(Natural News) Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of autoimmune arthritis. It is caused by the immune system not functioning properly and attacking healthy cells in and around your joints. RA causes a variety of symptoms, such as swelling and pain in the wrists and small joints of the feet, hands and knees. However, this inflammation and pain can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the jaw. While estimates of its prevalence vary, jaw pain is believed to occur in the later stages of RA.
Medical practitioners diagnose RA-induced jaw pain based on a patient’s medical history. They also take into account the symptoms presented by a patient, as well as the results of diagnostic tests. These tests include a physical examination of the jaw, X-rays of the jaw joint, MRI scans and even blood tests that measure antibody levels and help rule out the possibility of an infection.
When the inflammation caused by RA reaches the jaw, it can cause pain and stiffness in that area. These, in turn, can affect a person’s ability to eat, drink, speak and even sleep. In children, this inflammation can interrupt the development of their jaws.
Here are the common symptoms of RA in the jaw:
- Pain, tenderness or stiffness in one or both jaw joints.
- A grinding, creaking or crunching sound, known as crepitation, whenever the jaw is moved.
- Limited range of motion for the jaw.
- Decreased joint space.
- Erosion or bone loss on the affected joint.
- Misalignment of the jaw (in advanced cases).
Home remedies for RA-induced jaw pain
The first treatment you should consider is jaw exercises. Consult with a trusted natural health practitioner about the best types of exercises for your condition. Without guidance, you may end up overusing your jaw and aggravating your symptoms. Warming up the jaw muscles before doing any exercise can help prevent injury.
Here’s a simple exercise that you can do:
- Slowly open your mouth.
- Curl your tongue up. The tip of your tongue should be touching the roof of your mouth.
- Keep your tongue in that position.
- Slowly close your mouth.
- Repeat this exercise two to three times a day.
Slowly opening and closing your mouth is another simple exercise that you can do. Sit in front of a mirror while you do this and make sure that your jaw doesn’t swing to one side or the other. Repeat this 10 times and do the exercise two to three times a day.
Here are other home remedies that you can try:
- Apply a hot or cold compress to your jaw.
- Switch to eating soft foods.
- Switch to a liquid diet.
- Avoid eating crunchy, sticky or chewy foods like gum, caramel, nuts and croutons.
- Regularly massage the muscles around your jaw joint.
- Avoid opening your mouth too wide during flare-ups.
- Avoid clenching your jaw, especially when you’re stressed.
- Don’t rest your chin on your hand. This can put stress on your jaw.
- Wear a mouthguard before going to bed.
Natural remedies like the ones listed above can help relieve jaw pain caused by RA and decrease your risk of developing complications. For best results and to ensure your safety, seek advice from a trusted natural health practitioner before trying these remedies.