Cramps are the worst—especially the cramps under the chin. And worst of all, chin cramps sneak up on people. A simple example would be yawning. You’ll be yawning, and boom! Suddenly, you’ll experience ‘when I yawn, my neck cramps up.’ That is a chin cramp.
Muscle cramp under chin is a common phenomenon. They happen because of painful muscle spasms underneath the chin. The pressure created on those muscles eventually results in low or moderately high pain underneath the chin. The cramps usually go away after some time. But, if it does not then, consult with a healthcare professional.
Chin cramps can occasionally affect the other parts of the body too. The pain can extend to the neck, jaws, or ears. Also, certain medical conditions can often be responsible for chin cramps. Don’t worry too much about those cramps. This article is all about understanding muscle cramps and why it happens.
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What Are Muscle Spasms?
Muscle cramps occur when the involuntary muscles forcibly contract without any control. And you cannot relax them. That contraction results in pain, and it can happen with any muscle. The most common muscle cramp sites are the legs, neck, abdomen, and face.
Muscle cramps under the chin are considered Hemifacial spasms. Like other forms of muscle spasms, hemifacial spasms also occur due to uncontrollable contraction.
Moreover, the muscles connected to the neck, jaw, and chin are numerous. So, spasms in these sites are pretty common. Even the slightest activities like chewing hard or yawning can cause muscle cramp under chin.
The good thing is, muscle cramps go away with a few simple rmedies. But, if the cramps stay for a while, get them checked because certain medical conditions might be associated with these cramps.
What Do Chin Cramps Feel Like?
When you experience a chin cramp, it’s a geniohyoid muscle cramp. It creates a momentary feeling of pain and discomfort. The muscles under chin tighten, and you won’t be able to relax those muscles.
As the muscles tighten suddenly, you will be stuck in an unnatural position for a while. And the worst part is, there is nothing you can do to fix it momentarily. The best thing to do for pulled muscle under chin is to wait and massage the area lightly. Flustering over it or moving too much will only make things worse.
Chin cramps can also feel like an unwanted lump or knot around your jaws. And you know how annoying that feels, right?
To relax from a muscle cramp, lightly massage that area for 10-15 seconds. You will notice how the pain will slowly disappear. The muscles will start to loosen up, and the lump also disappears. It may take a few minutes for the cramp to go away.
Muscles Underneath the Chin
The muscles underneath the chin are primarily responsible for opening the mouth. Our daily activities like talking, eating, and yawning are all possible because of these muscles.
The Mylohyoid, Lateral Pterygoid, and Digastric are the muscles responsible for jaw movements. The Digastric and Mylohyoid muscles are right underneath the chin, so they are the culprits of any muscle cramp under chin.
They extend from the chin to Adam’s apple. No wonder, during muscle cramps, the pain travels from the chin to Adam’s apple. Additionally, the digastric muscle contains two parts, anterior and posterior belly. The anterior belly is the main part that helps in opening the mouth.
What Causes Muscle Cramping Under the Chin?
Chin cramps can be triggered by doing things that are least expected to create awful consequences.
You’ll be talking or eating, and the next thing you know, the muscle under your chin tightens up. You will be unable to relax those muscles and will be left with unimaginable pain. That is a vivid example of what chin cramps feel like.
But why? Why does the muscle under chin cramp up? As we said, certain activities trigger muscle spasms. Here are some of them!
Yawning is something that we all do, and it’s pretty contagious. Have you ever yawned because someone across the room yawned? I bet you did. It’s not coincidental; yawning is contagious.
So, pretty much everyone yawns when they are tired, anxious, or sleepy. But did you ever get a muscle cramp under your chin when yawning? If you have, then you are not the first one.
Most people experience dreadful chin cramps while they’re yawning, and it is the worst feeling ever. It happens because when you yawn, the three muscles underneath your chin work to open and close your mouth. To be more specific, it contracts and raises the tongue quickly.
