Why does my jaw hurt?

Why does my jaw hurt?

Jaw pain is an incredibly common problem that affects millions people of people worldwide. There are several reasons and medical conditions that could be contributing to your jaw pain, so a correct diagnosis and treatment is important. Here are some things to look out for when you experience jaw pain.

Why your jaw may be in pain:

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD)

One of the most common reasons for jaw pain, TMD (also known as TMJ) is a complex condition that involves pain or sensitivity in the muscles and/or joints that control jaw movement. Along with jaw pain you could experience jaw clicking or popping, pain in the face, eyes, neck and head, along with pain when you chew or even open your mouth too wide. When dealing with TMD you could also experience pain elsewhere in the body, simultaneously.

Causes of TMD include:

  • Muscle pain in the jaw areas
  • Direct injury to jaw joint
  • Displacement of the disc that responsible for cushioning your jaw joint
  • Arthritis of the same disc
  • Blow or other impacts to the face and/or jaw

It’s common for healthcare professionals to initially dismiss TMD since it difficult to determine the exact cause. Less common causes of jaw pain include:

Neurovascular pain; cluster headaches or migraines

Cluster headaches and migraines are conditions that can cause excruciating pain to move to other parts of the face, such as your jaw.


If your sinuses become infected with germs (virus or bacterium) they could collect an excess amount of mucus that puts pressure on your jaw joint (since they are positioned so close together), causing pain.

Heart attack

A heart attack can cause pain in many areas of your body, including your jaw. Women in particular experience jaw pain during a heart attack.

Dental conditions

Cavities, damaged teeth, tooth gaps, gum disease or abscesses are all reasons you could be experiencing jaw pain.

Jaw pain can also be an underlying symptom of more severe health complications such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.

As to why jaw pain occurs is not limited to just the aforementioned factors and can also be tied to lifestyle-related factors. Stress, sleep disturbances, nutrient deficiency or tiredness are all reasons one may experience pain in the jaw region. The factors are diverse and varied, so it’s important to seek professional medical attention.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. MediSeen’s blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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