Do you experience pain in your ears when chewing or swallowing? Do you experience unusual pain or pressure in your ears? While it’s common to experience these symptoms when you have an ear infection or ear related problem, your jaw could also be causing your ear pain when swallowing due to TMJ disorder. TMJ stands for your temporomandibular joints. They are the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. When this particular joint stops working correctly, everyday tasks such as chewing or swallowing will no longer be taken for granted due to constant pain. If you are suffering from ear pain when swallowing, it could be TMJ.
How Does TMJ Affect Your Ears?
Your ears have a tube that runs from the middle ear connecting it to the rear of the nose. They are called your eustachian tubes. These tubes regulate the pressure in your middle ears. They are also responsible for moving fluid out of your middle ears, preventing infection. A TMJ disorder can cause this area of the ear to stop working properly, resulting in ear pain and congestion.
When you have an earache, you probably naturally assume it is caused by infection. Oftentimes it is. But, if it’s on-going, or, if you doctor isn’t able to treat is successfully, it could be caused by TMJ. If you have a bad bite, damaged or missing teeth, teeth worn from grinding or an underdeveloped jaw, your jaw muscles work overtime. Once they tire, they recruit you face head and neck muscles to help out. As these muscles become overworked, they tighten up and can put pressure on the nerves that run through them. That’s the root cause of TMJ symptoms like migraines or ear pain when swallowing.