Why Does TMJ Cause Ear Pain?
The Temporomandibular Joints are the joints that connect your jaw to your skull on each side of your head just below your ears. Acting as a sliding hinge, moving side to side, up and down, and back and forth, they enable you to chew, speak, and yawn. The TMJs are the only joints in the human body that move in three directions.
When overused or injured, these joints may not function properly, and that dysfunction may result in TMJ-related inflammation, pain, and tightness, all of which can wreak havoc on your quality of life. Millions of Americans suffer the painful symptoms of TMJ from overworking these multi-functional joints.
The maxillofacial region, which includes the TMJs, is highly complex and closely interconnected. Just think about the numerous ways your maxillofacial region works during 24 hours. The intricate maxillofacial region allows you to easily make facial expressions, talk, eat, yawn, and laugh. However, when joint dysfunction exists, these movements may cause pain.
This intricacy of the maxillofacial region also means TMJ disorders may cause pain and other symptoms in the head, face, and neck. Your ears are located less than half an inch from your TMJs, so ear pain is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ.
Symptoms of ear pain from TMJ may include:
Inflammation and swelling from TMJ often spread, resulting in tension headaches and pain behind the eyes. You may also experience symptoms in the face, neck, back, and upper extremities.