Why Does My Jaw Muscles Hurt?

Pain in the jaw muscles, also known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), can be caused by a variety of factors. One potential cause is bruxism, which is the grinding or clenching of the teeth. Bruxism can be caused by stress, anxiety, or certain medications, and may lead to pain in the jaw muscles, as well as headaches and tooth wear.

Another potential cause of TMD is malocclusion, which is an improper alignment of the teeth. Malocclusion can cause strain on the jaw muscles and lead to pain.

TMD can also be caused by injuries to the jaw, such as those that occur during a car accident or sports injury. In addition, TMD may be a result of arthritis or other degenerative joint conditions.

Symptoms of TMD may include pain or tenderness in the jaw muscles, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, and a clicking or popping sound when moving the jaw.

Treatment for TMD will depend on the underlying cause. Bruxism may be treated with a mouthguard to protect the teeth, stress management techniques, and muscle relaxants. Malocclusion may be treated with orthodontic treatment, such as braces or retainers. Injuries to the jaw may require rest and physical therapy. Arthritis and other degenerative joint conditions may be treated with medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and possibly surgery.

It is important to consult a healthcare provider if you experience persistent or severe pain in the jaw muscles, as prompt treatment may be necessary.

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