Treatment for Stress-Induced Jaw Pain
Jaw pain can be a source of discomfort to any person. One of the many factors that always cause this pain is stress. Stress is always brought about by how people engage in strenuous activities like carrying heavy weights, doing heavy work or exercises. Stress leads to teeth clenching frequently thus creating a lot of pressure within the jaw. As the pressure builds up with time, it can result in poor control of jaw muscles.
If this problem is not resolved on time, the brain loses its ability to remember the normal and usual movement of the jaw. The jaw pain can affect the ability to eat or even speak well.
Below are the possible causes of stress-induced jaw pain
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular joints, TMD are joints at the hinge joints on every side of the jaw. When a person applies too much stress on this muscle, it transfers the pressure to the hinge joints which develop pain and tenderness near the jaw.
Continuous chewing of food increases pain and results in clicking sounds and a grinding sensation within this area.
Stress causes people to clench their jaws or grind their teeth when sleeping (a condition known as bruxism) which causes the muscles around the jaw to tighten.
- Cluster Headaches and Sinuses
Cluster headaches cause pain near or behind the eyes, but the pain can go through to the jaws as well. Sinuses are located close to the jaws and if they become infected with a virus or bacteria, it can lead to excess mucus which pressures the joints thus causing pain.
When faced with stress-induced jaw pain, Vita Dental Spring recommend that patients should adopt the following methods or ways of treating the problem
Use of Moist Heat or Ice Packs
Wrap ice in a plastic bag then put on your face for around 10 minutes. You can also run warm water over a cloth and apply it in your area of pain. The moist heat or the ice relaxes the jaw muscles hence relieving the pain. Alternatively, buy heat or ice packs to help in the relaxation of the muscles.
Massage the Affected Jaw Areas
Another form of treatment is massaging the painful jaw area. Massaging increases blood flow around the jaw hence reducing muscle tightness. This can be achieved by the rubbing of the muscles gently next to your ears where the temporomandibular joints are situated. Do this several times for a maximum effect.
When the jaws are tight, consider wearing mouthguards. These guards help to reduce pain especially if the jaw pain is due to clenching and grinding of teeth.
Avoid Chewy Foods
When experiencing the pain, avoid chewy food as it may worsen the condition. Chewy or crunchy food place too much strain on your jaws leading to more pain and discomfort. When chewing food, its best to avoid chewing from one side of the jaw. Continuous chewing on the same side of the jaw exerts more force and pressure on that particular side thereby causing pain.
Use of Muscle Relaxers
Muscle relaxers are used mostly when the mouth guards fail to work. The relaxers help in contracting the jaw muscles. Wearing the relaxers over time helps to reduce the pain.
Using Botox injections is a more extensive way of treating stress-induced jaw pain. Botox contains botulinum toxin which when injected into the jaw muscles, it prevents the muscles from clenching thereby relieving the pain. The injections last for the month after which re-injection is required again. Botulinum may affect the other adjacent muscles. To prevent botulinum from spreading, a patient is advised to avoid rubbing or massaging the injected areas hours after the injection.
When the pain does not heal with time, a doctor can recommend undergoing jaw surgery. Jaw surgery involves removing the affected area of the jaw and sometimes replacing it with fillings. This is, however, a more advanced and costly process of dealing with the condition.
Diathermy Laser Treatment
Diathermy laser treatment is another medical way of treating the pains. The method involves using a high-frequency current that stimulates the generation of heat within the body tissues. The heat helps in improving the mobility of tissues and muscles that have contracted. This ultimately helps to relieve the pain.
The heat also increases the flow of blood thereby flexing the muscles tissues in the jaws.
With all these treatment options at our disposal, prevention is sometimes better than cure. People can exercise and observe the below tips to minimize or reduce the risk of stress-induced jaw pains.
Visiting A Doctor
Always visit your dentist to have your jaws and teeth checked up. The checkups can help in identifying other problems that may lead to jaw pains. It also enables the dentist to begin treatment before it gets out of hand. At Vita Dental Spring we offer medication for stress-induced jaw pain. Book an appointment and have your jaws feeling strong and healthy again.