Jaw muscle spasm causes and treatment

Spasm of the jaw and facial muscles

Trismus is a common condition that affects many people. It occurs when the jaw muscles become too tight, causing severe discomfort and pain in the patient.

lockjaw occurs in the muscles responsible for chewing that surround the temporomandibular joint, leading to an impediment to eating, speaking, and swallowing due to muscle contractions in this area, which is often a temporary condition.

Jaw muscle spasms result from various causes, including stress, wisdom teeth extraction, teeth grinding, joint disease, and many more.

Jaw muscle spasm disorder can be treated with physical therapy, by changing lifestyle to reduce tension in the muscles. In some cases, surgery becomes necessary to correct any underlying problems that cause spasms. There are many options for treating jaw muscle spasm in Turkey, which we will mention in detail after learning about the condition and its causes.

What is a Trismus?

Jaw muscle spasm, or what is known in some cases as jaw lockjaw, is painful spasms in the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint, causing difficulty in opening the mouth normally, which prevents eating, speaking, and swallowing correctly.

For most people, the natural mouth opening is 35 mm, equivalent to the width of approximately three fingers. When you suffer from spasms in the jaw muscles, the movement of opening the mouth is restricted. Thus several problems appear that affect the natural physiological processes and make it difficult for the ability to take care of oral hygiene and speak.

The normal mouth opening is approximately three fingers wide
The normal mouth opening is approximately three fingers wide

Causes of Trismus

There are many causes of jaw muscle spasm, the most important of which are:

Radiotherapy for head and neck cancer

Treatment of head and neck cancer is the most common cause of jaw muscle spasms in people. Tumors that interfere with movement of the jaw may cause the condition. More commonly, spasms are caused by exposure to radiation during the Treating cancer with radiation This causes damage and leads to the formation of scar tissue around the joint area.

Oral and dental surgery

Temporary spasms of the jaw muscles can often occur after any oral surgery, especially in people who have undergone surgery. Take off wisdom tooth Specifically the lower one.

Spasm or trismus also occurs due to bacterial infection that sometimes occurs after surgery or due to excessive opening of the jaw during the operation. It can also occur when the needle that delivers the anesthetic to the surrounding tissues is damaged.


That includes Jaw fractures As well as force it during treatment.

Temporomandibular joint disorders

On each side of the jaw there is a joint called the temporomandibular joint that connects the lower jaw with the skull and allows the opening and closing of the mouth, when there is TMJD joint dysfunction It can cause great pain and discomfort. There are many reasons for the emergence of disorders of the jaw joint, including:

jaw tetanus

Trismus may occur due tojaw tetanus It is a bacterial infection that causes muscle contraction anywhere in the body, but it is rare because there is a vaccine to prevent it.

inflammatory conditions

You may develop a masseter Trismus with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and scleroderma. These conditions affect the temporomandibular joint and may cause spasticity.


Feelings of stress and anxiety can sometimes unintentionally cause you to grind your teeth when you sleep or during the day, causing pain and a feeling of tightness in your jaw.


Certain medications may cause symptoms of jaw spasms and pain, including:

  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Narcotic drugs
  • Metoclopramide

Abscess around the tonsils

Some people with tonsillitis have an infection around the tonsils that causes pus-filled pockets to form near the tonsils.

Symptoms of Trismus

The primary symptom is trismus, which manifests as an inability to open the mouth completely. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in the jaw when speaking or trying to move it
  • Difficulty or discomfort performing movements that require opening the mouth (such as brushing your teeth or biting on solid food)
  • Inability to chew or swallow certain foods
  • Muscle pain and spasm, so you feel that your jaw muscles are tight
  • headache
  • Pain when yawning

Trismus treatment

Lockjaw treatment depends primarily on treating the cause of the condition.

tooth abscess

If you find it difficult to open your mouth because of an abscess in your mouth, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics and perform aRoot canal treatment or does bExtraction of the affected tooth.

muscle relaxants

Many medications work as muscle relaxants prescribed under a doctor's supervision to relieve the patient's muscle spasms.


