Neck and Jaw Pain
There’s lots of reasons for neck pain but if you are getting neck and jaw pain then it narrows down the reasons. So first off you need to know it is one symptom of a heart attack, I’m not going to talk about this here as I will concentrate on structural reasons, that is bones, muscles and ligaments.
There are lots of muscles in the neck that run up and attach to the skull bones, what this means is that a problem in the neck can effect the skull bones. As one of the skull bones (the temporal) makes up half of the jaw joint a problem in the neck can effect the jaw joint. So of course a problem in the jaw can also cause a neck problem hence why neck and jaw pain often appear together.
What Causes Neck and Jaw Pain?
Neck pain can come from poor posture, muscle strain from leaning or hunching for extended periods of time or injuries like whiplash. Nerve issues like stiffened disks, herniated disks or bone spurs are also causes. Rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer can also cause neck pain. Pains in the jaw can be because of overuse and overextension, injuries, tooth problems or TMJ disorders. Some TMJ problems relate to injury, dislocation or arthritis. Injuries to the jaw include broken bones or a dislocation where the lower part of the jaw has moved out of its normal position at the joint.
The cause of TMD is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck — such as from a heavy blow or whiplash — can cause TMD. Other possible causes include:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
- Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
- Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
Dangers of Drugs for Neck and Jaw Pain Treatment
Millions of Australians depend on anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain, but the drugs are among the most dangerous on the market. Aside from significantly increasing your heart risks (such as a two to fourfold increase in the risk of heart attacks, stroke or cardiovascular death), NSAIDs are linked to serious gastrointestinal risks like bleeding of the digestive tract, increased blood pressure and kidney problems. Remember, this applies not only to prescription medications like Celebrex but also to over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, Advil and Motrin.
It’s very difficult to find a drug-based method of pain relief that is not saddled with severe side effects. The FDA has even recently limited the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription products and added a boxed warning due to liver toxicity concerns. Acetaminophen is actually the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
As for the opioid painkillers like OxyContin, they are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs and are a leading contributor to the rising rates of fatal prescription drug overdoses. Many become addicted after using them to treat conditions like back or neck pain.
But no matter what type of painkiller you choose, the bottom line to remember is that they do not come without risks! Unfortunately, if you visit your conventional doctor with severe neck pain, a long-term treatment plan will typically include a drug-combination approach, using anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure medications, muscle relaxants and possibly other types of pain medication as well. In other words, the answer for pain relief is drugs, drugs and more drugs — each one raising your risk of suffering potentially lethal side effects.
Powerful drugs can numb your nervous system so the pain doesn’t register. While these approaches may be convenient, they can cause adverse effects and kidney or liver damage. Worse, they don’t correct the underlying cause of the headache.
How to Relieve Neck and Jaw Pain Naturally
- Limit excessive jaw movement by eating soft foods. Avoid wide yawning, singing, and chewing gum.
- Massage affected muscles and apply heat.
- Use relaxation techniques; identify and reduce life stresses.
- Occlusal Splints: These are also known as ‘bite guards’, and are removable devices made by dentists, to be worn over the teeth, on the principle that they may help with malocclusion or bruxism. Some studies have shown benefit from these, although systematic reviews did not find evidence of benefit.
- Acupuncture may be helpful, but the evidence is not conclusive
- Behavioural techniques – eg, postural training, biofeedback and proprioceptive retraining.
- ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Chiropractic Care : Chiropractic works by opening stuck joints, returning movement to the spine, and removing any nerve impingement that might be happening. If a disc herniation is involved, chiropractic is a natural way to provide a long-term solution. Chiropractic gets to the source of the problem, not just addressing the symptoms but finding the area of dysfunction and returning it normal physiology—in other words, making the area work the way it’s supposed to. When function returns, pain goes away. But mind you, getting rid of pain is not the only name of the game as far as chiropractic is concerned; return to function is the real goal, because when function returns, pain goes away on its own. Pain is nothing more than a warning signal telling you when something is wrong. Shutting off the alarm instead of investigating what is causing the alarm to go off only sets you up for a recurring problem. Once found, the solution can then be applied.