Maybe you’ve been trying to find the root cause for your temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), but are coming up short. For many, stress is the culprit. Stress affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, and approximately 77% of people reported that they experienced physical symptoms due to stress. But you’re in luck. Dr. Mayoor Patel has some ways to combat stress to help alleviate your TMD symptoms.

Adopt awareness

If you are feeling stressed, take a moment to notice if you’re carrying tension in your jaw. You might even notice that you are grinding your teeth. If so, it’s important to be able to pinpoint these moments throughout the day. 

The more you can make yourself aware of the situation, the faster you’ll be able to stop yourself from clenching and grinding when you feel anxious. When this happens, loosen your jaw and massage the muscles. Doing this might relieve some of the tension and keep pain at bay.

Get a good night’s rest 

Sleep is extremely important. You should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night in order to feel fully rested the next day. Having trouble sleeping? Make sure that electronic devices, caffeine or afternoon naps aren’t to blame. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature and leave distractions out of the bedroom for a restful sleep.

Eat a healthy diet

Your diet and stress are closely linked, and we often don’t eat healthy when we have an impending deadline or a long workday. It’s sometimes faster just to run to the vending machine for a sugary snack than it is to pack something healthy. 

However, try to plan ahead before you leave for work. Be sure to stock up on fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3s, which have been shown to reduce stress. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the sudden energy zap that often accompanies chowing down on a candy bar.

Exercise regularly 

You’re probably wondering when you could possibly have time to exercise; however, we don’t necessarily mean pumping iron at your local gym. Exercise is anything that gets the blood flowing, which triggers endorphins. Take a quick jaunt around the office or take a quick walk during your lunch break. You wouldn’t believe how just a little bit of movement throughout the day can instantly brighten a stressed mood.

Contact Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on TMD and how you can improve your pain.