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Can adults get ear infections?

Exploring the link between TMJ/TMD and ear pain


Dr. Hillman treats TMJ pain

Have you been having ear pain and thinking: can adults get ear infections? While ear infections can happen to anyone, they are more common in children. Especially if you haven't had a recent infection or sickness, your ear pain maybe related to an issue with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).


Let's dive into why your ear discomfort might be linked to TMD.


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), located just in front of your ears, plays a crucial role in jaw movement. When this joint experiences dysfunction or inflammation, it can result in a variety of symptoms, including ear pain. But how exactly does TMD cause ear pain?


One significant contributor is the network of muscles surrounding the TMJ. Muscles like the sternocleidomastoid (SCM), masseter, and pterygoids can refer pain to the ears. This means that the discomfort you feel in your ears may actually stem from tension or dysfunction in these nearby muscles rather than from an issue within the ear itself.


Moreover, the TMJ structure itself can contribute to ear pain. Dysfunction within the joint can lead to pain that radiates towards or into the ears, further exacerbating the discomfort experienced.


Additionally, various nerves in the vicinity of the TMJ can also play a role in ear pain. Branches of nerves such as the trigeminal nerve, facial nerve, and vestibulocochlear nerve may contribute to pain in and around the ear, adding another layer to the complexity of TMD-related ear pain.


If you're experiencing chronic ear pain that isn't due to an infection, it's worth considering the possibility of TMD. Look out for accompanying symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, or limitations in jaw movement, as these could all be indicators of TMD.


Addressing the TMJ can help with Ear Pain Symptoms


In conclusion, understanding the connection between ear pain and TMD is crucial for proper diagnosis and management. By recognizing the role of the TMJ and its associated muscles and nerves in ear pain, you can seek appropriate treatment and find relief from their symptoms. So, if you've been struggling with ear pain, don't ignore the possibility that your TMJ might be the root cause. Reach out to me by email or phone if you are curious if your jaw may be related to ear and facial pain.



Dr. Corey Hillman is a specialist in treating TMJ in Greensboro NC

Dr. Corey Hillman is a Physical Therapist and owner of Gate City Physio – a boutique physical therapy clinic in Downtown Greensboro. He specializes in helping individuals suffering from jaw pain, headaches and neck pain regain their freedom and get back to enjoying the little things in life.




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