• vinod vinod
    November 14, 2013
    Jaw pain that prevents opening mouth?
    vinod vinod
    November 14, 2013

    In the last two weeks my right jaw is really hurting. I am unable to open my mouth because of the pain. Thanks for any advice on what to do about this.

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

  • Cort
    Health Guide
    November 29, 2013
    Cort
    Health Guide
    November 29, 2013

    That sounds very much like temporal mandibular joint syndrome or as it's sometimes called TMJ or TMD. In TMG the muscles around the big joint at the base of the your skull get so clenched that it's difficult to open your mouth, and as you know, it can be very painful.  

    In most cases it will go away. If it is TMJ, the TMJ association recommends you do these things to relax that area and get your muscles out of spasm. Good luck! 

    • Moist Heat. Moist heat from a heat pack or a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, moist towel can improve function and reduce pain. Be careful to avoid burning yourself when using heat.
    • Ice. Ice packs can decrease inflammation and also numb pain and promote healing. Do not place an ice pack directly on your skin. Keep the pack wrapped in a clean cloth while you are using it. Do not use an ice pack for more than 10 - 15 minutes.
    • Soft Diet. Soft or blended foods allow the jaw to rest temporarily. Remember to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods. Do not stretch your mouth to accommodate such foods as corn on the cob, apples, or whole fruits.
    • Over the-Counter Analgesics. For many people with TMJ Disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, your dentist or doctor can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants to help ease symptoms.
    • Jaw Exercises. Slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility and healing. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can evaluate your condition and suggest appropriate exercises based on your individual needs.  A recent study found therapeutic jaw exercises bring earlier recovery of jaw function compared to splints! Click here to read the specific jaw exercises used in this study.
    • Relaxation Techniques. Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and modulates pain sensations. Some have found yoga, massage, and meditation helpful in reducing stress and aiding relaxation.
    • Side Sleeping. Sleep on your side using pillow support between shoulder and neck.
    • Relax Facial Muscles. Make a concerted effort to relax your lips, and keep teeth apart.
    • Yawning. Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent damage to the joint and prevent your jaw from locking open.

    In addition, avoid:

    • Jaw clenching.
    • Gum chewing.
    • Cradling the telephone, which may irritate jaw and neck muscles."

     Here are some other links that might be useful:

    Diagnosis of TMJ Disorder 

    Using Tylenol Responsibly

    Let’s Talk Pain Meds

     

     

     

     


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