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"TMJ - Why do I get pain in jaw joints when laying horizontally?"

ZocdocAnswersTMJ - Why do I get pain in jaw joints when laying horizontally?


When laying down horizontally (on my back is the worst, but sides also trigger this), pain develops in the joints of my jaw. If I lay down for even a small amount of time on my back, 5-10 minutes, and get up I'm in horrible pain for an hour. Waking up after a night's sleep is horrible though I sleep on my side. I am not clenching (at least while conscious), and have tried the following without any help during laying down: night guard, Neuromuscular splints, botox, chiropractic, ect. I have TMJ. Please tell me - have you experienced cases like this before? Please explain the dynamics behind why lying down would cause my tmj to flare up, I dont see anyone else with tmj claiming this.


Thanks for your question. It does sound as if your TMJ is very symptomatic. You have attempted multiple different therapies with continued symptoms. It is not uncommon for there to be some element of positional complaints related to TMJ, which is what you seem to be describing. This could be happening due to muscular changes that occur when you move, or it could also be that your symptoms are so severe that even the slightest amount of pressure on the nerves near your jaw are enough to trigger the pain. Either way, the symptoms appear to be so severe that more aggressive intervention may be warranted. There are some OMFS who specialize in treating serious problems of TMJ. These can be found in most communities, and are often affiliated with academic medical centers in the United States. Speaking with your local dentist may be a good way to get direction as to how to proceed next, as that next referral may be to someone who can help you further. It is also possible that you could be having something else that is acting like TMJ but is not. There are a few possible other explanations, and your doctor can help. Again, please speak with your doctor.

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