TMJ jaw pain is a common symptom of TMJ syndrome. The jaw muscles attach to the temporo-mandibular joint by tendons which allow the jaw to move in various directions. As the inflammation of TMJ develops, it is very common for sore jaw muscles to occur. The same swelling and irritation within the jaw joint involves the muscles of the jaw as well. Therefore, sore jaw muscles are a hallmark of TMJ disorders.
In the absence of an obvious cause of jaw muscle pain, jaw muscle soreness is a fairly uncommon symptom. Some unusual arthritis conditions like polymyalgia rheumatica can cause jaw soreness, but this occurs with migrating joint pains throughout the body and sometimes a rash. Occasionally, an infection of your parotid gland (a salivary gland that lies over the jaw area) can spread into the jaw muscles and cause soreness. However, this is almost always associated with redness and swelling of the gland. Less commonly, other infections of the mouth, head and neck regions can spread into the jaw muscles and cause soreness.
In the constellation of other TMJ symptoms, though, jaw soreness is rarely from these other conditions. Ear infections, tooth infections, and trauma to the jaw area should be investigated. But in their absence, jaw muscle soreness that worsens with movement of the jaw, improves with relaxation, and is associated with other TMJ symptoms usually defines the cause of the problem. As the TMJ symptoms improve with treatment, so does the jaw muscle pain as well.
Other TMJ Symptoms: