Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is pain located at the jaw joint or in muscles that move the jaw. Issues with the TMJ issues can contribute to headaches and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Pain in the jaw can become so uncomfortable that opening and closing the mouth can become intolerable. You might find yourself ‘eating’ your meals through a straw.
You might even experience a ‘click’ when you open and close the jaw. There is a soft cartilaginous disc that sits in the joint. When your jaw deviates or moves out of alignment the disc can be displaced causing the ‘click.’ This can be a painful and require treatment, but often there are no symptoms. ‘Clicking’ and ‘grating’ is common. Sometimes your jaw can become ‘locked’ which occurs when the disc that sits between the jaw and skull gets stuck.
While the joint itself is often an issue you may only have pain because of the muscles that surround the jaw. These are strong muscles along your jaw and on the side of your head that are often a culprit in head and face pain. You might find these muscles are tender to the touch and massaging them provides temporary relief.
Head, neck, and shoulder pain and stiffness are symptoms that may be due to issues with the TMJ. Migraine headaches. Pain in the eyes and ears. Tinnitus or ‘ringing in the ears.’ A painful tongue. These are all additional symptoms that might occur with TMJ syndrome.
But how does someone get jaw pain?
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