Jaw pain after waking up in the morning may seem like no big deal but it can be a sign of many more serious problems and can be a source if irritation all day. Most people wake up after sleep feeling refreshed and ready for the day but if you have a sore or painful jaw you might feel like crawling back into bed and canceling your day!
A sore jaw can cause problems eating and talking, not to mention being uncomfortable! We researched some of the most common causes of morning jaw pain and found some great ways to prevent and treat symptoms!
Nightly Teeth Grinding
The most common cause of morning jaw pain is night time teeth grinding. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can cause waking up with jaw pain on one side as well as destroy your teeth!
Luckily, a good mouth guard can hold the jaw in place and prevent you from grinding your teeth! Some people grind their teeth at night without even know until they visit the dentist and are surprised to learn the real source of their pain!
What if it is on one side?
Notice the pain is localized on one side of your face? First, think if you had been hit recently in the face. It could a ball, a punch or just playing around with your dog or kid – sometimes even the lightest bruises can flare up days later.
The next place to check is your teeth. Check the inflamed side, closely inspecting each tooth and the surrounding gum area. Try pressing on the center of each tooth with your toothbrush or a toothpick. If your tooth is sore you found your problem!
4 Steps to Prevent Jaw Pain
- Sleep with a softer pillow instead of a firm or Tempur-Pedic style pillow. Morning jaw pain might be your bodies way of telling you it time time for a new pillow
- Fall asleep with your head flat on the bed, using only one pillow instead of a pile. Neck pain can often run all the way up into your lower jaw. If you are one of the people that likes to sleep on top of a “pillow mountain” try using just one pillow tonight
- Get treatment for teeth grinding. Bruxism – aka teeth grinding – is one of the most common sources of jaw pain. Fortunately, there are many effective treatment options!
- Work to de-stress your life! Try exercising, reading a book, spending more time with your family or drinking warm milk before bed so your can get better sleep! Cut external stressor’s out of your life or even try youtube sleep meditation with the lights off.
How to Treat Morning Jaw Pain
- An ice pack and Advil for bad days
- Mouthguards for teeth grinders
- Jaw exercises for Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
- A smoothie or shake for breakfast to avoid painful chewing
What is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
Chronic jaw pain after sleeping on side, back or stomach may be something more serious called Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome. Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, also called TMJ, is a condition characterized by pain from the jaw joint. The most common symptoms are difficult chewing food and general jaw pain.
Some sleep positions like sleeping on your side can force your jaw out of alignment after sleeping causing pain and discomfort.
Cavities and other Tooth Problems
Another surprising cause of morning pain under your ear and behind the jaw bone can be cavities. Cavities appear slowly over time and if you do not visit the dentist on a regular basis can be hard to detect and correlate with jaw discomfort. Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day to prevent cavities and other dental problems.
If you are having trouble finding the cause of your jaw pain try visiting your dentist for a xrays and a checkup!