The treatment of lockjaw depends on several factors, such as the severity of the condition, how long the condition has persisted, and the underlying cause.
- Massage the jaw joint and muscles to loosen them. This is helpful to relieve the pain and stiffness during a lockjaw flareup.
- If the jaw hurts, then an alternate heat and cold treatment can help reduce pain. Hold ice or cold pack on the side of the face near the jaw joint for 10 minutes. Then, hold a moist heating pad on the same side of the face for 5-10 minutes. This could reduce the pain and increase flexibility in your jaw.
If conservative treatment fails, the doctor may use the below methods:
- Prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammation medication. Ibuprofen and Naproxen usually help.
- Muscle relaxants will help in a few cases.
- Try to mobilize the joint gently. A physiotherapist may use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) sessions. This uses minute shocks to the surrounding muscles to relax the jaw muscles.
- Use injections to loosen up muscles or ligaments.
- Flushing of the joint (arthrocentesis).
- Surgical removal of sticky adhesions (arthroscopy) or other structures.
- BOTOX is another method of treatment that has recently been shown to alleviate lockjaw symptoms. BOTOX can o be used to numb jaw muscles if they are contracting repeatedly. With regular injections every 3 months, muscles will continue to relax and allow the jaw to move freely.
Several treatment options may be used in combination with one another to produce the most effective result.
- Stick with softer foods, such as yogurt, pudding, rice, eggs, fish, or mashed potatoes. This should prevent the inflammation from getting worse.
- Large bites could overstress your jaw muscles. Either take small bites or cut your food into tiny pieces to avoid making your pain worse.
- Avoid opening your mouth too wide while you are eating, talking, or yawning. Relaxing your jaw is important during a Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) flareup.
- Keep your teeth slightly apart; this keeps pressure off your jaw muscles. You might be pressing your teeth together without realizing it. Constantly remembering to keep the teeth apart may help. Try resting the tongue on top of your bottom row of teeth to force yourself to keep your teeth apart.
- Sometimes, gum and teeth infections may spread to the soft tissues and muscles surrounding the jaw. Always pay attention to dental hygiene.
- Stress could trigger lockjaw pain and symptoms. Try taking steps to reduce stress in daily life to prevent further discomfort. Some relaxation activities, such as meditation or yoga, might help reduce the symptoms. Doing things that you enjoy is also good to keep your stress levels low.
- Night-time grinding is a common problem, especially when stressed. This is tough to control since you are not awake. So, if you have a grinding problem, you can use a plastic night guard over your teeth to protect your jaw.
- Exercise your jaw to strengthen your muscles. Some stretching and strengthening exercises could relieve the pain and inflammation in your jaw. Your dentist might also recommend physical therapy or a therapeutic massage to relieve your pain.
- Make sure you are vaccinated against tetanus.
- Acupuncturists may help relieve severe pain and tensions. Accessing pressure points to release tension sometimes helps as per studies.
- Glucosamine is a popular treatment for arthritis because it may help support joint health. This might also help with lockjaw symptoms. Try taking a daily supplement to see if this helps you. A common glucosamine dose to treat arthritis is 1.5 g per day. However, glucosamine could interfere with blood thinners and a few other medications, so ask your doctor before taking it.
- Take calcium and magnesium supplements to strengthen your joints. Deficiencies of these nutrients in the body may cause lockjaw issues. Try taking some dietary supplements to boost the amount in your body.
What is lockjaw?
Lockjaw or trismus refers to any condition with a reduced ability to open the mouth. In this condition, you temporarily (in some cases, permanently) lose the ability to open and/or close the mouth. Some cases of lockjaw can cause extreme pain and discomfort. Some common symptoms that arrive in tandem with lockjaw are:
- Earaches or ear ringing
- Jaw popping or jaw clicking
- Clenching the teeth
- Weakness when chewing, speaking, or yawning
- The top and bottom teeth feel like they don’t fit together well
- Facial pain
Knowledge of the normal range of mouth opening is essential in the diagnosis and treatment of lockjaw. The best way to ensure that you chose the proper treatment approach is to schedule an evaluation at the earliest indication of jaw locking or stiffness. Early evaluation and intervention can make the difference between a treatable short-term TMJ issue and a chronic TMJ problem.
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Health Online Unit. Lockjaw. Ministry of Health Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/lockjaw/
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and non-prescription drugs and certain medical conditions. Symptoms of dry mouth include a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, frequent thirst, sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth, cracked lips, a dry feeling in the throat, a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, and a dry, red, raw tongue.
Dry Mouth SlideshowWhat causes dry mouth (xerostomia)? How do you get rid of and cure dry mouth? Learn about dry mouth symptoms as well as natural dry mouth treatments and home remedies that are safe. See which medications cause dry mouth and discover Sjögren’s syndrome, a common cause of dry mouth.
methocarbamolMethocarbamol is a medication used to relieve muscle spasms, and relax neck and jaw muscle contraction (lockjaw) caused by tetanus, a serious bacterial infection. Common side effects of methocarbamol include slow heart rate (bradycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), inflammation with blood clots in the vein (thrombophlebitis), fainting (syncope), flushing, confusion, memory loss (amnesia), sleeplessness (insomnia), dizziness/lightheadedness, vertigo, drowsiness, sedation, mild impairment of muscular coordination, seizures (including grand mal), double vision (diplopia), and others.