Jaw Pain

Jaw pain is a common diagnosis in our clinics.  You may know it is “TMJ” which stands for temporomandibular joint.  Popping or locking with pain in the jaw when chewing is the most common symptom of this injury.  Unfortunately, a headache often comes along with jaw pain.  This is due to the fact that joint dysfunction in the upper neck is closely associated with jaw pain.

Risk Factors

  • Repeated lifting of the arms overhead
  • Prolonged sitting in class or at work
  • Poor sitting posture (probably the most common cause)
  • Weakness of the muscles that control the neck
  • Poor flexibility/ joint mobility
  • Previous history of migraines or chronic headaches

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is causing my Jaw pain?

The two most common causes of jaw pain are poor posture and upper neck joint problems.  These are also two common causes of headaches which is why these problems often occur together.  A complete screen from a physical therapist is required to determine the cause of your pain.

How do I get rid of it?

Well, that depends on what is causing it.  That is why it is so important to find the cause.  Jaw pain is commonly caused by joint dysfunction in the upper cervical spine that is preceded by weakness of the muscles that control the upper cervical spine.  This is usually the result chronic poor posture.

The good news is that most jaw pain resolves with physical therapy and does not require surgery.  One major factor in the time it takes to heal from a jaw injury is the length of time it takes for someone who is having pain to start physical therapy.  The sooner we get our hands on the patient, the less time it takes to get back to pain-free living and avoid surgery.

Do I need to see my doctor first?

No.  Louisiana is a Direct Access state.  This means you do not need to go to your doctor to get a prescription.  We work closely with several doctors who specialize in the neck and shoulder in the communities we serve, so if you do need to see a doctor, we will set that up for you.

Will my jaw pain go away on its own?

It’s possible, but not likely.  Unfortunately, most people who have a case of jaw pain think “Well, maybe it will just go away.”  The problem with that is, the longer you go with jaw pain, the longer it takes us to fix it.  Pain is a warning signal in your body telling you something is wrong.  Waiting for the pain to go away is not a good strategy.  The quicker you get in to see a qualified physical therapist, the faster you can be on your road to recovery.

What should I do now?

The first step to eliminating your pain is finding out what is causing it.  Call right now, (337-993-2766) and schedule your Free Screen at any of our locations.  You will get a free 30 minute appointment with one of our therapists so that you can get all your questions answered.