Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I wake up with TMJ pain?"
My jaw never pops but my TMJ hurts in the morning. Is this stress?
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint between between your jaw and ear. It can sometimes become inflamed and cause pain in the area. This usually causes pain that is worse with chewing, worse in the morning and sometimes can be associated with jaw popping. Sometimes grinding the teeth at night can cause TMJ pain and inflammation to be worse. This can be exacerbated by stress. If you notice that you grind your teeth at night, you may benefit from a mouth guard. This will help to take the pressure off of your teeth and your joint. TMJ is similar to arthritis of any other joint, such as your knee or your fingers. Sometimes stress makes these problems worse. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as motrin and tylenol, are usually helpful to help reduct the inflammation. Also refraining from hard foods or chewing gum can help. Eating a soft diet for a couple of weeks to reduce the amount of stress on your jaw joint can also decrease the pain. You should discuss this with your physician at your next visit. There are also dentists that specialize in this problem which can be very helpful. You should discuss this with your physician.
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