Sore Jaw? TMJ clicking or popping?
Balance your bowling ball.
Are you stressed out hunching over your computer laptop, maybe clenching your teeth, trying to meet a deadline and your jaw is hurting or popping? Consider this: your head has roughly the same weight as a bowling ball.
Hunching is not a good look and in the long run it takes its toll. As your mother once said… ”Sit up straight.” If your head is not on straight (pun intended), the muscles have to work extra hard. That includes your jaw muscles, not just your neck and back.
It is easier to clench when you are hunched over, which damages your teeth, causes teeth to shift, and contributes to more muscle soreness, which means more dental and orthodontic care. If you sit up straight gravity works with you, your muscles will naturally begin to lengthen. It is easier to correct when you are younger.
If you have been hunching for a long time it will take time to lengthen and strengthen the muscles. Many times the clicking and popping is due to jaw muscles not working evenly. You may need someone like a physical therapist, chiropractor, or exercise trainer to help.
There should be about a quarter inch space between your teeth at all times. In dentistry, this is called the “freeway space.” Doing this creates space in the jaw joint and allows the blood to flow. Take a one minute break and practice sitting up straight for the sake of your body. For exercises to help your TMJ see our videos on YouTube.
People practice yoga to strengthen their body in order to meditate for long periods of time. I bet you are hunched over that computer for longer than an hour yoga class.
To be even more effective, relaxed yet focused, and improve your creativity and productivity, consider taking a more mind body approach to your break. You can start to help yourself by following a few simple steps:
focus on a single point like the end of your nose
relax your head
relax your eyes, soft focus
relax your cheeks
relax your jaw so there is space between your teeth
put your tongue on the roof of your mouth
breathe naturally through your nose
This is called a micro concentration. It has other health benefits besides helping your jaw that can help you live longer. It is much more effective than trying to “clear your thoughts.”
Of people that see the dentist for jaw problems, about 80% have to do with muscles. About twenty percent have more serious problems that should be evaluated by a professional. The list of things that could cause jaw pain is over a thousand, including heart attack and cancer, so listen to your body and get help if you continue to have clicking, popping, or pain.
Dr Maruko has suffered from TMD herself and gained insight from sources that range the gamut of health care. She is a firm believer of the mind body connection. This information is a place to start and should not be viewed as a substitute for professional advice. Any health care concerns should be addressed with a professional.