If you’ve ever experienced jaw or ear pain, you know how frustrating it can be. The pain is usually sharp and localized to one side of your face. If left untreated, the pain can become more frequent and unbearable. Fortunately, you can do several simple things to ease the pain and reduce its frequency. To understand why you might be experiencing jaw or ear pain, below are five reasons that might explain your situation and some potential solutions.
1. You Might Have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Issues
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where your jaw connects to your skull. The muscles around this joint can cause overactive pain (for example, when you clench your teeth). Although TMJ pain can occur in any part of your face, it is commonly experienced in the ear. If you experience ear and jaw pain, it’s important to rule out TMJ as the cause. You can do so by visiting your dentist for a thorough exam. If your dentist suspects you have TMJ issues, they can refer you to a doctor specializing in TMJ treatment.
2. Your Eardrum May be Damaged
The eardrum is a thin membrane separating the external and middle ear. The ear could become infected if a sharp object pierces your eardrum. An infected ear could lead to hearing loss or even a full-blown eardrum rupture if left untreated. If you experience jaw and ear pain in one ear, it is important to rule out an eardrum puncture as the cause. To do so, visit your doctor for a thorough examination. If your doctor suspects that your eardrum has been punctured, they can administer antibiotics to clear up the infection. Sometimes, the doctor may opt to repair the eardrum with sutures.
3. You Might be Experiencing Tension or Migraine-Related Pain
Clenching your teeth can cause your jaw muscles to become tense. If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, this tension could trigger pain in your jaw joint. Similarly, a migraine can cause pain in your jaw joint. A migraine is often characterized by a combination of symptoms such as migraine-related pains, sensitivity to light and sound, and a visual disturbance. It could be a migraine if you experience jaw and ear pain along with one or more of the above symptoms. To rule out this possibility, track your pain. If you notice it is recurring and seems to follow a pattern, it could be migraine-related pain. If so, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
4. You May Have an Infection In Your Jawbone or Eardrum
If you experience jaw and ear pain on one side of your face, you may have an infection in the ear or jaw. To rule out this possibility, visit your doctor for a thorough examination. If your doctor suspects an infection, they will most likely prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection up. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe steroids to reduce your eardrum or jawbone swelling. If you have an infected eardrum, your doctor can administer antibiotics through an injection. In some cases, your doctor may surgically remove the infected eardrum.
5. You May Have Arthritis In Your Jaw Joint
Arthritis is a degenerative disease that causes inflammation and joint damage. Arthritis can occur in any joint in your body. Jaw joint arthritis is rare but can occur as you age. If you experience ear and jaw pain on one side of your face and are over 40, it is important to rule out arthritis as the cause. To do so, visit your doctor for a thorough examination. If your doctor suspects you have arthritis in your jaw joint, they can recommend treatment options such as anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery.
Pain in the ears or jaw is not a normal symptom and can have various causes. If you have ear or jaw pain, the first step is to rule out any serious causes. Once you have done so and the persistent pain, it is important to follow the steps above to help ease the pain and prevent it from recurring. Even though there are several potential causes for jaw and ear pain, there are also several remedies. Following this article’s advice, you can ease the pain caused by TMJ issues, eardrum damage, tension, migraine, infection, and arthritis.
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