Severe Jaw pain or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) can be one of the most painful conditions there is.
Severe Jaw pain can be caused by several problems including jaw fractures, clenching at night, postural habits or teeth alignment. This kind of pain can lead to many symptoms including jaw pain, headaches, neck pain, clicking with jaw motion and occasionally ringing in your ears.
There are several interesting things to think about with TMD. An estimated one third of the population experiences a bout of severe jaw pain and women experience jaw pain twice as often as men. Also, 50% of the population experiences clicking in the jaw without any painful symptoms. All of these statistics show how common severe jaw pain is.
Although severe jaw pain is very common there are several simple ways to manage your jaw pain including the tips below:
1: Avoid foods that irritate your jaw.
The two most common foods that can be irritating are hard crunchy food and gum.
2: Avoid opening your mouth too wide.
Often opening at the end-most range of motion can lead to jaw locking or instability.
3: Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
When you sleep on your stomach, your jaw has to bear weight and your neck is fully rotated. Being in this position chronically will lead to dysfunction.
4: Discuss your jaw pain with your dentist.
He or she may notice a reason for your pain based on your teeth alignment. Then your dentist may be able to make a bite guard which can decrease your pain.
Besides the tips from above, there are several things that a physical therapist can do to decrease your severe jaw pain. Often postural exercises and jaw stabilization exercises are helpful for relieving your pain. Severe jaw pain is generally greater reduced by soft tissue work and modalities which can be administered by a Physical Therapist.
For more information about Jaw Pain, visit The American Physical Therapy Association. I have received advanced post doctorate training specializing in TMJ or Severe Jaw Pain. We regularly treat patients with acute and chronic severe jaw pain.
As a reminder, patients do not need a referral from their doctor to go to physical therapy. Call now to make an appointment, and we’ll send all necessary communications to your primary care provider.
Jon Hill, DPT, Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy with Siskiyou PT
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