Your jaw and skull connect to each other by the temporomandibular joint. When this flexible joint has near-constant pain, or pops often, the muscles and ligaments may be causing difficulty.
Occasional pain in the jaw is not cause for concern. However, if the pain radiates across your face, neck and shoulders and is constant, it may be related to a temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Common symptoms include:
- Pain in the face, jaw joint, neck and shoulders
- A jaw that gets stuck
- Clicking, popping or grating noises when you open and close your mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- A bite that no longer aligns
Many treatments are conservative: placing heat and ice on the jaw, fabricating mouth guards to prevent grinding or clenching teeth (bruxism), eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum, and reducing stress. Physical therapy may help.