The temporomandibular joint is the link between the jaws and the skull. TMJ is another name for it. Speaking, chewing, and mouth movement are all mainly owing to the joint. Compared to other joints in the body, it is significantly more sensitive.
Therefore, whenever there is an issue, the joint hurts. Among the symptoms of the condition are excruciating headache and jaw pain.
Pain in the ears and jaw can range from mild to severe. A wide range of conditions, such as bacterial infection, injuries, and joint issues, can result in ear and jaw pain. The conditions listed below are some that can make your jaw and ears hurt.
Reasons Why Your Jaw and Ear Hurt
1. TMJ Disorders
Because it allows jaw movement, the TMJ indirectly contributes to many activities like chewing and talking. As a result, it comprises both the jaw joint and the neighbouring muscles that facilitate movement. The following are some signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders:
- Have trouble opening your mouth widely.
- Jaws that “lock” with an open or closed mouth.
- Your jaw joint may make clicking, snapping, or irritating noises when you open or close your mouth.
- You have a tired expression on your face, and chewing is difficult.
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is another symptom.
Chronic TMJ or other medical conditions such as:
- sleep apnea
- anxiety, or depression
It may be present in patients who have symptoms such as swelling, discomfort, or stress.
2. Ear Infection
Many times, bacteria or viruses are to blame for ear infections. Moreover, infections can be brought on by an accumulation of water or other liquids in or near your ear, which makes you more prone to earaches or jaw pain, more precisely pain behind the jaw under the ear. Likewise, it’s a warning sign if you have a low to high fever and trouble staying awake.
In cases of mastoiditis, untreated ear infections can also spread to other body parts. As the condition progresses, the person may experience massive inflammation and discomfort on one side of the area near the ear and jaw. Severe instances of this condition may call for an immediate diagnosis because they may be fatal.
Sinusitis can cause pain in the ears and jaw. This condition can develop if your nasal passages are swollen and irritated due to a cold or allergies. You can develop bacterial sinusitis, though a virus typically brings on the infection.
4. Teeth Grinding
You might develop a TMJ disorder from grinding your teeth, which would cause ear and jaw ache. This condition may:
- affect how your teeth align
- wear down your teeth
- destroy your TMJ
- exercise your muscles
5. Rheumatoid or Psoriatic Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes damage to healthy joints. It can cause joint pain that can spread throughout the body at times. Some triggers particularly exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis or other autoimmune diseases can cause pain in the jaw, behind the ear, and inside the ear.
How to Treat TMJ-Related Ear and Jaw Discomfort
As long as there is no severe injury or underlying infection, you can manage the ear and jaw discomfort at home. People can experiment with the following strategies:
- letting your jaw rest
- home treatments
- using over-the-counter painkillers to reduce inflammation
- wearing a splint or brace to limit the movement of the jaw
- flushing the affected joint to reduce swelling
- in severe conditions, surgery is required
- apply ice or heat to the wound to reduce pain and speed up the healing
Antibiotics are almost always required to treat infections. A person may occasionally require additional medical care when a severe infection like mastoiditis. In case natural remedies don’t work, there are several medical options:
- Teeth and jaw alignment through orthodontic treatment.
- TMJ surgery is used to relieve TMJ pain.
- A custom-made device to keep teeth from grinding
- Dental grinding due to anxiety can be treated with mental health services.
- Prescription drugs for arthritic pain.
Have you recently been dealing with jaw and ear discomfort? The pain may be due to a medical issue in your jaw, ear, or mouth, or it may be caused by referred pain. This occurs When the pain originates elsewhere in your body but travels to a specific area of your body. However, you should see your doctor or visit the nearest healthcare centre.