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Jaw Pain- Causes, and treatments.

Hearing a popping sound in your jaw joints? Experiencing a dull throb or a sharp pain? We feel you. Millions of people worldwide are affected by the problem of facial and jaw pain. Correct diagnosis and treatment is a challenge in this case because there are many potential causes of jaw pain. For doctors to be able to provide the best course of pain-relieving treatment, it is essential to identify the exact cause.


There can be many reasons behind the jaw pain related to nerve problems, physical injuries or blood vessel problems. Temporomandibular joint disorder is one of the most commonly reported causes of jaw pain. Some other causes of jaw pain are:

- Osteomyelitis: In this condition, an infection in the body affects the bones and associated tissues. - Capsulitis or Synovitis: In these conditions, the lining of the joint or connecting ligaments become inflamed. - Sinus problems: Sinusitis or sinus problem is inflammation of the air cavities within the nasal or sinus passages. - Vascular pain: When the supply of blood to a part of the body is disrupted, this type of pain occurs. Conditions that include carotid artery dissection and giant cell arteritis are responsible for this type of pain. - Neurovascular pain: In conditions such as cluster headaches and migraine, both the blood vessels and the nerves are affected. This results in neurovascular pain. - Tension headaches: Caused by stress, these headaches may lead to jaw pain. - Dental problems: Gum diseases, cavities, tooth gaps, damaged teeth or abscesses can all cause jaw pain. - Teeth clenching, grinding or opening the mouth too wide: While sleeping, you may experience teeth grinding and clenching, which can lead to jaw pain and tooth damage.

Other factors such as lack of nutrients, tiredness, sleep disturbances and conditions such as Lyme disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism and so on may also cause jaw pain.


Treatment methods of jaw pain vary depending on its cause, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Use of a mouth guard
  • If caused by an infection, antibiotics can be used
  • Antidepressants
  • For treating nerve-related conditions, topical capsaicin could be helpful
  • Surgery for treating an affected nerve, removing the damaged bone or for diagnosis
  • Muscle relaxants, to relax the affected muscles
  • Steroid injections
  • Pain medication
  • Antiviral therapy
  • Prescription medications to treat cluster headaches
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Blood pressure medication when a migraine is being treated
  • Acupuncture
  • Using the correct posture to avoid back and neck strain
  • Injections with local anesthetics
  • Root canal treatment for treating an infection within teeth
  • Tooth extraction for an infected or abnormal tooth
  • Stretching exercises
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Soft diet
  • Cold therapy or moist heat application

Once you know what triggers your jaw pain, you can prevent the pain from returning.

Basic preventive measures would be as follows:
  • Take smaller bites of food.
  • Limit the consumption of caffeine.
  • Try massage, aerobic exercises, and meditation.
  • Avoid grinding and clenching teeth.
  • Eat soft or liquid foods such as pasta or soup.
  • Avoid eating crunchy foods, chewing fingernails, and gum.
  • If required, take magnesium and calcium supplements.
  • Sleep on your sides or your back. Do not sleep on your stomach.
  • Try to maintain the correct posture of your jaw and mouth.
  • Visit your dentist and get routine checkups done regularly.
  • Avoid carrying weight on the shoulder for too long, and when you do, keep switching shoulder frequently.
  • Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent jaw pain.

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