Relief from the teeth grind
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 15, 2015

heather holland

Heather Holland of Ruby and Pearl’s demonstrates MFR release on the TMJ.

Grit your teeth and bear it?

You might want to rethink that.  Eventually, it’ll hurt.

Gritting and grinding the teeth, otherwise known as bruxism, is a common cause of lingering jaw pain often emanating from the hinge of the jaw known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

It’s easy to catch the clenched jaw during a tense day and drop it, but nocturnal bruxism is the rub.  A sufferer often wakes up with an aching jaw, a headache and what feels like an earache. Sometimes the best option is to wear a fitted mouthpiece at night.

Be sure to see a physician to rule out other causes for your jaw pain. Then you can get some relief from the grind.

Myofascial Release (MFR). Get a yoga block and a tennis ball or MFR ball.  Lie on your side and rest the painful side of your jaw on the block.  Slide the ball between the block and your TMJ.

Slowly open and close your mouth to release the muscles and fascia tightened by the constant clenching.  Then, shake your head no.  Continue for three minutes.

Minimize bedtime stress.  You may be tired, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t taking stress to bed.

Turn off the television and computer at least an hour before bed.  The news is the last thing that needs to sink into your subconscious as you sleep. Avoid stimulation, particularly negative stimulation.

If you are journaling at night be sure these introspections are gripe- and complaint-free.  Instead, evening recaps should all be successes of the day. Likewise, if you talk to a friend on the phone, it shouldn’t be someone who stresses you.

Yoga. Tension in the jaw is connected to the throat chakra, and clenching the teeth is indicative of an energetic blockage.

Are you speaking your truth?  Are you articulating your purpose? Are you honest with your feelings?

Prior to sleep, sit on the edge of your bed.  For several rounds, shrug your shoulders, and let them drop.  Then, gently, roll your head clockwise and counter-clockwise.

Work Lion Pose:  Open your mouth, stick out your tongue and lift your eyes to the ceiling.  Exhale with a forceful “HA,” and imagine all that no longer serves you leaving your body.

As you lie back into your bed, massage some Tiger Balm or Deep Blue into your temples and jawline. Open your hands and stretch your fingers.  Drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth, slacken your jaw and sink into rounds of the mantra “hahm, hahm hahm.”

Sleep peacefully.