Jaw Joint Pain is a serious issue for many people.
If your hand hurts, sure that's bad, but when your jaw hurts constantly, when it hurts to talk or eat or smile or sleep, and doesn't go away, that's a problem.
Doctors are unfortunately not very helpful (if they're helpful at all). Some jaw pain is due to medical issues (bone disease, damage from pharmaceutical drugs, etc), but most is just due to chronically tight muscles that won't relax.
And muscle relaxers aren't a fix, if they even help at all.
Like all joint pain, pain in jaw joints shows up and stays for certain specific reasons.
There are several possible symptoms of jaw joint discomfort and pain.
It a little bit depends on the cause of the joint pain, but ultimately it falls down into these flavors of symptoms:
Any flavor of pain can be experienced. It just depends on your specific scenario.
If the joint(s) is compressed, then the interior parts are pressing on each other (when you're at rest) and pressing on each other and GRINDING (literally) on each other when you move your jaw to eat, talk, etc.
Reduced Range Of Motion
Due to muscles being so tight they don't allow range of motion, and/or movement increasing pain and that stops movement, reduced range of motion is a very common jaw joint pain symptom.
There are people that literally can't open their mouths to take a bite of food because their jaw muscles are SO tight, and that causes pain when they try to open their mouths.
The good news is, this is reversible.
There are three primary causes of pain in and around jaw joints:
The Tendonitis Dynamic
People have probably told you that jaw grinding and clenching is a cause of jaw pain. And that is true....except that grinding and clenching is caused by the tendonitis dynamic.
Tendonitis of all kinds is a combination of three factors:
See: What Is Tendonitis?
Nutritional Insufficiency causes muscles to get tight.
Nutritional insufficiency causes anxiety.
Both those factors cause grinding and clenching. Which just gets worse over time and the three factors build on each other to progressively get worse and worse.
Inflammation releases chemicals which increase your sensitivity to pain.
Your doctor hasn't been able to figure it out, but it's really not rocket science.
A punch (or equivalent) to the jaw.
A fall or car crash that results in impact to the mouth/jaw.
Any variation of impact to jaw, really.
It can injure the ligaments holding the jaw joint together.
It can cause TMJ Dislocation (which stretches ligaments, kicks in the inflammation process, causes pain which tightens up muscles and uses up necessary nutrition).
It can cause TMJ Lockjaw (where the joint gets out of alignment and stuck).
TMJ and/or Injury Can Cause Arthritis
Injury sets up a jaw tendonitis dynamic. TMJ is a jaw tendonitis dynamic.
THis results in compression of the jaw joint. That results in arthritis and potential future damage to the jaw joint itself....which of course then helps create more pain.
See: What Is Arthritis?
Pharmaceutical Drugs That Cause Jaw Joint Pain
Certain drugs can deplete nutrition, and that can kick in a jaw tendonitis dynamic.
Other drugs have been found to actually damage the jaw joint.
Fosamax and Actonel are the two famous brand names that can and do damage jaw bones and joints.
Both pharmaceutical drugs are in a class named 'biphosphonates'.
Essentially, Fosamax makes bones brittle and easily breakable. Actonel causes osteonecrosis (bone death) of jaw bones (including jaw joints).
I'd advise you to stay away from these 'osteoporosis drugs'.
If you have jaw joint pain, you want to get rid of it.
You've probably already seen doctors and done what they've suggested...and you're still in pain.
If you have lockjaw, you may need to see a doctor to get you out of acute pain/problem.
If you have a jaw joint dislocation, there's not much do to about that, if the ligaments and joint capsule were stretched, aside from how to keep muscle function optimal and reduce the tendonitis dynamic.
If you have 'normal' TMJ pain and problem, then you have to effectively deal with EACH of the factors of the tendonitis dynamic.
Muscles are too tight, compressing one or both jaw joints, and sending a pain signal to the brain. The brain then makes each of the three factors worse. Until that muscle tightness is corrected, there is no way for a painful jaw to stop being painful.
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