How Come My Jaw Hurts? The Origins of TMJ


It’s estimated that around 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. If you find yourself saying, “ouch! My jaw hurts!” then you may suffer from TMJ issues.

There are several ways TMJ can manifest itself. It helps to understand the cause so that you can determine the best treatment.

Reading this guide is going to help you understand the condition and where it comes from.

My Jaw Hurts! What Is TMJ? 

This is a group of conditions that are all grouped under the title of TMJ disorders. They all have to do with jaw disfunction and the muscles that control jaw movement. TMJ disorders cause pain, stiffness, limited jaw movement, inflammation, and the wearing away of your teeth.

What Is the Temporomandibular Joint?

This is the joint where the mandible connects to the temporal bone. In plain terms, this means the jawbone attaches to the side of your head. To locate it on yourself, place your fingers on your head just in front of your lower ears.

Open and close your mouth, and you’ll feel this joint move. This joint is multidirectional, so your jaw can move up and down and sideways. This makes it one of the most complicated joints in the human body and different from your knees or elbows that move in one direction.

How the TMJ Joint Works 

When you move your jaw, the muscles around the jaw control the movement. The jawbone glides in the joint socket back and forth. There are soft disks that cushion the movement and absorb shock from actions like chewing.

These tissues are different from other load-bearing joints, like in your hip or knees. The complicated movement and unique tissue makeup make the TMJ joint a challenge to diagnose and treat.

Main TMJ Categories 

There are three main categories of TMJ, myofascial, internal derangement, and arthritis. You can suffer from one or multiple TMJ conditions at once.

Myofascial pain originates from the movement of the jaw. This TMJ mouth guard can help treat it by relieving clenching and grinding.

Internal derangement happens when your jaw dislocates, a disc gets out of sync, or you’ve experienced an injury. The treatment of this type of TMJ pain centers around physical therapy, relaxation of the muscles, resting your jaw, or splinting it into place.

Arthritis pain is an inflammatory reaction and a degenerative development of the joint. A combination of treatments is used to treat arthritic TMJ. It could include a mouth guard, relaxation, limiting movement, and medications.

Other Medical Conditions 

If you suffer from joint pain, it’s essential to speak with a medical professional. Some medical conditions affect the whole body that also manifests with similar jaw symptoms.

Understand and Treat Your TMJ

By understanding the source of your TMJ, you can work with medical professionals to create an effective treatment plan. So if you find yourself saying, my jaw hurts, it’s time to take action and find the source of the pain.

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