Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

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As many people know, the jaw is an important part of the musculoskeletal system. The jaw muscles help you chew your food, speak, and change facial expressions. There could be numerous reasons why your jaw hurts.

While some of them are common, others aren’t. It’s important to figure out what’s causing your jaw to hurt so you can treat it effectively.

Some of the common reasons your jaw hurts include TMJ, sinusitis, dental problems, and more.

Should Jaw Pain Concern You?

Jaw pain should be concerning to you if you have been experiencing it for a while or it is affecting your ability to eat, speak, or sleep.

It may also signify a more serious health issue such as an infection, cancer, arthritis, or other condition that needs medical attention. You will want to see your dentist if you have been suffering from jaw pain for some time and it isn’t getting better.

Common Jaw Pain Causes

TMJ Disorder

If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, it could be due to TMJ dysfunction or an underlying medical condition. TMJ dysfunction occurs when the temporomandibular joint breaks down (the hinge joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull). This can happen for various reasons, including arthritis or an injury.

Symptoms may include pain around the mouth area, clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth, headaches, earaches, and neck pain. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should consult your dentist or doctor to get evaluated for TMJ dysfunction or other medical conditions.


Jaw pain due to Sinusitis is a fairly common occurrence. Sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull present in the area behind the nose, at the top of the cheekbones, and the forehead.

When these become infected or inflamed, it can lead to pain in these areas. The most common cause of this is an infection of the sinuses called sinusitis. There are many different reasons for this, so it is important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Dental Problems

You might be experiencing jaw pain due to dental problems. It is important to go to the dentist if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort. If you cannot go to the dentist, there are some things you can do yourself. You can use a cold compress on your jaw to help reduce pain and swelling.

It is also recommended that you avoid chewing hard food until your dental problems have been resolved.

Not So Common Jaw Pain Causes

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as TNG, is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. It can cause sudden, sharp pain in the cheek or jaw area. A person with Trigeminal Neuralgia might feel the pain once in a while, or they might feel it regularly.

Common symptoms include episodes of severe facial pain, episodes of sudden numbness on one side of the face or head, or episodes of severe headache with nausea and vomiting.

The symptoms may come and go for months or years before they become constant.


Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection of the bone or bone marrow. The bacteria infect the bone and can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the surrounding area.

If left untreated, osteomyelitis can result in limb amputation if it spreads to the joints. It is not common, but it is known to cause severe jaw pain in some patients.

Tumors and Cysts

Jaw pain is one of the primary symptoms of a tumor. When the tumor is on the jaw, it can cause pain in the cheek and ear. Jaw pain can also be caused by cysts, fluid-filled sacs that can form in the jaw or around teeth.

A cyst will usually disappear on its own, but if it gets larger and more painful, it may need to be removed by a dentist. This type of pain is typically worse on one side and feels like a dull ache that can be made worse by chewing or talking.

Effective Tips to Relieve Jaw Pain

Jaw pain can be caused by several things, such as grinding teeth, clenching teeth, or an infection. Pain from these things usually starts in your jaw and then spreads to other areas of your body. You can help relieve your pain by making an appointment with a dentist and discussing the best course of action for you.

Usually, there are several options open to you. Some of them include wearing a mouthguard at night, taking medication prescribed by your doctor, adjusting your diet, and quitting habits that cause the pain. There are also a few other tips that can help you.

Heat – This is a good option for those who suffer from the temporomandibular joint disorder, which is a common issue with the jaw. The heat and compression will help relieve the discomfort and also aid in the healing process

Cold Compress – This can be done by placing an ice pack on the jaw for 15 minutes, three times per day. It can also be done by placing a bag of frozen peas on the jaw for 15 minutes, three times per day.

Pain Relief Medication – Several different prescription and non-prescription medications are available to help relieve a sore jaw. Some medications work by decreasing inflammation and pain, as well as those that work by easing muscle spasms. Speak with your doctor to find out which treatment will work best for you.

Resting Your Jaw – Jaw pain is a common occurrence, especially when it is related to stress. Stress can cause muscle tension, which may lead to jaw pain or tension headaches. Try taking a break from work or other stressful tasks. This will allow your jaw muscles to relax.

Massage – Jaw massage can help relieve tension in your jaw, neck, and shoulders. The massage may help you to feel more relaxed and less stressed. To perform the massage, use your thumbs or fingers to press your jaw muscles in an upward motion for about 10 seconds. You can repeat this process up to three times.

Change in Sleeping Position – It is common for people to experience discomfort or pain in the jaw area when they sleep on their back. This is often due to the lower jaw being pulled down and forward by gravity. Sleeping on one’s side or stomach can provide more relief for this issue.

Final Thoughts

Jaw pain is one of the most common ailments because 75% of people will experience some type of pain in their jaws at some point in their life. There are many different causes for this pain. One of the most common causes is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

This disorder is caused by an improper alignment of the jawbone and can be caused by grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, or even chewing. Another cause of jaw pain is an infection inside the mouth or around the lips.

While most jaw pains are harmless, it’s important to see a doctor if the pain is persistent and lasts more than a couple of days.

About Post Author

Dr. Ethan Turner

Meet Dr. Ethan Turner, a seasoned Pharm.D. professional with a passion for content writing. With years of expertise, Ethan has honed his skills in crafting engaging blog posts that seamlessly blend pharmaceutical knowledge with captivating storytelling. Join him on a journey where years of experience meet the art of compelling blog writing, as he continues to share insights and expertise with a creative flair.
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