ZocdocAnswersWhat is this pain on the outside of jaw?

Question

What is this pain on the outside of jaw?

My dad is having pain in the outside part of his jaw close to the ear and he has a cold (sneezing and stuffy nose). He isn't even able to eat or open his mouth. What is wrong? Can you please help me.

Answer

So sorry to hear about these symptoms. Jaw pain has many different potential sources, so it is important to discuss this with your doctor. In the same fashion, ear pain has many different sources. That is because each one of these is innervated by several different nerves, including some shared innervation between the two. In other words, ear pain can sometimes be referred to the jaw, and vice versa. One of the most common causes of ear and jaw pain is TMJ syndrome, a condition in which the joint of the mandible becomes inflamed due to chronic abuse such as bruxism (teeth grinding). Some of the most effective treatments for this condition are conservative, and include rest (such as with a tooth guard) and anti-inflammatory medications such as over the counter NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory medications, eg, ibuprofen, naprosyn, etc). While these treatments can be effective, you should speak with your doctor before starting any treatment. This is, in part, because of the fact that there are other things that could be causing your symptoms. Trismus, the medical term for being unable to open the jaw completely, can come from other serious causes (infections, tumors, etc) and needs to be addressed. Again, please speak with your doctor about this question.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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