Why does jaw pain occur and what can be done about it?



There are a wide variety of causes and reasons as to why you can get jaw pain, and these are often difficult to determine. Below include some of the most common explanations for this type of facial pain.


Direct trauma to the jaw or teeth can create long lasting jaw and facial pain. Events such as car accidents, sporting injuries and other physical incidents can rearrange structures of the jaw both externally and internally. Additionally, internal misalignments including a misaligned bite from uneven teeth, altered jaw alignment, incorrect bite and even orthodontic braces can change the overall structure and function of the lower part of the face. 


Bruxism is the act of excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Usually, this type of movement is due to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. Often feelings of stress, anxiety and frustration, or even chewing gum can cause bruxism during the day. However, grinding and clenching are more common at night-time, again either due to emotional stressors or possibly even sleep apnoea.


Certain types of conditions and arthritides may have an impact on the jaw, either from a muscular point of view or the joints themselves. Certain chronic and/or musculoskeletal conditions may include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety

Specific types of arthritis that can have jaw involvement include the following:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis

Altered posture including having a forward head carriage can change the dynamics of the body as a whole, but also more specifically the jaw. By having the head protruding forwards, it may create strain on the neck and jaw muscles, as well as place parts of the jaw (condyles) deeper into their sockets. This can present as neck and jaw pain, fatigue, popping and/or clicking of the jaw, difficulty opening the mouth, as well as headaches.

(Lomas, 2018), (Paço, Peleteiro, Duarte, & Pinho, 2016)


Treatment for specific jaw-related issues starts with an accurate assessment to determine the best way forward for you. Our bodies are remarkable, and when provided with the right care, exercise and nutrition, have the ability to recover from jaw pain and return to activities we love. At Star Osteo and Wellness, we work as a team to improve your quality of life and restore your freedom and ability to do what you want, when you want. Call to find out more or book your appointment today.


Lomas, J. (2018). Temporomandibular dysfunction. Australian Journal of General Practice, 47(4), 212.

Paço, M., Peleteiro, B., Duarte, J., & Pinho, T. (2016). The effectiveness of physiotherapy in the management of temporomandibular disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Oral Facial Pain Headache, 30(3), 210-220.