Lockjaw is a disorder that causes severe pain and discomfort in the mouth. Hence, it is imperative for someone to seek immediate medical help to get rid of the lockjaw.

The condition is also known as trismus. It prevents the mouth or jaw from opening and functioning. You may also have difficulty with speech, eating, and maintaining oral health [1].

While on treatment, you can make use of these simple home remedies to get rid of lockjaw fast. These natural remedies will help ease the stiffness and pain in this part of your mouth.

The primary cause of lockjaw is a bacterial infection called tetanus. This results in severe muscle spasms, including that of the jaw [2].

The infection can spread to other parts of the body and put one’s life at risk.

Tetanus usually occurs among agricultural workers and older people. People who are more likely to come in contact with the animal mare may also have the disease.

Approximately 10 to 20 percent of tetanus infections are fatal.

Read on to learn more about the symptoms and some evidence-based home remedies for lockjaw.

Symptoms of lockjaw

  • A headache
  • Fever and sweating
  • Jaw cramping
  • Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasm in the stomach)
  • Painful muscle stiffness all over the body
  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw
  • Pain around the ears
  • A difficulty while chewing
  • Facial pain
  • The limited ability to open and close the mouth.
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Jerking or staring (seizures)
  • Changes in blood pressure and a fast heart rate

How to Get Rid of Lockjaw at Home: 19 Natural Ways

1. Exerciseexercise

Subjecting your jaw to too much pressure will only aggravate the condition. So, it is best you do not apply too much pressure on it.

But, gentle exercises can increase jaw movement as well as a range of motion [4].

Active exercises help in increasing the opening of the mouths of people with lockjaw [5].

This is especially true for those cases resulting from TMD or acute arthritis. [6]

Biofeedback training, postural correction, and different relaxation techniques are also beneficial.

18 patients with lockjaw participated in a trial. It consisted of active and passive types of jaw movement exercises [7].

Results show that jaw exercises improved the condition. The exercises also minimized the pain without causing any adverse side effects.

How to do lockjaw exercises:

Every morning, set aside time for exercising your jaws. Begin by pressing your chin to open your mouth a little. Lift it back again to close the mouth. Do four sets of this exercise every day for up to eight weeks.

2. Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress causes so many serious ailments, including heart disease and high blood pressure.

But did you know that it is also linked to lockjaw?

Relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing may help with this problem.

Biofeedback training and relaxation exercises can also benefit people with TMD [8, 9].

In biofeedback therapy, patients learn to control certain physiological processes of their bodies. This includes heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure.

Yes, these are automatic processes. But patients learn how to influence them to treat several conditions. These can be a migraine, hypertension, urinary continence, and chronic pain, among others.

It is also effective in treating conditions triggered by stress [8].

According to one study, it can help ease teeth grinding, teeth clenching, lip biting, and so on [8].

These habits may not seem harmful but are actually detrimental to someone with an injury to the jaw joint [8].

In a clinical trial performed in 1984, 57 patients with chronic TMD pain attended. They received relaxation and biofeedback therapy [9].

Both therapies were effective in alleviating the condition.

Learn how you can use stress-reduction technique for lockjaw:

Engage in stress reduction exercises such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. Meditation is an effective exercise to get rid of TMJ pain.

Perform different yoga poses twice a day for one to two weeks. Set aside time for deep breathing and meditation during the day. It’s also a good idea to get massage therapy twice a day for one to two months. And be sure to get plenty of rest too.

Read More: 12 Essential Oils for Stress Reduction & How to Use Them

3. Cold CompressCold-Compress

Many people rely on a cold compress for pain relief in various situations. A cold compress may also provide relief to those with lockjaw.

It disrupts the nerve transmission in the fibers that are in charge of pain sensation. This way it may help you to get rid of TMJ jaw pain [10].

It can also block pain sensation, increase pain threshold, and release endorphins.

Endorphins are hormones produced in the pituitary gland and the nervous system [11].

They prevent the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Also, they create a “feeling of euphoria” [11].

As for the swelling, ice causes the blood vessels to narrow. It reduces inflammation in the underlying tissues [10].

You should apply the cold compress on the skin for at least 10 minutes. It will maximize the benefits of cold therapy. But don’t use the ice uncovered as you don’t want your skin getting too cold.

A simple cold compress method to get rid of lockjaw:

Wrap ice cubes in a towel. Apply on the jaw for 10 minutes to relieve stiffness. Do this three times a day until the condition improves.

