Did you know that 1 in 10 Australians deal with jaw-locking and jaw-clicking (TMJ) issues?
This is largely due to stress, which can have a huge impact on TMJ pain. The jaw is a common area for the body to hold stress, which is why having pain in this area as a result of stress is so common.
So, how do we address this pain? It may come as an additional surprise that massage, mindfulness, and relaxation can see some impressive results when it comes to addressing TMJ pain. Read on to learn more about the ways these practices can help you get back to living pain-free if you are dealing with TMJ pain.
What is TMJ?
First, let’s gain a firm understanding of conditions that cause jaw pain, to understand what’s happening in the body.
TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint” which is a joint that connects the jaw bone to the skull. It acts similarly to a sliding hinge, moving alongside the jaw muscles when you open and close the mouth.
Those dealing with TMJ pain are experiencing pain in the jaw joint and/or overall jaw area. This pain can radiate to the cheeks and temples and can lead to additional TMJ symptoms like teeth clenching and jaw clenching, as well as headaches, overall pain with jaw movement (chewing, biting, talking, etc.), facial pain, odd sensations in the ear, and neck pain/neck stiffness.
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ pain can be caused by a number of different issues, including teeth clenching/grinding, trauma to the face, orthodontic/oral health issues, arthritis in the joint, dislocation of the jaw, and in many cases, stress.
Those with TMJ often develop this condition as a byproduct of stress, which can lead to excessive jaw clenching and jaw tension, both consciously and unconsciously. When left untreated, a small TMJ problem can worsen, going from jaw tension to severe pain.
5 Tips for Relieving TMJ Symptoms
If you’re looking for quick fixes to reduce jaw pain or facial muscle pain, you can try the following during TMJ treatment:
- TUTALC – Hold the tongue up, teeth apart, and lips closed, for the optimum relaxed jaw position
- Avoid clicking the jaw or pushing into the pain
- Do not rest your chin on your hand when at a desk/table
- Avoid clenching teeth together to reduce joint pain
- If your jaw is locked, try a liquid diet.
Easing Tension with Massage, Mindfulness, and Relaxation
When exploring treatment options for severe TMJ pain relief or tension, you may be tempted to hop right into different jaw exercises, surgery, or other medical procedures. However, we recommend easing into it with massage, mindfulness, and relaxation, as they have a number of benefits for TMJ.
The mind and body share an amazing connection. If stress in the mind can manifest in physical pain in the body, then it would make sense that practices that relax the mind could work to reduce the resulting pain! Practices that reduce stress on the muscles, whether physically through massage or mentally through mindfulness, can do wonders to ease TMJ pain. With time, they can do a lot to help you live pain-free.
Getting Treatment with Sydney Pelvic Clinic
If you want help to start a journey to pain-free living with massage, mindfulness, and relaxation, we’re here to help.
Sydney Pelvic Clinic offers a number of yoga-based classes and workshops that can help you learn how to approach breathing exercises and mindfulness practices that reduce muscle tension. We also have a team of dedicated physiotherapists who can assist you with other treatment options, to get you pain-free!