Why does my jaw hurt when I move it or chew on food?
I have been having jaw locked like symptoms for the past one week. It's painful to move sideways and sometimes there is a clicking sound to it. It is hard to open the mouth and to chew on food. It feels like a sharp pain, and worsens during morning and night time.
Dear JY, thank you for your question. Pain in the jaw joint that is worse during jaw movement is usually due to Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction.
We do not know what exactly causes TMJ dysfunction but they can arise from problems with the muscle, cartilage or bone of the jaw joint.
Some risk factors for the development of TMJ dysfunction include:
1. Trauma - An injury to the jaw e.g. from a punch to the face, sporting injuries or road traffic accidents can damage the jaw joint
2. Repetitive stress to the jaw joint - teeth grinding during sleep, frequent chewing etc
3. Arthritis - This is due to generation or inflammation of the joint
Common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include:
1. Jaw pain
2. Clicking sound on jaw movement
3. Lock jaw
4. Stiff jaw
5. Pain in the temple area
Treatment of TMJ dysfunction:
Most of the time, TMJ dysfunction resolves with pain relievers with anti-inflammatory properties (NSAIDS - e.g. Arcoxia, Celebrex, Naproxen, Synflex etc) and reducing stress to the jaw joint (e.g taking soft diet, avoiding gum chewing etc).
However, in severe cases, an imaging (X-ray or scan) may be required to assess the jaw joint. Some patients may also need to see a dentist to get a night guard (occlusal splint) to reduce the stress of teeth grinding on the jaw joint during sleep.
Hope this helps, and all the best.
The first thing I would advise you to do is to look in the mirror and see if your teeth have a very flattened appearance. Flattened teeth are indicative of teeth grinding at night which is a common cause of jaw pain or jaw locked symptoms.
Nocturnal grinding ie teeth grinding during sleep can increase in intensity especially during stressful periods which can lead to heightened pain symptoms such as the ones you have described.
In general, the underlying reasons for jaw pain can be split into 2 categories:
1. Muscular and soft tissue issues
2. Skeletal (bone) and hard (teeth) issues
Solutions for a jaw pain can be as simple as a nightguard or something more advanced such as painkillers / botox / orthodontic treatment, in order to get to the root of the problem and get you pain free in not just the short but also long term.
A full consultation with clinical examination and xrays would be needed to determine the reason and solution for your jaw pain.
Hope this helps and feel free to inquire further! Have a great day ahead.