TMJ disorder can suddenly flare up in people who never experienced symptoms before, especially during stressful times. Unfortunately, stress is one of the main causes of TMJ pain. At Smile Columbia Dentistry, we can diagnose and treat your TMJ symptoms so you can live pain-free.

stressed out man holding hands up to his head and closes his eyes tight

Symptoms of TMJ

It’s normal to feel stressed out. We’re uncertain about our future and don’t know how long until we can see our loved ones in-person is again. If you’re feeling stressed out and experiencing any of the following symptoms, TMJ is likely the cause.

TMJ and Its Relationship with Stress

Bruxism, or the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, is a common condition that affects many people to some degree. However, during times of stress, this habit can become much more severe and frequent, leading to additional pressure on the jaw joints and an increased risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

If you’re currently experiencing a TMJ flare-up for the first time, it’s highly likely that you already had an existing bruxism habit that was exacerbated by stress. When stress levels are high, people may unconsciously clench their jaw or grind their teeth more often, leading to muscle fatigue, tension headaches, and TMJ pain.

Stress Relief Tips for TMJ Pain Relief

Managing stress through various techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, and therapy can help reduce the frequency and severity of bruxism, and ultimately prevent TMJ flare-ups. Additionally, dental professionals may recommend wearing a mouthguard or making lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol to help manage the symptoms of bruxism and TMJ. Relieving stress can help you sleep without grinding your teeth so aggressively which can then help you release pressure on the jaw joints and relieve pain as a result.

Here are some suggestions to take care of your mental health:

  • Engage in daily outdoor walks
  • Incorporate yoga or meditation into your daily routine
  • Limit exposure to news and media
  • Soak in a hot bath
  • Spend time pursuing your hobbies
  • Incorporate home workouts into your routine
  • Read a good book
  • Spend time with your housemates
  • Practice deep breathing exercises
  • Write in a journal
  • Cook a healthy meal or try a new recipe
  • Listen to calming music or a podcast
  • Practice gratitude by writing down things you’re thankful for
  • Take a break from social media
  • Get plenty of restful sleep
  • Seek support from a mental health professional if needed

De-stressing is crucial for maintaining both our mental and physical well-being. Stress can lead to a wide range of negative effects on our body, such as headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems, and even a weakened immune system. Long-term stress can also contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease and depression.

In addition to its physical effects, stress can also significantly impact our mental health. It can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and burnout, making it difficult to enjoy daily life and complete everyday tasks.

By taking steps to de-stress, we can reduce our risk of these negative effects and improve our overall quality of life. Engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones can help us manage stress levels and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Managing TMJ Related Stress in Columbia, SC

We empathize with the stress you’re experiencing. If your TMJ symptoms become unbearable, reach out to Dr. Adam Hahn for advice or an immediate appointment. We’ll offer a solution to alleviate your pain until we can diagnose and treat your TMJ properly. Even if the stress relief tips are helpful, it’s important to visit us for TMJ treatment to avoid future pain during stressful times. To schedule an appointment, please call (803) 781-9090.