Do you suffer from the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)? The temporomandibular joint is where your jaw and skull meet. If you experience any discomfort or pain in that particular joint which means the disorder has occurred. Knowingly or unknowingly you might be making this pain worse. This is because of the habits that are causing discomfort and frequent pain in your joints. These habits include chewing hard foods, clenching your jaw at night, biting your nails, and many other harmful habits. These are called para functions.
It is important to get rid of these habits soon and prevent any kind of damage. If the pain is severe then you can seek a TMJ treatment from a professional, but before going to them try to break your bad habits. The bad habits that are common among people and harmful to joints are below. Read and find the solution if you can relate to any of them
- Biting your nails
Biting your nails is an unconscious habit that many people are unaware of while doing it. This puts pressure on the jaw and works in a way it is not supposed to. It makes grinding and clenching movements wear on temporomandibular joints, To prevent biting, trim your nails regularly or apply nail paint. You can also ask your colleagues, friends, or family members to point out when you start biting it unconsciously.
- Sleeping on stomach
Sleeping on your stomach adds extra pressure to your jaw. Sleep on your back to prevent worsening the symptoms of TMJ. Make sure that your head, back, and neck are properly aligned when you are sleeping, this won’t affect your posture.
- Clenching your teeth
Clenching of teeth occurs unconsciously while you sleep, maybe due to stress, but it can also appear when you are awake. Teeth clenching can place incredible stress on your jaw muscles and also might cause pain in the teeth. Bruxism is the precise medical term for this problem. It can place stress on your jaw joints and lead to severe TMJ pain. In such cases, you should consult your dentist quickly and take the prescribed mouthguard to protect yourself from excessive clenching while sleeping. Apart from this, consider taking some stress-relieving remedies like meditation, yoga, listening to music, dancing, or reading. This will prevent further damage to your oral health.
- Using your teeth as a tool
Your teeth have been gifted to you to chew soft and solid foods, enhance your smile and maintain them well. If you use it for opening packages, plastic bottles, or glass bottles you are damaging your teeth. The force of these tasks puts stress on the jaw muscles and aggravates TMJ pain. Find a possible alternative at that time, but do not discomfort your teeth.
- Eating hard or chewy foods
Avoid chewing hard foods whenever you are experiencing TMJ pain. Hard foods like bagels, apples, carrots, and caramels put a lot of stress and do not give sufficient rest to your jaw because of which it doesn’t heal properly.
- Slouching/Poor Posture
The function of your jaw is closely related to your posture. Your jaw functions best when your head is above your cervical spine and your posture is upright. If you slouch, the entire functioning of your jaw muscles changes when you open and close them which can also result in TMJ headache. If you consult a physical therapist, he may assist you to change your posture by strengthening your back and shoulder muscles. If you perform a slouch-overcorrect exercise, it will help you improve your posture. Sitting and standing properly and avoiding slouching can keep your jaw safe.
- Don’t procrastinate for treatment
A jaw pain treatment should be taken on time and not be delayed. Many people with musculoskeletal problems wait until the pain gets severe. If you are having any problems with your jaw, immediately consult your nearest dentist or TMJ specialist and get your problem diagnosed. In many cases, TMJ is non-progressive and has a good recovery rate.
These are some of the habits you need to get rid of to prevent TMJ pain from expanding. You might find it hard initially, but to overcome this apply the popular 21-day habit approach, and then controlling all of these will become a habit.