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Ear and Jaw Pain

Some people experience pain in the ear and the jaw, every time they move it to chew or talk. There are a number of reasons which can cause this pain. Read on to know some information regarding the same.
Bhakti Satalkar Apr 16, 2019
Trigger point of ear and jaw pain is located in the muscles of jaw and anterior neck. The jawbone, where jaw meets skull is called temporomandibular joint . It's located in front of the ear. When this area hurts, there's ear pain too, as ear muscles will tighten. Often, the combined pain is due to temporomandibular dysfunction, i.e. over tensed jaw muscles.

Causes

Teeth Grinding

This is often the cause of pain in the ear and jaw in children. Teeth grinding is called bruxism. In this condition, people clench, gnash and grind their teeth. In case of severe bruxism, the person may require splints, mouth guards, behavior therapy, or dental procedures to get the misaligned teeth fixed. Severe pain indicates temporomandibular disorder.

Temporomandibular Disorder

When the joints stiffen up abnormally and there are symptoms like headache, lockjaw as well as pain in the ear and jaw, it is due to temporomandibular disorder, also called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
Along with teeth grinding, it can also be caused due to anxiety, fatigue, stress, nail biting, etc. This condition affects women more, especially in the childbearing age. It is characterized by pain in the jaw and surrounding tissues, and limitations in the jaw movements.

Cancer

Cancer of the salivary glands present in the throat, neck, and mouth can also give rise to sharp pain in the ears and the jaw. This is a rare type of cancer. It is caused due to exposure to radiation, persistent use of tobacco in any form, or family history of the same.
The symptoms of this condition are facial swelling and numbness, difficulty while swallowing, recurring pain around the salivary glands, etc. A main salivary gland is located in front of the ear, and hence there can be pain.

Dry Socket

If a blood clot is dislodged while tooth extraction, it exposes the bone and nerves underneath, giving rise to pain in the jaw and ear. The pain may radiate to other parts of the head such as the jaws, ears, eyes, etc.

Sinus Infection

Sinus infections can also lead to this pain. When the sinuses are blocked, they can radiate pressure on the ear, and subsequently, also on the jaw.

Referred Pains

If the jaw muscles are overworked, there can be pain in these muscles. The pain originates from the jaw muscles, but it can also be felt in the ear.

Treatment

Depending on the cause of the pain, the treatment will vary. If it caused due to temporomandibular disorder, pain killers, and muscle relaxants may be given. Some physiotherapy exercises can also be prescribed. For temporary relief, you may try using hot compress. If the pain is severe, surgery might be required.
In case of cancer of the salivary glands, radiation, chemotherapy, re-constructive therapy, or surgery may be required, depending on the spread of cancer. Treatment for pain due to dry socket includes pain killers, medicated dressing, and socket flushing.
Since there are various reasons which can cause ear and jaw pain, it is always good to have yourself examined by a health care professional, as at times, it can be confusing to understand, what is the underlying cause of the problem.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.