You don’t notice it when you’re driving to work or sitting on the train. You don’t notice it when you’re making dinner or shopping for the ingredients of that dinner. You don’t notice it when you’re watching a movie or browsing your e-mail.
But you do notice it when you start to sing along to your favourite tunes on the radio or talk to your co-worker next to you. You notice it when you take the first bite into that crunchy chicken or when you say ‘hello’ to the cashier at the store. And you notice it when you let out a roaring laugh at your movie or even a slight chuckle for the subject title on your e-mail.
Why does my jaw hurt?
Why is my face in pain?
My head hurts so much.
What is this pain in my neck? Throat? Ears? Nose? Gums?
Maybe I’ll have a drink to take the pain away.
Congratulations, you’re waking up to a hangover tomorrow. And now your head hurts for two different reasons. Ouch, I wouldn’t want to go through that. Then you think:
I should fix my TMJ syndrome. Wonderful idea!
TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) Syndrome is the pain you feel originating in the joint that connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone). This pain spreads to the muscles around that joint. This is why you feel pain in areas such as your face, neck, and gums.
Here is a picture of Peter’s TMJ. If you haven’t met Peter yet, he’s our trusty anatomy assistant who helps Hidden Forest yogis understand more about anatomy (if they want to).
The cause of TMJ pain is limitless: a past injury, arthritis, genetics, teeth grinding, gum chewing, poor posture, stress, etc.…
The pain can be mild to severe and treatments are endless. Don’t you love picking up a bottle of anti-inflammatory drugs and reading through the long list of side-effects?
Me neither. That’s why we put together 5 techniques in this article on how to fight your pain
WITHOUT AN OPERATION
WOW, IT SOUNDS SO EASY.
I know you’re a smart person if you’re looking to fix this. But it will only work if you put time and effort into healing yourself.
Before we get into it, let’s explain why these methods work:
TMJ Syndrome causes the pain to be so uncomfortable because the muscles around this joint are in constant strain. To fix this pain, we have to target the muscles, not the joint. But when muscles are always contracted, it is difficult to get them to relax even when you want them to relax.
In order to persuade our muscles that relaxation is good, we need to take them to the gym (no not the actual gym) and work them out until they’re SO EXHAUSTED that they’ll have to relax. The more you take your muscles to the gym, the easier it will be for them to realize that being under constant strain is ridiculous. Being under constant strain achieves nothing!
So let’s try it out:
Pucker your lips, inhaling air through the very little hole that you’ve made with them.
Exhale air out, bringing lips inside of the mouth between the rows of the teeth. Bite your lips with your teeth. Repeat 10-12 times and gently brush your face with your finger tips to release the tension.
Bring your lips up towards the tip of your nose during inhalation. Draw a full circle with the puckered lips during the exhalation. Repeat 10 circles clockwise and 10 circles counter clockwise.
During exhalation stick your tongue out of your mouth to reach your chin with the tip of the tongue. Send your gaze upward to look at the point between your eyebrows. Relax during inhalation.
Gently pat your face with outstretched palms for 1-2 minutes.
Remember, regularity is the key.
So make sure to do this once a day. Pick your favourite exercise or switch it up. Practice every day until you no longer feel the pain. Even when you feel like the pain is gone, keep practicing so that you can be sure that it won’t come back to stress you out!
Quick tip: Maybe you don’t want to do this in the office.