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Pain Edu: Jaw Pain

Orange County’s Guide to Jaw Pain

What is jaw pain?

There is nothing worse than having to deal with daily jaw pain. It affects how you eat and chew, how you talk or yawn, how you drink, and even how you sleep. Jaw pain can lead to headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing), neck pain and stiffness, and sometimes clicking or jaw locking. Obvious causes of jaw pain will include having extensive dental work performed, eating hard candy or foods, direct trauma or hit, and teeth grinding or bruxism. Jaw pain can prevent you from enjoying life and should be treated seriously, like any other physical symptom.

Pain Edu: Intro To Jaw pain

Are you experiencing pain or problems in your jaw? Click on this video to learn more about jaw pain and steps you can take to decrease your pain.

The main types of jaw pain



Headaches caused by jaw pain are typically centered around or behind the eyes, but can radiate down the jaw. Headaches caused by jaw disorders are some of the post painful types of headache and are difficult to alleviate.

Joint Pain

Joint Pain

Issues with your Temporomandibular joint and muscles can cause severe jaw pain. Several things can cause TMD jaw pain. It’s also possible to experience TMD due to several causes at the same time. If you feel you may have TMD issues it is important to address this with a physical therapist.

Sinus Pain

Sinus Pain

Sinus and jaw pain can be linked. The sinuses are air-filled cavities surrounding the jaw, if the sinuses become infected it can cause pressure on the jaw joint, which in turn causes pain.

What can you do about your jaw pain?

The solution to your jaw pain depends on the source of your pain and type of injury you may have sustained. The first step is to consult with your doctor and discuss their recommendations for treating the pain in your jaw. Your doctor may recommend restrictions on specific activities, medication and/or physical therapy for TMJ. You can try the following steps now to help alleviate your pain.



It is important when you are experiencing jaw pain to limit your activity and rest so that your joint can heal.


Hot/Cold packs

Apply hot/cold packs to your jaw to help decrease your pain and inflammation in the joints and muscles. To prevent damage to skin and surrounding tissue, cold packs should only be applied in 15 minute intervals.



If you don’t have increased jaw pain with movement, stretching the jaw muscles can be the first step in helping to loosen up your jaw joints and decrease the pain.


Physical therapy

Physical therapy consists of hands-on treatment to loosen muscles and joints, education on proper jaw movement to decrease pain, instruction on stretching and strengthening exercises to restore strength, and modalities such as electrical stimulation, cold/heat and ultrasound.

Exercises for jaw pain

Following are exercises that you can try to help decrease your jaw pain. Please consult your physician before trying these, and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.

Chin Tuck

TMJ Exercises

Top 10 TMJ Exercises

What can PTS do about your jaw pain?

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