Jaw Lock: Causes and Treatment
Jaw locking is a medical condition characterized by a feeling of stiffness, clicking and locking of the jaw. It can range from mild to moderate cases and in extreme cases can cause tremendous discomfort. Here is a look into some of the causes and treatments of jaw locking .
- Arthritis: Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) causes the joint to become swollen and painful. This can result in a feeling of stiffness and locking of the jaw.
- Stress: People with high levels of stress may experience jaw locking. Stress can lead to tightness in the body and muscles, which can also lead to jaw locking.
- Bruxism: Bruxism is when people grind or clench their teeth while they sleep. It is often caused by stress and anxiety and can lead to jaw locking.
- Misaligned Bite: A misaligned bite can cause the jaw to overwork or become strained. This can lead to inflammation and resulting jaw locking.
- Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce inflammation and pain from TMJ.
- Therapy: Physical therapy and exercises designed to strengthen and relax the jaw can help people manage their jaw locking.
- Surgery: In rare cases, if the jaw remains locked, surgery may be needed to repair the joint.
Jaw locking can be a painful and annoying condition, but there are treatments available. By understanding the causes and exploring the treatments, you can manage and prevent jaw locking.
4. What are the symptoms of a locked jaw?
Symptoms of a locked jaw may include difficulty opening or closing the jaw, pain or tenderness in the jaw or around the ear, clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the jaw, or an inability to fully open or close the jaw. Other symptoms may include headaches, difficulty chewing, and jaw fatigue.
5. Are there any medical interventions that can alleviate jaw locking?
Yes, there are several medical interventions that can alleviate jaw locking. These include physical therapy, Botox injections, prescribed oral medications, and surgery. Physical therapy can help reduce jaw tension and pain associated with jaw locking. Botox injections can help reduce the involuntary movements of the jaw muscles that cause the locking. Prescribed oral medications such as muscle relaxants can help reduce spasms and pain associated with the jaw locking. Surgery may also be an option for some cases, such as those with severe joint damage.
1. What causes your jaw to lock?
Jaw locking can be caused by a number of factors. These can include excessive tension in the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), arthritis, injury, nerve damage, stress, teeth grinding, misalignment of the teeth, and infection.
2. How can you relieve a locked jaw?
Some steps you can take to relieve a locked jaw include:
1. Apply moist heat using warm towels, heating pads, or warm packs to the side of your jaw.
2. Massage the facial and jaw muscles.
3. Perform gentle stretching exercises to open the jaw and release tension.
4. Avoid biting on hard foods or objects.
5. Relax your jaw muscles and open your mouth slightly.
6. Take an over-the-counter muscle relaxant or pain reliever.
7. Seek professional help from a dentist or physical therapist for more serious cases.