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Tightness in Jaw

The jaw is one of the most important part of the human face. But, over usage can cause pain, tenderness, and a tight feeling in the jaw. Read on to know more...
Niharika Arya Apr 23, 2019
The jaw is a bony structure that protects the interior of the mouth, and also helps chew and swallow the food. Sometimes you may experience pain and tightness in jaw. This probably is associated to temporomandibular joint or TMJ. TMJ is the joint between the skull (temporo) and the lower jaw (mandibular).
There is a plate made up of cartilage between the two joints and all these three are connected with the help of muscles. This is a very important and complicated joint. Any temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction may lead you to painful and stiff jaw.
There are many other parts which are related to the TMJ like ear, head, face, teeth, throat, neck, etc. Hence, these parts also get affected when there is any disorder in the TM joint.


Many people get affected by TMJ disorder, but they usually are not able to figure it out in the initial stage. Hence, it is noticed when there is an increase in pain and tightness. Here are some of the causes related to this condition:
  • The dislocation of the disc which is present in between the TMJ can result in tight feeling in the jaw. As there are two joints, one on the right side and the other on the left, it can happen due to the improper movement of the jaws.
  • Overuse of the TMJ associated muscles can also result in painful and stiff jaw. This can happen due to excessive gum chewing, cracking nuts with teeth, clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism), etc.
  • Arthritis can also lead to this condition. The jaw pain can be intense, and it may also result in locking of the jaws.
  • Bone deformity or over growth can also be a cause of tightened jaw. Some people may have overgrowth of their lower or upper jaw which may create further problems.
  • Accidents and injuries may sometimes effect the TMJ and surrounding muscles. Hence, in severe cases the damage is treated with the help of surgeries.
  • Dental problems can also be one of the jaw pain causes or may result in tightness too.
  • Stress and depression, whether its physical or psychological, may give rise to muscular tension, which in turn will lead to tight jaw muscles.
  • If you are observing tightness in chest and jaw, then this may be related to some heart-related problems.


The treatment is totally based on the cause of the condition. The correct diagnosis can give you quick relief. Hence, the first part of the treatment is associated to the correct diagnosis. After you know the exact reason, you can go for the treatment. Here are some of the treatments which can give you relief from TMJ dysfunction:
  • The very first way of treatment is the home remedy. If you have swelling and pain in the TMJ then apply heat therapy to the affected area. It will give you relief from pain as well as tightness.
  • If you have arthritis, then go for a proper blood test to confirm the diagnosis and then start the treatment for it.
  • If your disc or plate is dislocated or the tight feeling in the jaw is due to muscle spasm, then jaw exercises, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment will be very helpful.
  • If the reason is related to some dental problem, then go to a dentist to fix it.
  • If the problem is severe, then you may have to go for X-ray which may reveal the necessity of surgery.
  • Stress and depression have only one treatment and that is relax and be happy. Stay away from tensions ,and try to give rest to your mind.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.