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Jaw Pain On One Side Of The Face

Are you experiencing pain on one side of your face and are wondering why does my jaw hurt? Are you looking for relief but not sure what to do?  

Jaw pain can occur for several different reasons. There can be serious implications, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, which you should promptly seek medical help for. However, for the most part, jaw pain on one side is generally something less concerning and something you can find relief for.  

We put our jaws frequently to use, and often for extended periods of time. From having long conversations to eating a particularly chewy meal, jaws do a lot for us. The area is also multifaceted, including crucial parts such as teeth, muscles, and bones. Subsequently, it’s not too surprising that one of the most common joint issues involves the jaw. 

If you have a sore jaw one side, it can interfere with many daily activities, such as talking, eating, and sleeping. Find out what might be causing your issue and how physiotherapy can help.

What Can Cause Jaw Pain On One Side?  

You may think that it’s odd that your jaw pain is occurring just on the one side when we seem to use the whole jaw equally. However, there are quite a few reasons this can happen. These can include the following:

TMJ Disorders (Temporomandibular Joint) 

This issue involves the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. A disc sits between these bones to assist with movement. Discomfort can result when this area is damaged or misaligned, so can happen to one or both sides. This can include pain at the site, tenderness, trouble closing and opening your mouth, earache, a blocked feeling in your ear, tinnitus, or a popping or clicking noise when you move your jaw.

TMJ issues can be caused by several factors. Some of these can include: 

  • Injury or trauma to the joint or the surrounding cartilage or muscle. 
  • Muscle tightness or weakness.
  • Jaw misalignment or instability.
  • Poor posture.
  • Arthritis.
  • Neck issues.
  • Grinding your teeth.
  • Clenching your jaw.
  • An infection in the area.
  • Tooth damage.

Sinusitis  

If your nasal cavities become inflamed and cause sinusitis, there can be referred pain to the jaw because of the proximity of the two areas. The inflammation is often the result of allergies, colds, or certain medical conditions. Other symptoms generally accompany sinusitis such as nasal congestion, mucus that is yellow or green in colour, difficulty tasting or smelling, fatigue, or swelling, pressure or pain in the face. 

Oral Or Dental Issues

Jaw pain on one side can be caused by health issues connected to your teeth or gums. These may be problems such as tooth decay, an abscess, wisdom teeth growth, gum disease, cavities, teeth grinding or clenching, or large gaps between the teeth. Other symptoms can occur alongside the jaw pain depending on the issue. These may include painful or sensitive teeth, bleeding, facial swelling, pain upon swallowing or chewing, or bad breath.

Treatment For Jaw Pain On One Side 

Some of these issues may correct themselves without treatment, such as sinusitis. However, it is often pertinent to seek assistance if the issue persists or is particularly impactful to your daily activities.  

When serious causes have been ruled out, there are some ways to find relief. These may include: 

  • Heat or cold therapy. 
  • Manual therapy or massage.
  • Relaxation techniques. 
  • Rest and avoidance of overusing your jaw. This can include choosing soft foods or liquids until the discomfort improves, or keeping talking to a minimum. 
  • Temporary use of pain relief medications.
  • Changes to your sleeping position. Try not to sleep on the affected side or sleep with your hand or arm under your face. You can work to achieve this by putting pillows behind your back if you are a side sleeper to prevent rolling over, for example.

Physiotherapy Can Help Jaw Pain  

Our physiotherapists are experienced in assessing, diagnosing, and treating jaw pain due to a variety of issues. We can use various techniques, such as massage to release the tension or tightness in your jaw and surrounding body parts, and give you exercises and stretches to carry out that can help. This is particularly useful for problems with your TMJ. 

Contact us to make an appointment for assistance if you are experiencing pain in one side of your jaw. 

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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...

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