Is stress behind your TMJ disorder? Tips to ease jaw pain

How to feel better with TMJ Disorder (Image via freepik/pchvector)
How to feel better with TMJ Disorder (Image via Freepik/Pchvector)

If you've been experiencing pain on either side of the head where the jawbone meets the skull, you may be dealing with TMJ disorder. Don't worry, though: you're not alone, and there are ways to find relief.

Let's get to know more about the TMJ disorder, explore its causes and discover some effective treatments to get you back to feeling your best.

What is TMJ disorder?

Jaw pain (Image via Freepik/Cookie_Studio)
Jaw pain (Image via Freepik/Cookie_Studio)

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and it's the crucial point where the jawbone connects with the skull. The joint allows you to chew, talk, yawn, sing and perform various jaw movements.

When you experience pain, tenderness or clicking sounds in this area, you might be dealing with TMJ disorder. Other common symptoms include jaw locking, headaches, pain in the face and difficulty chewing.

This complex joint is equipped to handle a wide range of movements, combining hinge and sliding motions. However, its intricate system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones can face issues like cartilage damage, misalignment of the disc, head trauma or strain from teeth grinding.

What causes TMJ disorder?

Jaw clecnhing can cause TMJ. (Image via Freepik/Stockking)
Jaw clecnhing can cause TMJ. (Image via Freepik/Stockking)

Specialists at times conduct a thorough examination, including physical tests and imaging (X-rays or MRIs) if needed, to determine the cause of jaw pain. In some cases, a physical issue like cartilage damage may be evident, leading to specific treatments.

However, stress can also play a significant role in TMJ disorder. High levels of stress can cause you to unconsciously clench your jaw throughout the day or grind your teeth while sleeping, adding strain and pressure to the jaw.

This continued tension can eventually misalign the jaw and lead to lockjaw, where muscle spasms restrict the opening of the mouth.

Treating stress-induced TMJ disorder

Engage in stress relieving activities. (Image via Freepik/Cookie-Studio)
Engage in stress relieving activities. (Image via Freepik/Cookie-Studio)

If stress is identified as the culprit behind your TMJ diagnosis, there are several ways to control and alleviate the discomfort. Start by becoming aware of habits like jaw clenching or teeth grinding, as being mindful of these actions can help you consciously stop them.

Additionally, try to avoid tough or sticky foods that require excessive chewing. Massaging the jaw and facial area gently can provide relief, too. Your doctor may suggest using a nightguard to prevent teeth grinding during sleep, protecting the jaw from further strain.

Beyond physical treatments, it's crucial to address the root cause of stress in your life. Consider making lifestyle changes to reduce stress levels or seek guidance from a counselor to learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with life's challenges.

Seek expert help for TMJ relief

Seek consultation, if needed. (Image via Freepik)
Seek consultation, if needed. (Image via Freepik)

Seeking help from professionals who specialize in treating TMJ disorders can be essential for effective and personalized treatment. They can tailor a comprehensive plan to address your specific needs and provide the relief you deserve.

Beyond self-help techniques, these professionals can offer valuable insights and treatments to alleviate TMJ discomfort. Don't let the condition disrupt your life anymore. Taking the first step towards finding lasting relief is crucial for your jaw and overall well-being.

Edited by Bhargav