4. Garlic and Mustardgarlic

Garlic is often included as an ingredient in home remedies for so many ailments.

Mustard may not be as popular as garlic as an herbal remedy. But it is also utilized to resolve many health issues.

The combination of the two can relieve lockjaw.

Garlic has strong antibacterial actions. They can help kill the source of infection, thanks to its active compound called allicin [12].

Meanwhile, mustard is a great way to boost blood circulation in the affected jaw.

After all, it contains anticoagulant properties [13].

Here’s how you may use garlic and mustard to get rid of lockjaw:

Crush and peel off 2 garlic cloves. Chop into small pieces. In a pan over low heat, warm 1 tablespoon of mustard oil and add chopped garlic. Remove from heat after five minutes.

Strain to remove chopped garlic. Apply a layer of oil to the jaw. Massage twice or thrice a day until lockjaw heals.

5. Chamomile Tea

Herbal teas are also popular treatment suggestions for lockjaw.

Some people turn to nettle tea, valerian tea, or catnip tea to reduce this problem.

Chamomile tea is a practical herbal solution for a wide variety of ailments. It’s also an excellent choice for lockjaw.

A 2012 study has proved that chamomile has analgesic effects, and can ease the pain that comes with TMD [14].

In fact, its effects are even stronger compared to those of standard analgesic drugs [14].

Drinking a cup of chamomile tea also has relaxation effects. It can help ease stiffness in the jaw muscles and make you feel better.

Try this simple recipe of chamomile tea to get rid of lockjaw:

Pour water into a pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Transfer water to a cup. Add chamomile flowers. Cover the cup. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain the tea. Sip the tea using a straw. Do this remedy once a day for up to one month to stop lockjaw.

6. Echinacea

Echinacea or purple coneflower is native to North America [15].

Its liquid extract derived from the plant’s roots is the most used herbal product in the United States [15].

It is a natural treatment for colds and other respiratory infections [16].

For those who complain of lockjaw, Echinacea can also help.

Research has shown that this plant is a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory [17, 18].

It can enhance the pain and at the same time, tone down swelling if there’s any [17, 18].

Although proven effective, this remedy is not recommended for people with autoimmune diseases.

How to use echinacea to fix lockjaw immediately:

Chop ginger and put it in a cup. Add Echinacea. Boil water in a teapot. Pour it into the cup. Steep for 20 minutes. Add honey. Stir well. Drink while warm. Sip using a straw. Do this technique twice a day until jaw stiffness is gone.

7. Chili PepperChili-Pepper

Capsaicin in chili pepper may have analgesic effects. That’s why it is often considered a top treatment for lockjaw.

This active compound produces pain-relieving effects on the skin [19, 20, 21, 22].

But that’s not all; it is also believed to have inhibitory effects against Clostridium tetani. It is a bacteria that causes tetanus and lockjaw [23].

It is the only remedy that may have inhibitory effects on tetanus-causing bacteria.

But, further research is necessary to confirm this theory.

Also, take note that applying chili pepper to the skin will produce a stinging sensation. So you have to limit the amount, and not use this remedy for an extended period.

Learn how to use chili pepper to get rid of lockjaw:

Put a pan over low heat. Pour 1 tsp of mustard oil and heat it for a few minutes. Add ½ chili pepper, chopped. Stir it for a few minutes. Remove from heat. Strain chili pepper. Use a cotton pad to apply oil to the stiff jaw and massage. Repeat procedure twice daily for one to two weeks.

Essential Oils for Lockjaw

8. Valerian

It’s difficult to get a good sleep at night if you have a lockjaw.

Along with getting rid of the jaw stiffness itself, it’s also a must to take care of the side issues it brings. For sleep deprivation caused by lockjaw, valerian can help.

It can shorten sleep latency, improve sleep quality and lengthen sleep duration [24, 25, 26, 27, 28].

Using this essential oil can help you sleep better even with the pain and discomfort that you have to deal with.

Try this valerian oil recipe to get rid of lockjaw:

Combine 5 drops of valerian oil and 1 tsp of almond oils in a bowl. Transfer the oil mixture to a glass jar. Pour a few drops on your palm. Massage your jaw with the mixture. Inhale the aroma for a few minutes from the glass jar before going to bed. Use this method once a day for several weeks.

9. Peppermint

Getting relief from pain caused by lockjaw is the second most important thing that you have to do. The first one is to get treatment for this condition.

One way to ease the pain is to make use of peppermint.

