TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder is a common condition that causes pain in the jaw joint known as TMJ pain.
Around 10 million people suffer from TMJ-related disorders in the United States. That’s a lot of people!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor. All opinions are my own.
TMJ symptoms include general jaw pain, frequent headaches, chronic neck pain, and other chronic pain. The most common causes of TMJ include stress, poor posture, dental problems, unbalanced hormone levels, and more.
I suffer from TMJ flare-ups myself and I know they are anything but fun! I’ve noticed over time that my TMJ problems flare up in times of stress in daily life and also during hormonal changes after having my fourth baby.
Everyone’s TMJ is different and can have different factors. The good news is there are ways to combat stress and TMJ flare ups naturally so you can have a better quality of life!
Can Stress Cause TMJ Flare Up?
Stress can play a significant role in the cause of TMJ. Although there are many factors to TMJ dysfunction, stress seems to be one of the main causes of TMJ. This is because during stressful times in life we tend to hold tension in our jaw. When stress levels rise we tend to start jaw clenching and grinding our teeth.
For me, these TMJ triggers from stress can often be subconscious. I don’t realize I am clenching or grinding until it is too late and I find myself in a full-blown flareup!
Can you relate?
Stress is unfortunately a part of daily life for most people but there are ways to lower stress and be more self-aware. Being self-aware allows you to avoid situations where you know you will be stressed and will lead to TMJ issues down the line.
Managing your stress will also cut down on the length of time of the flare-up. Flareups tend to last longer than we continue to stay in a state of stress.
Instead when you feel your jaw tensing start destressing right away!
How to Reduce Stress
Focusing on stress reduction is one of the best ways you can deal with the painful symptoms of TMJ. You can start implementing these self-care practices today to help reduce your stress:
1) Spend Time in Nature
Nature has a profound effect on humans and can help release tension as well as improve your mental and physical well-being!
Nature can help you feel more grounded. You can also try grounding which is when you touch your bare feet to the earth. This is said to help with inflammation in the body including muscle tension.
Anytime I am feeling tension in my jaw, I head outside and try to just soak in the nature around me. I always feel less stressed after!
2) Quiet Your Mind
People who practice any type of faith, prayer, or meditation are said to be calmer and have less stress.
Spending a few minutes in prayer and meditation every day being still and calm to focus on what’s important to you will decrease your stress and help you relax your facial muscles.
3) Move Your Body
Working out is by far my favorite activity for stress relief. Using physical activity to get your heart rate up is an excellent way to combat stress and get healthier in the process!
Moving your body daily helps improve circulation and cut down inflammation and stress.
Natural Treatments for Jaw Pain
Before you reach for the pain medication, try these simples natural remedies for jaw pain:
1) Night Guard
Night guards provide a physical barrier between your upper jaw and lower jaw so you can’t clench them together which makes them a great TMJ treatment.
There are many great options online or you can see a dentist and get a mouth guard that is custom fit for your mouth. I used this brand for a long time and found that when I wore it my jaw pain was much less when I woke up in the morning!
2) Soft Diet
Chewing hard foods or chewy foods overextends your jaw muscles and irritates TMJ dysfunction. Therefore, you should avoid sticky foods like peanut butter and hard foods like hard candy if you experience jaw muscle pain.
Try implementing soft foods into your diet and avoid extreme jaw movement associated with chewing.
3) Get a New Pillow
If you suffer from sleep-related issues like jaw clenching or sleep bruxism getting a better pillow is super important.
Switching to a pillow with an ergonomic design will help relieve pain in your jaw due to grinding or clenching at night.
4) Mouth Tape
Every time I tell people about mouth-taping I feel like a crazy person but I promise it works!
All you have to do is take a piece of regular medical tape or special mouth tape and tape your mouth shut before you go to sleep. This will limit the range of motion in your jaw at night.
You won’t be able to move your jaw as much and won’t be able to clench which can cause pain.
Mouth taping is also great for your overall health because it makes you breathe through your nose which boosts your immune system and reduces the risk of cavities.
5) Epsom Salts Bath
You can use Epsom salts to relieve pain by adding them to your bath or soaking your feet in water with Epsom salts.
This special salt is high in magnesium which helps to soothe the muscles and calm the body. This home remedy will help with the overall inflammation in your body and will help with your jaw pain.
For more home remedies for jaw pain keep reading here: 13 Home Remedies for Jaw Pain Everyone Should Know
Although stress is often inevitable there are ways to lower stress and easy ways to deal with temporomandibular disorder naturally. My hope is that you feel empowered to find the best way to manage your stress and lower your pain!
Using these conservative treatments will help reduce TMJ symptoms but always remember to see a healthcare provider if you are in severe pain for a proper diagnosis. They will be able to find the underlying cause of your TMJ issues and give you a personalized treatment plan for the proper care for pain relief.
Be well friend! 🙂
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