There’s no doubt that a cold can make you feel miserable. Stuffy nose, coughing, and achiness are all symptoms we have to endure when a virus hits us. But if you’re feeling jaw pain with a cold, is it a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or just a symptom of your cold?
The answer isn’t always simple. If you have an existing TMJ disorder, it can be aggravated when you have an illness, making your jaw pain worse. But even if you haven’t noticed jaw pain before, the stress and symptoms of a cold can definitely bring on these symptoms and make you more uncomfortable.
Cold Symptoms and TMD
When you’re sick, your jaw and facial muscles get a workout. Coughing and sneezing often force your mouth open, straining facial muscles. Mouth breathing is not only uncomfortable but has been shown to harm the jaw in some cases.
For this reason, people who have chronic allergies may have more severe symptoms of jaw pain and TMD, but it can happen to anyone when they have a cold. General achiness is often a symptom of your body fighting a virus, and those aches and pains can manifest in the jaw as well.
The Close Proximity of Your Sinuses
Your sinuses are located in various places in your face and head, including near your jaw. If they become inflamed due to an illness, you experience the pain of sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection.
Not only can this cause a miserable sinus headache, but it may further aggravate TMD. The swelling in your sinuses can interfere with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and normal movement of the facial muscles. Many people with TMD experience headaches on a regular basis and find that this symptom is worse when they are ill.
Ear Pain, Your Jaw, and Colds
If fluid gets trapped in your ear due to a cold, you may notice ear pain due to trapped fluid and an ear infection. The pain can be severe, and if you have TMD or grind your teeth, the pain may be even worse.
Alternately, some people have chronic ear pain but have been told their ears are fine. They may actually be experiencing a symptom of TMD, since the jaw joint and ear are very close together.
Caring for Your Cold
If you get sick with a cold and have TMD, rest, drink warm fluids, and eat a TMJ-friendly diet. This may help you avoid jaw inflammation and additional pain.
If the jaw pain remains after you’ve recovered, or you notice jaw pain anytime, this is not normal. Contact MedCenter TMJ to determine the cause and treat it before the problem gets worse.