You can drink peppermint tea or massage the affected area with peppermint oil.

Peppermint tea is one of the world’s most popular herbal teas. It has significant analgesic and anesthetic properties. These properties can help ease your pain [29].

The topical application of peppermint oil leaves a cooling sensation. It makes you forget about your discomfort [30].

These analgesic properties are due to the presence of menthol [30].

Try these methods of using peppermint for lockjaw:

  • Boil a cup of water in a pot. Add 1 tsp of peppermint leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drink the tea using a straw twice a day for one to two weeks.
  • Combine 3 drops of peppermint oil and 1 tsp of almond oil. Apply to the jaw area, and massage using small circular motions. Do this two to three times a day for one to two weeks.

10. Lavender Oil

Lavender is famous all over the world for its pharmacological effects [31].

Lavender oil comes from lavender flowers through a process called steam distillation.

Although this essential oil won’t directly treat your lockjaw, it can help in different ways. For one, it has relaxation effects that can reduce stiffness in the jaw muscles [32].

Its active anti-inflammatory and analgesic components can help relieve this condition [33].

How you can get rid of lockjaw using lavender oil:

Pour 20 drops of lavender oil into your bathwater. Swish your fingers to blend the oil into the water. Sit in the bath for 30 minutes once a day for as long as you find it comforting. Submerge your entire body including your jaw.

11. Rose Oilrose_oil

Rose or Rosa Damascena is native to Europe and the Middle East. It has been relieving a wide range of health problems for decades [34].

Its high phenolic content handles most of its pharmacological properties [34].

Those who are suffering from lockjaw can also make use of this oil remedy for quick relief.

After all, rose oil has significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects [35].

Learn how you can use rose oil to get rid of lockjaw:

Dilute 4 drops of rose oil with 1 tsp of almond oil. Mix in a bowl, then transfer to a glass jar. Pour a few drops on your fingers. Apply your jaw.

Let it sit for 10 minutes. Massage your jaw for another 10 minutes. Do this procedure twice a day until pain and stiffness subside.

12. Clary Sage OilSage-essential-oil

An aromatherapy massage can soothe painful conditions like lockjaw.

Massaging the affected jaws with clary sage oil can do so much in improving the condition.

This oil has strong analgesic, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties [36].

This means that it can help tone down the swelling. It can also relieve pain by desensitizing the nerves and blocking pain signals in the brain.

Try this clary sage oil blend for lockjaw:

Add clary sage oil to jojoba oil. Blend well. Transfer the oil mixture to a glass jar. Whenever you feel pain in your jaw, apply a few drops of your fingers and massage your jaws. Do not put too much pressure on your jaws. Repeat this technique several times a day until the condition improves.

13. Wort Oil

St. John’s Wort is well-known for the treatment of anxiety and depression.

Oleum Hyperici is the oil extract from St.John’s Wort. It has active constituents, the naphthodianthrone hypericin, and phloroglucinol hyperforin.

It reduces both wound size and healing time. It is also an effective antibacterial compound against various Gram-positive bacteria [37].

Wort oil is also known to soothe pain and improves the process of healing in your jaw’s injured muscles.

How to fix lockjaw using wort oil:

Take a few drops of this oil and rub on the affected area for a few minutes daily.

14. Epsom Saltepsom-salt

Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). It is a traditional remedy for sore muscles and fatigue among athletes.  [38]

But, there’s much more to this mineral other than its health benefits.

Epsom salt is a versatile product. You can use it for gardening, household cleaning, and in the cosmetics industries.

Epsom salt was first distilled from a bitter saline spring in Epsom, Surrey, England. So the name of the mineral compound is Epsom Salt.

This colorless crystalline mineral is a combination of magnesium, sulfate, and oxygen. [38]

Epsom salt is an ideal remedy for muscle aches, joint pains, and dry skin. A detoxifying Epsom salt bath can provide you with a rejuvenating experience.

A deficiency of magnesium in your body is one of the causes of jaw lock.

Epsom salt is a rich natural supplement of magnesium to your body. Your skin absorbs the minerals in the salt.

Thus, Epsom salt relaxes the locked jaws and calms the pain and inflammations of your muscles. [39]

Here’s how you may use Epsom salt to cure lockjaw:

Fill your tub with lukewarm water. Now, add a ½ cup of  Epsom salt to the water and dip it in for 15-20 minutes. While taking a shower, massage your locked jaws with the solution. Repeat the treatment every night before you go to bed to cure lockjaw.

