Jaw Problems: Managing StressSkip to the navigation
There is a strong relationship between stress, muscle tension, and temporomandibular disorders (TMDs).
An overstressed mind can lead to an overstressed body. Excessive tension in your jaw muscles can force your jaw joint to move in an unnatural manner. Over time, you may damage the disc that cushions the TM joint, or you may wear down some of your teeth, forcing your jaw into an unnatural position.
Learn to recognize when stress is affecting your life, and find ways to relieve it.
- Exercise is an excellent way for your body to process stress in a healthy way.
- Relaxation skills and activities can make a big difference in how stress affects your body and mind.
Emotional stress can be the result of:
- Sudden changes in your life, such as the loss of a loved one. Stress can also accompany positive changes, such as starting a new job.
- Problems at home or at work.
- Worrying about your performance at work, at school, or in an athletic event.
- Anxiety or depression.
Try cognitive-behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be a helpful part of treatment, because TMDs have a strong connection to stress.
Cognitive-behavioral counseling helps you understand and solve problems in life that may be causing stress. Some people find the cognitive-behavioral approach especially helpful for changing negative attitudes and coping skills.
Manage chronic pain
In some cases, TMDs can be extremely painful and disabling and last a long time. Such chronic pain can affect a person's overall quality of life by increasing stress, making it hard to do a job, and interfering with personal life.
If you have symptoms of depression, seek treatment. Treatment can help you feel better.
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014