Lockjaw (See Wikipedia page here) symptoms can be diverse. It can range from very mild pain in the lower part of the jaw to the complete inability to move the temporomandibular joint. Some of the symptoms that can be related to severe cases of lockjaw are enumerated below:
• Pain in the temporomandibular joint and facial muscles that can radiate from the neck to the shoulders.
• Pain and ringing sound in the ears
• Hearing loss
• Swelling of the affected side
• Jaw popping, clicking, and grating
Lockjaw is a jaw disorder that commonly happens to people who have a habit of teeth grinding. This mannerism, which can also be referred to as bruxism, can cause muscle spasm and inflammation of the temporomandibular joint or the joint that connects the lower part of the jaw to the skull. Besides from bruxism, lockjaw can also be caused by teeth misalignment or other habits such as excessive chewing. People who are aging can also be prone to this problem.
Ways to Relieve Symptoms of Lockjaw
It is very important to identify the cause of lockjaw first in order to prescribe treatment for the disease and its symptoms. There are times when the use of medications and even operative corrections are prescribed but there are also very simple tricks that can help alleviate lockjaw symptoms.
One way is for the patient to avoid and relieve stress as much as possible. It is said that bruxism is caused by an anxious state of mind so avoiding stress that can lead to one of the causes of lockjaw can help a lot. Reducing the pressure placed on the joint is also very helpful. There are many ways one can do this like trying a different sleeping position every now and then so as not to put too much stress on just one part of the face. Avoiding hard food can also help. If the jaw joint is already damaged and inflamed, having meals that are hard to chew can make the problem more severe. For prevention and relief, applying hot compress on the affected area twice or thrice a day can also be extremely helpful.
Drugs also help though they should only be taken if the patient has a proper prescription from a doctor. There are a number of over-the-counter painkillers that are helpful in relieving lockjaw symptoms such as muscle relaxants. For inflamed jaw joints, a doctor may prescribe the injection of corticosteroids to correct the problem. Others even recommend the injection of what is called botulinum toxin to relieve the pain that commonly comes along with the lockjaw.
The use of dental appliances, on the other hand, is used by those whose lockjaw is caused by grinding of teeth at night. Some examples are night guards and splints which are made to perfectly fit the upper and lower teeth of a patient. They work by preventing the person from meshing and grinding his/her teeth together when he/she is already sleeping. This option, however, is not really recommended for people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea because it has been said that the condition can be made worse with the use of a night guard.