Ear ache or RA in jawbone ?

I've been experiencing a tenderness in my right ear/ lower jaw area. Went to see GP this morning as i was worried it might be an infection. She asked me a load of questions - any discharge, no build up of wax and so on, No No NO!! having looked at it very carefully and felt my glands she concluded that it was probably the RA as she said it can appear in any joint. True it feels RAey as it comes and goes and moves around.

Has anyone else had this specific problem? Its making me feel a bit down.

25 Replies

  • Hi Cathie, I've had problems with my jaw it's flared a few times and during a flair it's quite painful, painkillers don't really do much. I couldn't talk very well and only eat soup for a few days.

    My work colleagues (when I was working) thought it was great as it shut me up and I had to delegate my phone duties to them and I got on with their work.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Beth xx

  • Yes, I have found that I can't open my mouth widely - so yawning hurts a bit. Weird isn't it this RA. I suppose a diet of soup would help with my weight!!

    Thankyou Beth

  • Hi

    I have had this problem on and off. It stops me chewing...not good!

    I think that it can be distressing with RA the way it travels around as we tend to put everything down to it. It's always wise to get things checked if you're worried.

    A :-))

  • I agree, this travelling aspect does mean that we suspect that every ache and pain is RA. So I'm glad I went to see the GP

  • Hi Cathie,

    Yeah I have this.

    It only affects one side of my jaw and was started after a visit to the dentist (prior to my official RA diagnosis) and during my 1st flare.

    So if anyone is flaring but needs to go to a Dentist hold off until after your flare!!

    During these flares my lower jaw either misalligns itself ( it sorta shifts to the side a bit) so I cant close my teeth together properly either. When it does this its nails-screechingly-down-a-blackboard weird. :D or it locks with me unable to open my mouth for a day or too.

    But I found a hot flannel pressed on the aching area soothes and loosens it quite a bit. Then rubbing on some voltarol stops the ear ache - rub in on the soft bit between the jaw and the bottom of the earlobe. :)

    I can stave off the start of one of these jaw flares now that i recognise the symptoms ( I get a weird tightening of the muscle and the muscle also starts twitching) but by popping in a chewing gum and rubbing in voltarol I've been jaw flare free for around 2months!!

    Hope this helps


  • Hi Cathie

    Yes, I too have pains in my Jaw. If feels like I have an earache or I have been talking/chewing non stop for hours !! I havn't been to the doctors, but I will do next time, just to check what it is ?

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Jo x

  • Thankyou all for answers so far. I've had RA for about 11 years and this is my first experience of this jaw thing, so its good to know I'm not alone in this experience. Hope your jaws are pain free soon


  • Hi,

    You might have what is classed as tmj disfunction. I have recently been diagnosed with this year as was having problems. x

  • I wonder what is tmj? These medical abbreviations have always puzzled me!

    Thanks for all your help though. it makes me feel a little better to know I'm not alone!

  • Yes, I have the same problem and have had for the last 2 years. I get pain and stiffness in the hinge of the jawbone and I can't close my jaw or chew properly on that side. sometimes it is the left and sometimes the right side. Usually lasts 2/3 days and then settles down. I do use Ibuprofen gel to rub into the side of my face but don't know if it really does any good! Was told by my Rheumy that it was the RA. What fun it all is. lol. LavendarLady x

  • I try and look at anything that stops me eating, nausea, jawbone etc on the bright side as helping my weight management. We have to see the glass half full don't we!

    I'm sorry to hear that so many of us suffer from this though!


  • TMJ stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint. Its a synovial joint just in front of your ear where your lower jaw (mandible) slots into the skull (temporal bone), hence the name!! I have had problems with this, sometimes severe pain, but on the whole a bit tender and just hurts when mouth is fully open, so yawning hurts.....my "bite" is also a bit wonky when its flared up, I suppose because its only a small joint and a little bit of swelling will affect the boimechanics of the movement in the joint and the teeth lining up....hope it soon settles x

  • Oh thanks fizzy. It feels better this morning - perhaps now I know what it probably is!

  • Hi cathie

    Yep me too, i also get Jaw pain and now also ear pain (apparently we have 3 small joints on out ears) Is there no where this Fu**ing disease won't attack!!!

    Hope you feel better soon

    Ella xx

  • Unbelievable, I have had problem for the last 2 years with on off earache in right ear, drives me insane, very painfull, thought I just had ear infection or something, maybe not? had RA for 21 years. Not been to doctor as thought it was a bit of a trivial problem really, that and the fact that it probably would have subsided when I had finally got an appointment! Now I think maybe I should make one and mention it. Thanks for mentioning it.

  • Im glad to have shared this


  • Hi,

    This is so weird seeing someone else ask about something I wanted to enquire about! I have had a bad jaw for a while now and it's really hard to eat and yawn. It doesn't seem to be easing at all though. I asked my GP and she said I should see my dentist so he can assess whether or not something is causing it to flare and stay flared up. She said that I might grind my teeth at night which could cause the pain and that I may need to get a jaw guard to wear at night to help relieve the pain so it gradually goes away. Just thought that seeing a dentist might help and he can also see if it's being caused by something else too. I always seem to jump to the conclusion that it's my RA whenever I get a pain somewhere in my body! Hope this helps Kx

  • Yes Kezza, my GP said the same. I probably do grind my teeth at night, and I was also planning to go to the dentist - when I can screw up my courage! But sleeping with anything on my head other than the earphone for the radio I use to go to sleep is unthinkable.

    I think you're right that we shouldn't assume that everything is RA, so I did check with GP, but it is worth thinking about isn't it.

    Hope your jaw feels better - it also hurts to sneeze sometimes!


  • This is amazing, I have also had this problem for the first time, although have had had RA for 8 years, and have not had a flare for about the last 6 years.. It started about two weeks ago. My botton jaw kept slipping to one side, and if I brought my jaws together whilst in this position, the pain by my ear was very painful. I had to push my jaw back into place myself, but it would sometime lock and then slip back. This would happen at any time, but just eating. I thought I had better request some help when it fell to one side when I was out walking the dog.

    I spoke with GP who asked lots of questions, and then said to speak to dentist, but if dentist could offer no support, to go back to GP.

    I saw my dentist the following day, I had had this problem for about 10 days by now, and she said I needed to see a consultant in dentistry who could probably help me. I have an appointment on Thursday. I will let you how I go on.

    Watch this space.

  • Yep - have had this for years, didnt realise for a while that it was RA related. cant chew well (which would be good for losing weigh?) and hurts when I swallow. Feels like my jaw is out of line. But I do find some consultants say no, no, that wouldnt be the RA! I also get pains in my chest (i.e. ribs) that is RA related too (as it turns out).

    I find massaging the jaw helps it feel better but only paracetemol does any good and even then it just seems to take time.

    Yes, RA is very weird - I think it can hit anywhere, anytime (like a Ninja!!)?

    Keep the jaw warm as well - good luck.

    Lynn x

  • Cathie, i've had trouble round my eyes and my right eye gets very sore. Its not my eyes causing the trouble but they seem to think it is ra from the joint by the ear. My right side of my face swells and is very sore,

    Sylvi. xx

  • My daughter's rhuemy told her that her ear ache was from the RA in her jaw.

    Good luck. I know it hurts.


  • Thanks everyone! It is reassuring to share our aches and pains - at least virtually! XC

  • Afternoon all, how did/is everyone getting on with this?? Have you seen you doctors/dentists and managed to find help?

  • It disappeared as mysteriously as it came!

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