Temporomandibular joint dysfunction? Worsening after taking ibuprofen?
December 1, 2017 8:35 AM   Subscribe

The muscles around the left ear or left jaw joint feel tense and strained after taking ibuprofen. Weird.

It was usually barely noticeable, and I hadn't noticed a jaw problem for at least a year. There used to have some episodes of what felt like "mild dislocations" a few years ago, but it hasn't bothered me after I paid more attention not to overuse it, and I mostly forgot about this problem.

Then, last week, when I take ibuprofen for unrelated pain (strained arm and wrist), the area in front of the left ear, around the jaw joint on the same side, began to feel tense at random, but not overtly painful. It felt as if someone was pulling me by the facial tissues without using much force. When I was off ibuprofen, it mostly went away.

Yesterday I took ibuprofen again for strained arm (silly me) and the jaw tension attacked again on the same side.

So, questions:

Is this temporomandibular joint dysfunction? The weird thing is that ibuprofen seems to be a trigger. Is this a possible side-effect? None of the listed side-effects showed up in me, though. Or is this a case of psychosomatic pain, akin to a nocebo effect?

BTW I'm in the early 30s and I'm not on other medication (except multivitamin and mineral supplements). I do have anxiety & depression problems so perhaps there could be a psychogenic factor.
posted by runcifex to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I posit that you took the IB because of muscle strain and that strain/pain is causing you to hold your jaw/shoulder/neck differently which is causing the TMJ pain. Correlation does not equal causation.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory; it's often recommended for tooth pain and jaw problems because it's good at reducing muscle inflammation that's pinching nerves.

However, if you've got muscles that were pinching off pain somehow, or that were tensing against a problem, then shrinking them could cause the pain to come through.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:56 PM on December 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

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