What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Lockjaw?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorder include pain in the face, jaw joint, neck and shoulders, according to WebMD. Other symptoms include pain in or around the ears while chewing, speaking or opening the mouth.

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Full Answer

TMJ disorders are often referred to as lockjaw, and additional symptoms include jaws that get stuck in an opened or closed position, tired sensation in the face, difficulty chewing, facial swelling, and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint, notes WebMD. Symptoms range from severe pain to mild discomfort and can be temporary or last for many years.

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge-like structure that connects the jawbone to the skull, explains Mayo Clinic. TMJ complications cause jaw and facial pain or discomfort in the muscles that control jaw movement. Although the exact cause is difficult to diagnose, some causes include arthritis, jaw injury, habitually clenching teeth or teeth grinding.

Treatment options depend on the cause of the condition and include medications such as over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and sedatives, notes Mayo Clinic. Nonpharmaceutical treatments include bite guards, oral splints, physical therapy and counseling. Surgical or other procedures may be necessary in severe cases, or where medicinal or nonpharmaceutical treatments do not work, and include arthrocentesis, corticosteroid or botulinum toxin injections, and surgical repair or replacement of the joint.

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