Pain on any part of the body can be entirely normal. However, pain in the jaw and ear on one side can understandably be a cause for concern.
Despite being completely different parts of the body, your jaw and ears are close in proximity and may be caused by different reasons, depending on the intensity of the pain you are experiencing.
While it can be tempting to assume the worst, there are actually multiple reasons why you may experience pain in your jaw or ear on one side of your body.
Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to evaluate your symptoms and rule out any underlying issues.
Generally, mild pain on one side of your ear and jaw is nothing to worry about, especially when they go away after a while. However, it may also be caused by more serious health issues.
Pain on the jaw, for instance, may indicate an oral problem. It may also be a sign of sinusitis. Meanwhile, pain accompanied by pain in the ear may signal an infection.
Before taking any remedies or medications, locate and identify which exact spot is causing you pain. This can help your doctor determine a more accurate diagnosis and prescribe the right treatments for it.
Is the pain in your jaw and ear throbbing, aching, or pounding? Does it last for minutes or hours at a time? Different conditions come with different kinds of pain. This is why it is important to be more specific about the kind of pain you are experiencing.
To help your doctor determine the cause of your jaw and ear pain, take note of specific details of your symptoms. If you can, try to remember or write down how the pain presents itself and how long it lasts.
Most types of pain go away on their own. However, if the pain in your jaw and ear does not go away after a few days, go to your doctor for medical help.
Don’t let the days restrict you from visiting your doctor, either.
You don’t always have to wait for a few days to visit a doctor. If you see signs of infection and swelling, or if the pain is getting unbearable, see your doctor immediately and visit your nearest emergency room. It can be a sign of a more serious issue and may require emergency treatment.
Jaw and ear pain may also be caused by sinus infections. This happens when your nasal passages are inflamed due to colds or allergies, which are typically caused by viruses or bacteria.
Sinus problems may be accompanied by congestion or postnasal drip. They may also include dizziness and muffled hearing.
Even if you suspect sinus problems to be the culprit behind your jaw and ear pain, it’s best to visit your doctor so they can prescribe the right antibiotics or medications for your condition.
Besides observing your sinuses, you can also check your neck and back alignment for any problems.
Jaws are part of your postural chain. This means any issues with your posture or alignment can affect your muscles and nerves, including your jaw and ear.
To check, observe any aches and pains that you feel around your neck and back regions. If you also feel pain in these areas, they may be part of the same problem behind your jaw and ear pain.
Teeth grinding or bruxism is also a common cause of jaw pain. According to research, around 12-31% of adults grind their teeth, especially at night. This may be caused by poor airways, crooked teeth, or stress.
Unfortunately, most cases of bruxism go undiagnosed, but if you suspect yourself of grinding your teeth in your sleep, you may notice common symptoms such as jaw pain when you wake up, worn teeth, or headaches.
The tension created in your jaw when you grind your teeth can cause pain, not just in your jaw and ear, but also around your face, neck, and shoulders
Nobody wants their jaw and ear pain to mean something serious, but do not take it for granted. While it may be caused by stress or colds, it may also be caused by an infection or another serious condition.
Do not forget to take note of all accompanying symptoms because they usually determine the reason behind the pain.
To make sure you get the proper treatment for your jaw and ear pain, consult your doctor as soon as you can, especially if the prescribed medications do not work, or if the pain does not go away on its own.
If you are experiencing unbearable jaw and ear pain with or without any other symptoms, don’t wait for a doctor’s appointment and head to your nearest emergency room.