3 doctors weighed in:

Why is tetanus sometimes called lockjaw?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Jaw muscle spasms

The germ of tetnus produces a chemical toxin called tetanospasmin.
Normal muscle action is maintained by a balance of chemicals that signal a contraction & release. This toxin takes over the message center, locking a muscle group in the contraction mode & preventing "relaxing" messages from getting thru. Occasionally localized, most often bodywide, it locks up the jaws like it does other muscles.

In brief: Jaw muscle spasms

The germ of tetnus produces a chemical toxin called tetanospasmin.
Normal muscle action is maintained by a balance of chemicals that signal a contraction & release. This toxin takes over the message center, locking a muscle group in the contraction mode & preventing "relaxing" messages from getting thru. Occasionally localized, most often bodywide, it locks up the jaws like it does other muscles.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
Thank
Dr. Majid Jamali
Surgery - Oral & Maxillofacial

In brief: Tetanus

Because it causes severe hyper activation of your masetter muscle and therefore can not open mouth.

In brief: Tetanus

Because it causes severe hyper activation of your masetter muscle and therefore can not open mouth.
Dr. Majid Jamali
Dr. Majid Jamali
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Peter Kurzweil
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
47 years in practice
16M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors