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Dealing with a Sore Jaw

Credit: Unsplash
If you’re not a fighter, it shouldn’t be hurting that way.

Pain in the joint tends to become a persistent issue as you age, but there’s a specific joint in your body that you might not notice until it starts hurting: the temporomandibular joint, or simply “TMJ.” The TMJ serves as the sliding hinge connecting your skull to your jaw; every person has one on both sides of their head. When there are issues with one or both TMJs, it’s commonly referred to as a TMJ disorder or simply “TMJ.”

TMJ disorders typically manifest as soreness, discomfort, and sensitivity in the jaw area, along with challenges in chewing, and in severe cases, difficulty in proper mouth opening and closing. The causes of TMJ disorders can be diverse; while inflammation or arthritis are common culprits, excessive chewing on one side of the mouth can also lead to its development.

Credit: Unsplash

The positive news is that minor TMJ disorders often resolve on their own within a few days to a week. While you have to endure the discomfort in the meantime, it can be managed with non-prescription pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and cold compresses. Additionally, you can attempt simple jaw exercises to relax and strengthen your jaw muscles. In cases of severe or persistent pain, therapy or surgery may be necessary for treatment. Consult with a physician, dentist, or TMJ specialist to determine the best course of action for you.

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