Allergy Season is here

When you experience jaw pain, your mind may jump to reasons such as teeth grinding, muscle pain, disc issues, or toothaches. By going for the obvious, however, you may overlook something as simple as allergies causing your jaw pain. The question gets asked frequently, ” Could my allergies be causing my TMJ pain?”

Allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States each year, with many individuals suffering from allergic rhinitis. Also known as hay fever, its symptoms are as common as they are annoying — sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watering eyes to name a few.


You probably identify sinus problems with nasal pressure. But allergies can cause lower jaw pain as well as the feeling of general pressure, especially if maxillary sinuses are obstructed. Inflamed and swollen sinuses can affect several areas of the face and head and result in issues ranging from headaches and earaches to facial tenderness near the eyes and nose that radiates to the jaw.


When it is more than seasonal allergies?

It’s possible that seasonal allergies could cause jaw pain in other ways, although more research is needed on the subject. Frequent sneezing and coughing force the mouth open which could lead to muscle tension and overuse strain and create issues with the jaw. Similarly, a stuffy nose may make you breathe through your mouth at night. If your jaw is strained open all night, it makes sense that you could wake up with jaw discomfort.

There’s much discussion regarding the relationship between TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders) and airway disorders. Many TMD Specialists look for TMJ issues or problems with a patient’s bite, muscles, joints, or disc issues when the cause of TMD issues is often related to airway/breathing complications. Therefore, signs and symptoms must be evaluated and identified through the airway. For example, allergies, deviated septum, nasal valve issues, upper airway inflammation, and infection, and deformation can all cause airway obstruction and difficulty in nasal breathing. Strong evidence shows these obstructions can convert normal nasal breathing to mouth breathing.

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing bypasses a person’s normal physiologic filtration system through the nose. Breathing dirty air through the mouth can be a source of inflammation and infection in the posterior throat and tonsil area. It can result in swollen tonsils and adenoids and difficulty breathing through both the nose and mouth. It can also induce problematic ventilation during sleep. In turn, it can lead to both upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) and, in more severe cases, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The good news is you can take steps to keep your allergies under control and your nasal passages and sinuses healthy, which may help alleviate and prevent jaw pain. One action you can take is to manage allergies to keep your symptoms under control. Allergies can cause inflammation of the nose and sinuses which in turn blocks mucus from draining and may lead to an infection. There are different treatment options when it comes to sinuses. Homeopathic products, over the counter allergy medications or prescription, good nasal inhalers such as Flonase or XLear, and utilizing some nasal dilators such as Rhinomed Mute, or Breathe Right Nasal Strips can hopefully allow you to manage your allergy season and reduce any sinus pressure, headaches, or jaw pain.

Freedom from TMD Pain

If you are interested in more information about how a TMD Specialist can help improve symptoms from seasonal allergies,  schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained TMD Specialists.

Owner & Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Michael Karegeannes, PT, MHSc, LAT, MTC, CFC, CCTT, CMTPT is the owner of Freedom Physical Therapy Services in WI and is one of the few physical therapists in the United States recognized as a Certified Cervical and Temporomandibular Therapist with the AAOP and PTBCTT.