Doctors may recommend exercises or physical therapy that effectively treats pulled muscles.

mouth guards

You may benefit from wearing mouth guard Especially if your jaw spasm is caused by grinding your teeth in your sleep, there are several types of mouth guards available. You may need a specific type. Depending on the cause of your condition, your dentist will be able to recommend the appropriate mouth guard.


Massaging your jaw can help increase blood flow and reduce the pain of pulled muscles. You can try this by opening your mouth and gently rubbing the muscles next to your ears in a circular motion at the area where your jaw joints are.

Try this several times a day and right before bed.

Hot or cold compresses

Applying a hot or cold compress to your jaw may help relieve pain.

Applying warm compresses to the affected area helps relieve pain and spasm
Applying warm compresses to the affected area helps relieve pain and spasm

pain killers

Painkillers such as ibuprofen can help reduce jaw pain.

Treatment of trismus with Botox and injections

Injecting corticosteroids into the joint or Botox into the jaw muscles may help relieve symptoms of a jaw spasm.

Surgical treatment of Lockjaw

Surgery is an option for people with temporomandibular joint disorders. Various types of procedures are available to fix the jaw joint pain problem.

Laser treatment of jaw muscle spasm in Türkiye

Uses Laser treatment of trismus In Istanbul to generate heat in the body, which helps reduce injury and increase blood supply.

Laser treatment of jaw muscle spasm in Türkiye
Treatment of jaw muscle spasm in a patient using laser

When should I see a doctor?

When you feel pain when opening the mouth or discomfort that does not go away in the lower jaw, seeing a dentist or oral medicine specialist is preferable. They will help you prescribe medications or treatments that relieve and treat jaw spasms.

Tips when you suffer from lower jaw muscle spasm

  1. Rest your achy jaw: Everyday habits like biting your nails and chewing gum put pressure on your tight jaw muscles.
  2. Avoid solid foods: Replace foods that are hard to chew with soft or liquid foods.
  3. Try a home remedy for joint and jaw spasms: Wrap a hot, moist washcloth around your jaw and neck and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes once every hour. The moist heat will help relax your muscles and may reduce muscle spasms.

Most people get jaw and facial muscle spasms from dental surgeries and head and neck cancer treatment. The condition can affect a person's ability to eat and regain strength after treatment and affect their ability to communicate, making them feel frustrated or isolated.

If you suffer from spasm of the jaw and facial muscles, consult your doctor, he will recommend the appropriate treatment to relieve the symptoms.


  1. Cleveland Clinic
  2. Physiopedia
  3. Healthline 
  4.  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Frequently Asked Questions

In most cases, jaw spasm is temporary and gradually resolves within about two weeks. In fewer cases, it may take longer to subside and may become permanent if left untreated.

Jaw muscle spasms may persist for a long time and be more resistant to conventional treatment in people who have developed fibrous tissue as a result of treatment.

Dental surgeries and head and neck cancer treatments are the most common reasons, in addition to many other reasons.

Treatment depends on the cause of the condition. You may need long-term physical therapy, or the doctor may prescribe some medications. In other cases, you may resort to laser treatment of jaw and facial muscle spasms.

It depends on the condition including treatment of the cause. Most people feel better within a few weeks.

The most common causes are temporomandibular joint disorders, head and neck cancer treatments, wisdom teeth extractions, and dental surgeries.

Other causes include: inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and scleroderma. These conditions affect the temporomandibular joint and may cause trismus and spasticity.

In many cases, the doctor will prefer to prescribe medications that help relax the muscles to reduce the severity of the patient's condition, and he may also accompany them with pain relievers to feel more comfortable.

Some procedures help relax tense muscles:

Try to relax and relieve tension. You can gently apply a hot water compress to the area of tension on each side of the jaw and leave it for 45 minutes on each side. Practice exercises to move the jaw forward and backward.

Jaw tetanus is a medical condition in which muscles, including the jaw muscles, become too tight due to a bacterial infection.

If you are planning for treatment in Turkey
you can talk to us here.

If you are planning for treatment in Turkey
you can talk to us here.