TMJ disorder refers to issues involving the temporomandibular joint that connects your jawbone to your skull, as well as the nerves and muscles that work with this joint. TMJ causes a wide variety of uncomfortable symptoms, from jaw pain to tension headaches to ringing in the ears. There are many methods of treating TMJ or at least making its symptoms more manageable. At the same time, there are also different ways you can make your TMJ symptoms worse. The following habits can exacerbate TMJ symptoms.
Chewing gum involves placing continuous, repetitive pressure on your jaw muscles. Overexerting your jaw muscles by habitually chewing gum for extended periods of time can irritate the muscles and nerves in your jaw, leading to TMJ. If you already have TMJ, chewing gum can make your symptoms worse, so we recommend finding a replacement for chewing gum that does not strain your jaw.
Having Poor Posture
Having good posture is about more than just lengthening your spine and appearing confident. Neglecting your posture can lead to all kinds of aches and pains, including jaw pain. Poor posture usually involves pushing your head too far forward, which throws your neck out of alignment, strains the muscles in your neck and jaw, and can worsen TMJ symptoms. Poor posture can even cause the condyles of your jaw to retreat into their sockets, which also leads to pain and irritation.
Grinding Your Teeth
Many people develop TMJ disorder as a result of grinding their teeth. Grinding or clenching your teeth exerts a lot of pressure on your jaw and irritates the muscles, tendons, and nerves around the temporomandibular joint. It can be difficult to stop grinding your teeth as many people do it subconsciously, either while asleep or as a stress response. If you grind your teeth at night, we can help protect your teeth and jaw by fitting you for a custom mouth guard. We can also talk to you about healthy ways to manage stress if this is the reason behind your teeth grinding and TMJ. Call our office to learn more.