Jaw and neck pain can be irritating and can affect your daily life. These joints connect together, so if your jaw muscles are tight, they can cause pain in your neck, literally.
The muscular TMJ (temporomandibular joint) may be the culprit of this pain. More than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders, which affects the ligaments and joints that connect your jaw to your skull. These muscles and ligaments also connect to your neck for stability.
Other causes of this pain include stress, teeth grinding, tetanus, misalignment, and arthritis. Whatever the reason, you do not need to suffer from this pain.
Looking for some relief from your jaw and neck pain? Check out these simple ways for some jaw pain relief.
Giving your self a double chin is an exercise called the chin tuck. It decreases tension on the neck and in the jaw. It will open up space in the neck where some of your pretty vital nerves are, which can also relieve headaches in addition to neck pain.
Move your chin straight back. You should keep your head level, so avoid looking down or up. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
You can do these anytime during the day—at your desk, watching tv, or even in the shower.
Massages feel good and relax muscles. It also calms your nervous system by producing hormones that make you happy. What’s not to love about massage therapy?
You can do some self-massage throughout the day when you can’t visit a masseuse. Try firm, gentle circular motions around your jaw’s sensitive areas. Press a little deeper, and move right below the cheekbone.
You can also warm up a washcloth with hot water. Put the washcloth on the sides of your face before bed. This may also help relax those muscles for jaw pain relief.
One in four Americans sits for more than eight hours a day. This means we spend a lot of our day sitting, which is not healthy for our bodies and can cause pain. When sitting for long periods of time, you may get a slumped posture with rounded shoulders.
As you try to move closer to see the computer, this posture strains the muscles under the jaw and on the front of the neck. You may even clench the muscles in your jaw without realizing it. When these muscles don’t relax, they can get angry—and angry muscles hurt.
It is hard to reverse bad posture. But, getting up and moving around often can help give your muscles breaks from this unhealthy positions.
You can also move your computer monitor so it is eye level. It will make it easier to see and you won’t have to strain your neck. You should also prop your phone or tablet at a 45-degree angle instead of laying flat in your hands or lap.
In addition to the chin tuck, there are many other exercises that can help your jaw and neck. You may need to do some trial and error to see what exercises work best for you.
If you experience any intense pain, stop and contact a doctor.
Try opening your jaw as wide as you can. Keep your tongue at the roof of your mouth to avoid straining your muscles.
Cradle the back of your head and press back into your hands. This will help strengthen your neck and shoulders. You can also press the side of your head into your hands like you are trying to touch your ear to the shoulder but stopping yourself.
Rotate your head slowly to each side. Hold it for a moment when you can’t turn any further. Repeat and try to increase your range of motion each time. Make sure you take deep breaths and keep your jaw relaxed.
Stress can cause teeth grinding, which can cause jaw and neck pain. You need to find other ways to deal with this stress. Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world.
Learning how to relax can help with relieving jaw pain. Try taking yoga classes, regular massages, or meditation practices to help decrease stress. You need to allow your body to relax.
Throughout the day, take a few deep breaths. This will help stimulate relaxation. Stress causes you to breathe more shallow, which can also create more stress, so take a moment to slow down, take deep breaths, and relax to relieve stress.
If your jaw is bothering you, watch what you eat for about a week. Avoid chewy, hard, or crunchy food to give your jaw a break. It will let those muscles rest because you don’t want to overwork muscles that are already inflamed and angry.
Also, take smaller bites so you don’t have to stretch your mouth open too wide. You guessed it—chewing gum is not a good idea when your jaw hurts, you have a stiff neck, or experiencing headaches.
Start with these six tips to get relief from your jaw and neck pain. However, if you don’t get much relief, you may want to get more help. Physical therapy and massage techniques can help relieve tension and pain.
Because of the close relationship between the neck and jaw, you may want some relief from massage and trigger point release. Our office will work with you to find the techniques that give you the most relief.