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
Stress held in the muscles of your face can affect your ability to speak, eat, chew, swallow, make facial expressions and breathe.Click to tweet
- 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
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
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