted pressure that pushes the lower jaw out of its joint cavity.
It can occur simply by yawning or even during a dental examination.
It is the result of an open mouth at the limit of its capacity.
How to unlock the jaw?
Even if it is generally advisable to consult a doctor, it is possible to unlock the jaw by simple stretches.
You can open your mouth while inhaling slowly and pressing a finger to your chin, being careful not to hurt you.
On the exhale, you release the pressure exerted by the finger and gently close your mouth.
Practiced 3 times a day for a few minutes, this exercise will unlock your jaw.