Read More: Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits: 19 Reasons to Buy One

15. Warm Compress

A warm compress can be a simple solution for lockjaw. You can buy warm compress from the chemist shop.

It can relieve pain, and boost metabolism, and blood flow. It can also improve the elasticity of the connective tissues inside your jaws and neck. [40]

A warm compress can relieve the stress on your jaw muscles as well. [40]

Learn how to use a warm compress to fix a locked jaw:

Fill the compressed bag with warm water and secure the lid. Now, place the warm compress near your affected jawlines and neck. Repeat the process several times a day.

16. Calcium and Magnesium Rich Foods

Keeping healthy is not rocket science. Managing your diet is one of the simplest ways to deal with any illness.

Calcium-rich foods are ideal for bone health. Whereas magnesium-enriched foods can relieve inflammations and pain. You should follow a balanced diet that includes both calcium and magnesium. [41]

Some of the natural sources of calcium are milk, dairy products, almonds, bananas, etc.

Some of the magnesium-rich foods are spinach, avocados, pumpkin, flaxseeds, yogurt, etc.

A simple way to soothe your lockjaw using calcium and magnesium-rich foods:

Prepare your meals with a balanced combination of both calcium and magnesium-rich foods. Give priority to eating fruits and vegetables. Herbal teas are ideal for relieving pain and strengthening muscles. Avoid junk foods when you are suffering from lockjaw.

17. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a major cause of many physical disorders. You need to drink enough water for the proper functioning of all the organs and systems.

Good hydration can keep away oral infections, muscle cramps, and joint pains. These are the primary causes of lockjaw.

Moreover, you can reduce your stress level and trauma by consuming enough water on a daily basis. [42] Stress is another trigger for a lockjaw.

How you may stay hydrated to get rid of lockjaw:

Consume at least 8 glasses of water every day to fix the lockjaw immediately. Start your day drinking 2 glasses of water on an empty stomach.

You can consume liquid foods such as soup and fruit juices to hydrate your body. Never go thirsty for a long time and try to sip on the water whenever possible.

Read More: 11 Effective Home Remedies for Anxiety That Actually Work

18. Nutritious Diet

Malnutrition can have a heavy toll on your health. A lack of essential vitamins and minerals may lead to conditions like lockjaw. [43]

You need to plan a diet that has a variety of vegetables and fruits. In this way, you can get an all-around course of vitamins and essential minerals. Your healthy diet plan should discard all sorts of junk foods. Because these foods may aggravate the lockjaw pain.

A simple way to take a nutritious diet for lockjaw:

Consume raw or cooked vegetables such as spinach, and celery. Eat fresh fruits that contain water and mineral contents. You should chew your foods slowly for good exercise and muscle movements of your jaw.

19. Soft Foods

One of the primary home remedies to fix lockjaw pain is consuming soft foods. Hard and crunchy foods may put a lot of stress on your jaws.  Soft foods such as broth, stew, soup, etc. can be a potent remedy for oral infections, one of the causes of lockjaw. [44]

Try these soft foods if you have lockjaw:

Yogurt is a probiotic food and can inhibit bacterial infections. You can include vegetable soups, cooked fish, boiled or scrambled eggs, cheese, etc. in your diet. You may cut or break the food items into pieces to have small bites at a time.

When to See a Doctor

You must see a doctor if you have lockjaw, particularly if it’s due to tetanus. These home remedies will help you soothe the pain. But, you need proper medical treatment to heal. [45]

Consult your doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Swelling.
  • Pain.
  • Bruises
  • Severe facial pain with jaw cramping.

Conclusion

Lockjaw can be a painful condition.

It can hamper your day-to-day activities and, also, your important work.

The inability to use your jaw for facial expressions can be a problem for your work and studies.

It is best that you consult your doctor immediately. As mentioned already, tetanus and other bacteria can cause lockjaw.

So, get yourself checked by your doctor for proper treatment.

With a proper tetanus vaccine, you can reduce the chances of getting tetanus to a great extent. But it can occur in neonatal if mothers are not immunized against tetanus [2, 3].

Tetanus can also pass through a cut or deep wound of an unvaccinated individual. But, it is not transmitted from person to person.

Other causes of lockjaw are TMJ or Temporomandibular joint disorder, and oral infections.

Dental injury, trauma to the jaw or mouth, and some infectious diseases may also cause lockjaw.

Read Next: How to Get Rid of Cottonmouth: 18 Natural Home Remedies