So, during this time, the muscles can spasm. Big yawns are more prone to jaw cramp when opening mouth. Worst of all, if you ever try stopping a yawn in the middle of a cramp, then you are up for a ride. The pain will annihilate you. So, never try stopping a yawn by forcing your mouth closed.
Talking Too Much
Talking too much or too fast is another reason for muscle cramp under chin. As weird as the reason may sound, it’s true. When you talk too long without any pause, the muscles underneath the chin endure enormous pressure.
That stresses out the muscles and causes them to cramp. Hence, it results in painful contractions. This is bad news for teachers, singers, or a job requiring a lot of talking.
Eating Too Fast
Just like talking too fast, eating too fast is also one of the reasons for chin cramps. Taking large bites of food, eating too quickly, or opening the mouth too wide for the quarter-pounder can cause painful cramps under the chin.
Furthermore, they can also be the reason behind muscle spasms in the jaw and face. Some people experience cramps under the tongue too.
So, be careful while eating. We know how irresistible that burger looks, but don’t go crazy while eating it. It will result in painful cramps.
Tilting Head Forward
Sitting in front of the laptop for hours can automatically make your head tilt forward. Keeping your head tilted forward for too long can not only cause neck pain but also causes chin cramps. After hours of office work, you will experience tension on your neck and shoulder blades. It extends to the muscles of the tongue and chin and causes them to tighten up.
As the muscles underneath the chin tense up, you will experience sharp pain under your chin. The pain will stay for a while and will disappear over time. Moreover, massaging the affected area will help a lot. Besides, these painful cramps can happen if you watch TV, play video games, or work on your laptop for too long.
So, while doing any of these, make sure the monitor or TV is adjusted to your height. And another thing you can do is, sit upright and refrain from staying in an unnatural position for too long. A good posture will save you from a lot of pain.
Who Is More Prone to Chin Cramps?
Certain external factors play a role in muscle cramp under the chin. Like any other muscle, the muscles underneath our chin spasm for a lot of reasons. The primary reason is the inadequate amount of blood supply.
Muscles usually cramp in areas where the blood supply is less. They also cramp when the muscle undergoes a lot of pressure. For example, if you do the heavy lifting, there is an elevated chance of getting muscle cramps.
Besides overexertion during work, people over 65, infants, and young children are more prone to chin cramps. Obesity and terminal illness are also responsible for getting frequent muscle cramps.
Why Do Chin Muscles Tense Up Quickly?
Stress and anxiety can commonly cause tensed muscles underneath the chin. When people are tense, they unknowingly grind their teeth or clench their jaws. It is sort of like a reflex action against stress.
So, when they do it, it puts a lot of pressure on the muscles. Hence, the muscles tighten up and inflict pain.
Besides stress and anxiety, the jaw muscles can also tense up by yawning, talking too fast, or eating too quickly. So, keep an eye out while doing any of these so you don’t end up hurting yourself.
Muscle cramp under chin is very common and nothing to be worried about. They are usually harmless and go away within a few minutes. But chin cramps are excruciating. Even if they go away after a moment, the pain is almost unbearable.
Generally, they do not pose any long-term side effects. But if you are frequently experiencing chin cramps, then it is better to get yourself checked. And we have already listed the factors that affect muscle cramps. So, be aware of them. Even a simple yawn can inflict excruciating pain on you.
What causes muscle cramping under the chin?
Activities like yawning, eating too fast, speaking too long, or taking a big bite can cause muscle cramps. If you do a lot of weight lifting and heavy exercise, they also enhance the chances of getting a muscle cramp under chin.
Can you get a cramp from yawning?
Yes, you can. In fact, yawning is the most prominent reason behind frequent muscle cramps under the chin, followed by quick eating and exercise.
Can you pull muscle under your chin?
Intentionally, you can’t pull muscle under your chin. But if you try to stop yawning forcefully, there is a good chance that you will pull the muscle.
What muscle is under your chin?
You will find the following muscles under your chin:
- Lateral Pterygoid, and