When you're battling a cold, you might expect symptoms like a runny nose, coughing, and fever; however, you may be surprised to experience jaw pain. This discomfort can be due to a variety of reasons, such as pain radiating from a sore throat, tension from coughing, or even a secondary infection. Here are some strategies to alleviate jaw pain so you can feel better as you recover from your cold.
Understand the Cause
To properly address jaw pain from a cold, it’s essential to understand what's causing it. For instance, a sore throat associated with a cold can lead to referred pain that extends to the jaw area. This can happen when the throat infection causes swelling and inflammation that affects nearby nerves, causing painful sensations in the jaw.
Additionally, frequent coughing, which is a common symptom of a cold, can put excessive strain on the muscles around your jaw and neck. This continuous exertion can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness, manifesting as jaw pain. Similarly, periods of stress or restlessness during illness often lead to clenching or grinding of teeth, either during the day or while sleeping. This involuntary action, known as bruxism, can exacerbate tension in the jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint (TMJ), leading to increased pain.
Beyond these common causes related to a cold, it's also important to consider signs of more serious issues. An infection can occasionally spread beyond the sinuses cavities and reach the soft tissue of your jaw, causing cellulitis or abscess. These issues can result in intense jaw pain and other symptoms. Watch for swelling and redness of the jaw, high fever, and difficulty opening and closing your jaw as signs of a more severe problem.
Home Remedies for Minor Jaw Pain
For mild jaw pain associated with a cold, you can use these home remedies to help alleviate the discomfort.
Applying a warm compress can increase blood flow and relax the muscles around your jaw. Soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring it out, and apply it to the area for 10-15 minutes several times a day.
Gentle massage can help relieve muscle tension. Use your fingers to rub the area in a circular motion, which can also promote blood flow and aid in relaxation.
Keeping hydrated is essential when you have a cold. Fluids can help thin mucus, potentially reducing sinus pressure that might be contributing to your jaw pain.
Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage the discomfort. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about medication interactions.
Jaw Exercises and Stretching
Regular jaw exercises and stretches can help relieve the tension and jaw pain associated with a cold. Here are some to try:
- Relaxed Jaw Exercise: Let your jaw go slack and allow your mouth to hang open slightly. This can relax the muscles and provide relief.
- Chin Tucks: Gently tuck your chin towards your chest, then return to the starting position. This can help stretch and relax the jaw muscles.
- Goldfish Exercises: Place one finger on your TMJ and another on your chin. Drop your lower jaw halfway and then close. For a full opening, drop it completely then close. Perform this 6 times in one set and do 6 sets per day.
- Resist Opening/Closing: Place your thumb under your chin. Open your mouth slowly, pushing gently against your chin for resistance. Hold and then close your mouth slowly.
Jaw pain from a cold can be uncomfortable, but with the right approach, relief is attainable. By combining home remedies with professional advice, you can ease the discomfort and promote healing. Remember to rest, stay hydrated, and consider seeing a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or worsen.
Ready to get relief from jaw pain? Reach out to Exhale Sinus | TMJ | Headache | Sleep at (773) 234-5880 or through our website. Our devoted specialists take a patient-centered approach, ensuring you receive effective therapy to ease your discomfort.