Lockjaw
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Reviewed By:

Maxwell J. Nanes, DO

Maxwell J. Nanes, DO (Emergency department)

Dr Nanes received a doctorate from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to complete a residency in emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. There he trained at Froedtert Hospital and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in the practice of adult and pediatric emergency medicine. He was a chief resident and received numerous awards for teaching excellence during his time there. | | After residency he took a job at a community hospital where he and his colleagues worked through the toughest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. |

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal medicine)

Dr. Abe graduated from The University of Tokyo School of Medicine in 2015. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Longevity Medical Center. He co-founded Ubie, Inc. in May 2017, where he currently serves as CEO & product owner at Ubie. Since December 2019, he has been a member of the Special Committee for Activation of Research in Emergency AI of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. | | Dr. Abe has been elected in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Healthcare & Science category.

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

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  • My mouth doesn't open fully

  • Difficulty in opening mouth

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About the Symptom

Trismus, commonly known as lockjaw, is a painful condition characterized by restricted jaw movement, preventing the mouth from fully opening. Trismus can result in discomfort, as well as difficulties in eating, speaking, and maintaining oral hygiene. It typically manifests when an individual is unable to open their mouth beyond 35 millimeters.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Muscle weakness in the limbs

  • Fever

  • Peripheral cyanosis

  • Recent weight loss

  • Difficulty breathing / breathlessness

  • Blurring of vision

  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation

  • Dysphagia

  • Headache

Possible causes

Generally, Lockjaw can be related to:

  • Scleroderma

    Scleroderma is a connective tissue disorder that causes the skin to thicken and harden, though it may also affect other organs. It is categorized as localized or widespread (systemic scleroderma). It is a disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body.

  • Temporomandibular arthrosis

    This degenerative condition affects the jaw (temporomandibular) joint, causing changes and degeneration of bone structure, leading to joint inflammation and pain. The condition is more common in females than males. Risk factors include grinding or clenching teeth, dislocations or fractures, and genetics.

  • Occipital neuralgia

    Occipital neuralgia is a rare type of headache characterized by intense, brief, throbbing, electric-shock-like pain in the back of the head or behind the ears. It can occur on one or both sides of the head, and is thought to result from pinching of a nerve by scalp or neck muscles, neck injury, as well as neck or skull base surgery.

  • Otitis media
  • Acute tonsillitis / pharyngitis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Common cold (upper respiratory tract infection)

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Lockjaw may be related to these serious diseases:

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Is it hard for you to fully open your mouth?

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do you have headaches or a heavy feeling in your head?

  • Do you struggle to focus or feel less aware of your surroundings?

  • Do you feel any numbness or altered sensation?

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Find Similar Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

Reviewed By:

Maxwell J. Nanes, DO

Maxwell J. Nanes, DO (Emergency department)

Dr Nanes received a doctorate from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to complete a residency in emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. There he trained at Froedtert Hospital and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in the practice of adult and pediatric emergency medicine. He was a chief resident and received numerous awards for teaching excellence during his time there. | | After residency he took a job at a community hospital where he and his colleagues worked through the toughest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. |

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal medicine)

Dr. Abe graduated from The University of Tokyo School of Medicine in 2015. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Longevity Medical Center. He co-founded Ubie, Inc. in May 2017, where he currently serves as CEO & product owner at Ubie. Since December 2019, he has been a member of the Special Committee for Activation of Research in Emergency AI of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. | | Dr. Abe has been elected in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Healthcare & Science category.

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