Physical Symptoms

What To Do When Anxiety Causes Jaw Pain

  • Stress and tension are known to lead to jaw pain.
  • Diagnosing jaw pain can be tricky. Doctor’s visits are still recommended to be safe.
  • Anxiety, which causes stress, leads to facial tension and jaw clenching.
  • There are strategies that can be used to eliminate jaw pain.
  • Because muscle tension and clenching can be subconscious, addressing anxiety is more effective in the long term.
Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated March 1, 2021

What To Do When Anxiety Causes Jaw Pain

There are many anxiety symptoms that are not well known among individuals who only recently began experiencing anxiety. Most people are familiar with nausea and palpitation of anxiety, but what many don't realize is that there are countless other anxiety symptoms that can affect various part of your body.

This can create a problem, because unusual or unexpected anxiety symptoms can lead to further anxiety and anticipation, and in many cases result in doctor's visits that would otherwise be unnecessary. One such symptom associated with anxiety causes jaw pain.

Obviously, jaw discomfort can be caused by any number of head/neck or dental issues as well. That's why it's always important to speak with a dentist, especially if it's been a while since you've visited one. Jaw pain rarely occurs as a solitary symptom of anxiety.

What causes Jaw Discomfort?

Many of the physical pains of anxiety are caused by muscle tension brought on by stress in general. This tends to be especially true of jaw pain. The association between anxiety and jaw pain isn't always obvious, but there are generally two causes:

  • Facial Tension All forms of facial tension may lead to jaw pain. 
  • Clenching Jaw clenching is perhaps even more common. Many of those with anxiety clench their teeth at night, sometimes with grinding, and when you wake your teeth and gums have experienced so much pressure that they cause you considerable pain.

Stress can also have an unusual effect on your body, including your jaw and teeth, so you may find that your pain is due to something other than the above two causes. Furthermore, anxiety can make what would be regular jaw pain feel more pronounced.

How to Stop Your Anxiety Jaw Pain

There are some quick fixes to control jaw pain occurring due to anxiety. The best place to start is with a mouth guard to prevent any clenching during sleep. There are several mouth guards for those who grind their teeth at night, and this can provide some relief for those with persistent anxiety.

Greater mindfulness can also provide some relief. Pay attention to your anxiety. When you feel yourself getting stressed, see how your mouth feels. If you find that you're clenching, stop. Eventually, you can train your brain to stop automatically clenching your jaw during periods of intense anxiety.

Yet the key is going to be to stop your anxiety altogether because only then will you automatically start to relieve tension around your mouth and facial area. You can try traditional options, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Medicine.
  • Herbal strategies.

Yet there are other options out there that have very high success rates and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.  


Anxiety causes muscle tension, clenching teeth, and other symptoms that can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw. Mindfulness can help individuals gain better control over their jaw discomforts, although a long-term anxiety treatment is the only way to help control the factors that lead to jaw pain. 

Questions? Comments?

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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