If you’ve ever experienced jaw pain, you know how uncomfortable it can be. But you may not realize that this pain can majorly impact your fitness goals if left untreated. Read on to learn more about why jaw pain can be disruptive and what you can do about it.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
It might surprise you to learn that jaw pain is often caused by something other than an injury or infection. One of the most common causes of jaw pain is bruxism, or teeth grinding. This condition occurs when someone grinds their teeth together while they sleep, usually due to stress or anxiety. Although it may seem minor, bruxism can cause serious damage to the mouth if left unchecked. It’s important to identify the cause of your jaw pain so that you can take the necessary steps to address it.
Another reason for jaw pain is TMJ disorder or temporomandibular joint syndrome. This condition occurs when the joint connecting your lower jaw to your skull becomes inflamed, resulting in pain and stiffness. Other causes of jaw pain include injury, arthritis, stress, and even an unbalanced bite. Females are more likely to suffer from TMJ disorder than males. However, it does not mean that one gender is more susceptible than the other. Men are still capable of suffering from this condition, which may disrupt their everyday activities such as work and even working out.
How Does Jaw Pain Impact Your Fitness?
If left untreated, jaw pain can cause major disruptions in your fitness routine. You may avoid certain exercises or activities involving the lower jaw, such as yoga poses or weightlifting. This can put a major damper on your progress and even lead to other physical issues if you’re not careful. It may also affect your motivation to get up and exercise if you’re constantly in pain.
Jaw pain can be incredibly disruptive to your daily routine, especially if you’re trying to reach a particular fitness goal. Jaw pain has been known to cause:
- Neck and shoulder discomfort
- Difficulty chewing
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
- Facial pain
- Limited range of motion in the jaw
Jaw pain isn’t just annoying—it also has the potential to disrupt your fitness goals in multiple ways. For example, suppose you experience constant tension in your jaw while running or cycling. In that case, those activities will become much less enjoyable over time. They may even lead to further injury if not addressed properly.
Secondly, poor dental health due to bruxism can make eating uncomfortable and impede your ability to reach your nutrition goals. This is because jaw pain can cause difficulty chewing, making it difficult to break down and digest food. Lastly, jaw pain can cause you to miss workouts due to pain or fatigue, which will only delay your progress.
How To Address Jaw Pain
If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain, you can do a few things immediately. First, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Depending on the cause, your dentist may recommend wearing a nightguard or splint while sleeping. If you experience jaw pain while working out, your dentist may recommend specific exercises to help stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles. This includes:
- Massaging the jaw and neck
- Doing facial stretches to increase mobility
- Performing chin tucks and jaw clenches to strengthen the muscles
- Eating soft foods that don’t require intense chewing
If the cause of your jaw pain is more serious such as TMJ disorder, your dentist may recommend wearing an appliance for arch expansion. This appliance can help correct any misalignment in the mouth and reduce pain caused by clenching or grinding. This is done by expanding the arches of the mouth and providing extra space for your teeth. This way, your teeth won’t be forced together as tightly when you clench or grind. This reduces the pressure placed on your jaw. This procedure requires surgery, so consult your dentist before making any decisions.
In addition to seeing a dentist, you should also consider making lifestyle changes that could reduce the tension in your jaw. For example, practice stress-relieving activities such as yoga or meditation, and avoid chewing gum or clenching your jaw too often. Improving your overall dental health by brushing twice daily and flossing regularly would be best. This helps prevent further damage to your teeth and gums, which can cause even more pain.
Jaw pain is no joke—it has real implications for how successful you are at reaching your fitness goals. Don’t ignore it! Take action now by scheduling an appointment with a dentist, so you can continue working out without disruption. With the right combination of preventive care and proactive lifestyle changes, you can manage discomfort while still progressing toward achieving your fitness targets without interruption!