Chronic jaw pain is extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient. Not only can chewing and swallowing food be difficult, but the constant discomfort can even make concentrating or sleeping a challenge. While some explanations for such suffering are easy to detect, others require a bit more investigative work.
For example: One reason you may experience jaw pain is because you grind your teeth while sleeping. A simple solution is to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and reduce pain. However, there are plenty of other causes of jaw pain, so it's important to learn about all of them in order to figure out how you can rid yourself of this discomfort.
SOME OTHER REASONS FOR JAW PAIN
If you believe any of the following conditions apply to you, it’s best to get a medical professional’s opinion to learn about possible next steps:
Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that can occur in the arms, legs, jaws, or hips, as well as other bones in the body. Oftentimes, the affected area becomes inflamed, making regular usage and mobility difficult and painful. Other symptoms may include a fever and fatigue.
- Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
This condition affects your temporomandibular joints, which connect your jaw and skull. You may find it difficult to open your mouth, experience swelling on one or both sides of your face, and suffer from headaches or toothaches.
Some people develop arthritis in the temporomandibular joint, as well, which could also be the cause of their chronic jaw pain.
- Heart Attack
While “chest pain” may come to mind when you think about symptoms of a heart attack, acute jaw pain or jaw pain with activity is another possible warning sign. As discussed by the nonprofit American Heart Association, women may exhibit this specific symptom more so than men.
- Dental Infection
It is very possible to have referred pain to the jaw from a tooth abscess or infection, even if you have seen the dentist recently. Getting re-evaluated may be a good idea.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD RADIOTHERAPY?
You may not have considered this before, but those who have received radiotherapy, or radiation therapy, for head and neck cancer, are at risk of suffering from jaw pain and infections down the road. In fact, this is a symptom of delayed radiation injury, which is a condition that can develop anywhere from six months to years after your initial treatments. As a result, pinpointing this as the reason for your jaw pain can be difficult. However, by meeting with a trained medical professional and suggesting this possibility, a proper diagnosis can ultimately be reached.
Other symptoms of delayed radiation injury of the head and neck include dental issues, such as numerous cavities, and an excessively dry mouth.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment that aims to address these symptoms and encourage the healing of damaged tissue as a result of your radiation damage. This non-invasive, all-natural therapy is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as being an effective treatment for radiation damage.
A typical session involves the patient sitting or lying in a hyperbaric chamber and breathing pressurized, pure oxygen. This is carried throughout the body via red blood cells and blood plasma to deliver an increased amount of oxygen to damaged body tissue. That additional oxygen could encourage healing at a faster rate, and boost capillary growth and white blood cell enhancement, helping you recover from the inside-out.
To learn more about HBOT and whether it's right for you, schedule a consultation with one of our trained hyperbaric oxygen specialists.