Pregnant women experience a lot of changes during their pregnancy. They undergo a lot of physical and hormonal changes. Bleeding gums, for example, is their regular complaint, which may create an opening for infections. Also, women are more vulnerable to infections during pregnancy because their immune system is not at full. However, probably the least talked about topic is pregnancy jaw pain.
Possible Causes of Jaw Pain During Pregnancy
There is no specific cause of jaw pain during pregnancy. Jaw pain while pregnant may occur due to the problems with the joint or the muscles of the jaw. Here are the possible causes of jaw pain in pregnancy:
- Lack of calcium
- An ENT infection
- A cardiovascular condition
- The emergence of wisdom teeth
- Sleeping on one side
- Swelling to the jaw or muscles of the neck and head
- Grinding of the teeth
What is TMJ?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint. It’s at the base of the skull, in front of the ear structure. It is connecting the lower jaw (mandible) with the upper jaw (maxilla). Of all other joints in the human body, the TMJ is perhaps the most unique.
The three parts of the TMJ are held together by ligaments originating from different parts of the head and neck to hold up the jaw and facilitate its movements. Various muscles link to those ligaments also aids in the motion of the lower jaw.
During pregnancy, women experience various changes in their bodies which include:
- A harder time to breathe at night due to swelling of mucous membranes
- Loosening of the joints
- Affected hips
- Back pain
- Jaw pain
There are various conditions similar to TMJ disorders such as:
- Sinus problems or
- Gum diseases
- Jaw ache
- Locked jaw
What Can Happen to the TMJ?
The TMJ, like any other joints, may be swollen, fractured, or sore, which can produce limited movement of the lower jaw and radiating discomfort and pain to the neck and head area. Unlike other joints such as the knees and hips, arthritis of the TMJ is very rare, and hard to treat with only anti-inflammatory drugs.
A fracture to the articular disc is unusual too, but it can be dislocated or displaced, causing severe pain and swelling. Bear in mind, pain in the TMJ is often temporary. It can be relieved with a combination of a cold compress, exercise, and massage therapy to reduce the sore muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint and jaw area.
How Can You Treat Pregnancy Jaw Pain?
Taking care of jaw pain should begin with non-surgical therapies first. Surgery should be the last resort. Here are some common remedies that may help relieve you from an aching jaw during pregnancy.
When the jaw pain is extreme, you can place an ice pack to the side of the face and temple area for at least 10 minutes. It will help ease the pain.
Simple exercises and massage
Active and straightforward stretching exercises can help reduce pain. Stretch your tongue out and hold it in the same position for a few seconds. This action will relieve the pressure off the jaw, thereby lessening the pain. Massage your jaw slowly as you exercise it.
Choosing the right painkiller
In the case of unbearable pain, you may choose to have a painkiller or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve muscle pain. However, please make sure to consult your family physician before taking any. Ibuprofen, for example, is a big no for pregnant women.
Eating the proper foods
Eating oatmeal, cereal, or flaxseeds can provide relief to the pain. Chamomile tea can also help to reduce jaw pain during pregnancy. Soft foods like cottage cheese, fish, mashed potatoes, cooked beans, and eggs are ideal choices when jaw ache strikes.
Improving your posture
Avoid making extreme jaw movements. Avoid yelling or singing at the top of your voice. Try not to chew hard or yawn too long. Practice good posture because this can help reduce facial and jaw pain. Avoid resting your chin on your hand and holding the phone between your ear and shoulder. Try to keep your teeth slightly apart to relieve pressure on the jaw. Avoid grinding your teeth together.
Rest your jaw as it heals
While your jaw is healing, please do your best to give it a rest. In other words, avoid chewing gum or tough to eat food. Instead, eat soft food like soup, yogurt, green smoothies, and cottage cheese.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Relieves Pregnancy Jaw Pain
There are various alternative relief options available out there. If you have tried other medical and therapeutic options that did not work conclusively, then upper cervical chiropractic care could be the right one for you. Upper cervical care can relieve TMJ pain associated with pregnancy. Arrange a consultation from an upper cervical doctor for a discussion on how to alleviate your specific concerns about your TMJ.
Browse for an upper cervical chiropractor using the search function on our website to find the one nearest you. Upper cervical doctors use a gentle method to correct the misalignment of the C1 and C2 bones. Their procedure does not stress the body but allows it to heal on its own. Many patients have seen an improvement in their pregnancy jaw pain and other conditions after visiting an upper cervical chiropractor.