What causes neck and jaw pain at the same time?

neck and jaw pain

Has it become difficult for you to chew your food, laugh, smile or simply talk because of pain in your neck and jaw? Some mild soreness in your jaw and neck can occur when you’ve been eating food that is too chewy or spending a lot of time laughing or talking, but prolonged pain in this region may have something to do with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.

The TMJ is a small joint on each side of your jaw that acts as the hinge for your jaw. Whenever you open or close your mouth, you’re using your TMJ. Irritation from overuse, an injury or a chronic condition like arthritis can cause what is known as TMJ dysfunction

Can you treat neck and jaw pain related to TMJ dysfunction?

The good news about TMJ dysfunction is that it is treatable. There are different treatment options that could be helpful depending on your specific circumstances, but in most cases, you should be able to benefit from physical therapy.

Physical therapists can examine your jaw and neck to identify the cause of your pain and develop a personalized treatment routine for addressing the cause and helping to manage the symptoms. 

Some of the main goals of physical therapy for neck and jaw pain include:

  • Improving posture — Sitting with your head forward or standing with your shoulders hunched can strain your neck, which can affect the neck muscles under your chin. This causes your jaw to pull back and stress the TMJ, which is why you have neck and jaw pain at the same time. Physical therapists can work with you to improve your posture to help reduce and prevent neck and jaw pain.
  • Improving strength and flexibility — Stronger and more flexible muscles in your neck and jaw are less prone to pain and tension that can cause TMJ dysfunction.
  • Reducing scar tissue — Scar tissue from an injury or a previous surgical procedure can cause tension in your neck and jaw. Physical therapists can use manual therapy techniques to help break up the scar tissue and improve your range of motion.

Visit Franklin Rehabilitation for neck and jaw pain treatment

Do you have neck and jaw pain that is keeping you from enjoying your meals or laughing with your friends? Our physical therapists at Franklin Rehabilitation are here to help. Contact our team today for more information about treating TMJ dysfunction or to schedule an initial appointment