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Why Does My Jaw Hurt by My Ear?

Why Does My Jaw Hurt by My Ear? | TMJ | Earache Cary Raleigh

Are you experiencing simultaneous pain in your jaw and ear, on one side or both sides? There could be a multitude of reasons behind the pain. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is usually the source of pain when it comes to the jaw and ear. That said, it's important to remember that the jaw and ear are in extremely close proximity which may be why pain in the ear may be confused with pain in the jaw and vice versa. Specifically pain under the ear, behind the jaw bone can be said to be radiating from the temporomandibular joint.

If you are wondering "Why does my jaw hurt by my ear?" you are definitely on the right page. In this article, we will unearth some of the most common causes behind jaw and ear pain including the pain under the ear, behind the jaw bone, and how to remedy them.

Possible Reasons Why Your Jaw Hurts by Your Ear


The most common kind of arthritis in the TMJ is osteoarthritis. Although common, it should still be taken seriously. Osteoarthritis is the result of constant wear and tear of the cartilage enveloping the joint. This triggers stiffness in the joint, eventually resulting in critical pain behind the ear and jaw. So, if you're thinking "I have an earache and my jaw hurts" then osteoarthritis may be the probable cause.

Rheumatoid or Psoriatic Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects healthy joints. It may lead to joint pain at times that may radiate throughout the rest of the body. Some triggers especially cause rheumatoid arthritis pain. Pain in the jaw, under the ear and in the ear could also be a sign of either rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, another autoimmune condition.

TMJ Disorder

Another leading cause of pain under the ear, behind the jaw bone can be a disorder related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

The TMJ is indirectly responsible for many functions such as chewing ad talking as it facilitates movement in the jaw. As such, it includes the jaw joint as well as the nearby muscles that aid in the movement. In cases where patients suffer from symptoms such as, inflammation, discomfort, or pain in the TMJ - that cannot be attributed to any other obvious cause - for more than three months it may be chronic TMJ or other medical conditions like fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, anxiety, or depression. TMJ could be due to wear and tear or another reason.

Ear Infections

Often, ear infections are caused by viruses or bacteria. They can also be caused when water or other fluids build up in and around your ear, leaving you susceptible to earache or jaw, specifically pain under the ear, behind the jaw bone. Also, if you experience a mild to high fever coupled with reduced stamina, that's a red flag.

In a condition called mastoiditis, undiagnosed ear infections may spread to other parts of the body as well. As the infection spreads, the person might encounter massive swelling and pain near the ear and jaw on one side.

In fact, severe cases of this condition can demand immediate diagnosis as they could be life-threatening.


Pain under the ear or behind the jaw bone could be the result of sinusitis. But this only happens when you have a precondition of cold allergies. Since it is a virus borne infection, your nasal passage becomes irritated. This could also be accompanied by a runny nose.

Teeth Grinding

How do you know if your teeth are actually grinding? What are the symptoms? If you are experiencing erosion in your teeth or severe strain in your gums or muscles, this could be it.

The tension caused can create pain in the neck, on the front and sides of the face, or in the ears. In some cases, it can cause massive damage to the teeth, ultimately breaking them.

How to Treat Jaw Pain Caused by TMJ

You can try to nurse it from home, which is the least invasive way. Eat soft foods, stretch and massage your jaw, and apply heat and cold alternately to it.

If your symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments.


Some over-the-counter medicines (pain relievers and anti-inflammatories) commonly prescribed for TMJ are Tylenol and ibuprofen.


Therapies can include mouthguards to wear while sleeping, as well as physical therapy to get the jaw muscles strong and flexible.

Surgical procedures

Arthrocentesis, corticosteroid injections, TMJ arthroscopy and modified condylotomy are procedures only done in the rarest of cases.

Improve your Quality of Life

Don't let these issues get in the way of your quality of life. Say Hello to Raleigh TMJ, a leading sleep therapy and TMJ center. It is best known for offering non-surgical therapies and enhancing the quality of your life, painlessly.

Request an appointment right away and bid goodbye to all your TMJ troubles. Additionally, you can check out our other services, which include a cure for headaches, facial pain, snoring, sleep apnea, and more. Why wait? Request an appointment!

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TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham

  • 1150 NW Maynard Rd, Suite #140
    Cary, North Carolina 27513
  • (919) 323-4242
  • Monday: 9am – 5pm Tuesday: 9am – 6pm Wednesday: 9am – 5pm Thursday: 9am – 6pm Friday: 9am – 1pm Sat - Sun Closed We always have someone to answer the phone from 9-5pm every day
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