Jaw tension can be a very frustrating experience. We all carry our daily tensions and stresses in various parts of our bodies, yet the sensitive muscles of the jaw seem particularly susceptible to chronic tension and stress.
About Jaw Tension
Many people experience jaw tension, and some may not even be aware of the cause. Jaw pain is especially common among people who work at their desks all day. Controlling stress at work can be a daunting task. Especially if you have one of the top stressful jobs. Fortunately there are some signs you can look for and some things you can do to help relieve the strains and discomfort of jaw pain. As soon as you are aware of the troublesome issue and the cause, you can begin to resolve the tension.
TMJ, temporomandibular joints, is the common acronym associated with jaw tension. Temporomandibular joints are the joints of the jaw; specifically, they connect the skull with the lower jaw, also known as the mandible. These joints are essentially used almost all the time for many common and necessary daily activities such as talking and eating. This is why jaw tension is such a troublesome problem for many people. Inflammation caused from the stress on these joints can cause debilitating stress and discomfort because it is not easy to go without eating or speaking. It´s tough to allow the jaw to heal properly, because the jaw is always in action.
Causes of TMJ and Jaw Tension
There are many individual causes of jaw tension, yet it is most likely caused by a combination of factors. TMJ is usually caused by simple muscle tension. Jaw stress can be caused from tightening the neck, head, jaw, shoulder or face muscles. Jaw pain is not just a physical symptom. In fact, anxiety and psychological stress can contribute to causing jaw tension. Teeth grinding and excessive gum chewing can also cause strain on the jaw. Many people grind their back teeth without even being aware of it, which can build up tension. Physical injuries from activities such as sports injuries can lead to misalignment of the joints in the jaw. This in turn can cause TMJ.
Predisposition to TMJ
Though there are many conditions which can lead to TMJ, some people can actually be predisposed to the disorder. Some people are born with structural abnormalities of the jaw which can cause TMJ. Others suffer from birth defects and other conditions which contribute to jaw strain and TMJ. Anything that affects jaw alignment can cause stress in the jaw. Rheumatoid arthritis and other degenerative diseases can cause TMJ.
TMJ Risk Factors
Though there are many causes of TMJ and jaw tension, there are some commonalities between those who suffer from this condition. Though gender and age are not enormous factors, TMJ does tend to occur most frequently in those between the ages of 20 and 50. Women of childbearing age are particularly susceptible to TMJ disorders. other risk factors include:
- Nail biting
- Sleeping on the side of the mouth
- Stress and anxiety
- Injury to the head
- Injury to the jaw
- Chewing gum
- Eating hard candy
- Dental or medical surgery that overstretches the jaw
Symptoms of Jaw Stress
Jaw pain does not only affect the jaw. It can also affect nearby areas, such as muscles in the neck, face and head. Tension headaches often result from jaw tension. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:
- Joint and muscle discomfort or pain
- Noise when opening or closing the jaw
- Locked jaw
- Inability to open the mouth completely
- Inability to open the mouth without pain
Jaw stress can be very frustrating, especially when working does little to relieve the tension. Since it is nearly impossible to rest the jaw, it is very difficult to allow the stress and muscle tendons to heal. Don't let it get you down. Resting the jaw, not stressing out and relaxing from all the stresses of life will help heal the pain..