Ouch! How To Relieve Jaw Pain Caused By Stress

TMJ AwarenessIs stress making your jaw ache? 
Has the dentist recommended you sleep with a mouth guard to stop you from grinding your teeth down to little nubs? 

When we get stressed, the muscles in the face create an abnormal pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) causing the pain many people suffer from.  At first many of us ignore jaw pain and tension as just an insignificant problem, but it often grows more serious and takes a toll on our health.  Not only is this jaw pain a reaction to external stress, but then as this pain becomes worse as we tighten and clench even further, it can become its own source of stress.

For some of us, we may develop a condition called bruxism, in which a person grinds or clenches their teeth. This can occur while sleeping or during the day. Over time, this grinding can lead to pain, limited range of motion, a wearing down of the teeth and tooth sensitivity.  In the end, we may need to wear a mouth guard to help prevent grinding and clenching. Chiropractic adjustments have also had success with this neck and jaw pain.

TMJ Symptoms To Watch For

  • Muscle pain around the jaw
  • Clicking or popping noises when you move your mouth or chew
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth due to tightness of the jaw
  • Pain in front part of the ear that spreads to the cheeks, ear and temple
  • Recurring headache or migraine
  • Buzzing or blocked sensation in the ear
  • Disturbed sleep, pain in the neck and back

 

Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resilience and Celebrating TMJ Awareness Month:
 
Stress impacts each of us. From the workshops that I conduct, I know that jaw pain and teeth grinding are common symptoms of stress. 
It is important to find ways to combat this problem.  Try:

 

  • Jaw Exercises: Slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility and healing.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies jaw pain. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and modulates pain sensations. Some have found yoga, massage and meditation helpful in reducing stress and aiding relaxation.
  • Side Sleeping: Sleep on your side using pillow support between shoulder and neck.
  • Relax Facial Muscles: Make a concerted effort to relax your lips and keep your teeth apart.
  • Yawning: Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent damage to the joint and to prevent your jaw from locking open.
  • Avoid nail biting, chewing gum and eating hard candy
And as always, address the source(s) of stress in your life.  Find ways to remove, simplify, modify or problem solve the issues that are causing you to clench those jaw muscles.  If the pain continues, see a chiropractor, massage therapist, dentist or your doctor to see if they have any additional strategies.
 

 

If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!

 

Do you need someone to work with your organization on developing a resilient culture? If so, Beverly Can Provide This Training. Please feel free to call and discuss the details at: 705-786-0437

 

Additional Postings:

Foot Health Month

Barefoot Week

Correct Posture Month

Deep Breathing

National Massage Therapy Week

National Relaxation Day – August 15

Stress Busters – 5 Quick Tips To Regain Your Rhythm

National Senior Health And Fitness Day

National Health and Fitness Month – May

 

 

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Written by Beverly Beuermann-King

Building Resiliency Through Stress and Wellness Strategies.
Stress and resiliency strategist, Beverly Beuermann-King, CSP, translates current research and best practices information into a realistic, accessible and more practical approach through her dynamic stress and wellness workshops, on-line stress and resiliency articles, books, e-briefs and media interviews.

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