Have you noticed joint pain worsening during the chilly winter temperatures? Blame the barometric pressure, which changes as seasons shift and temperatures fluctuate. The winter season is especially tough for your joints, including your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects your temples to your lower jaw. Joints tend to tighten, tremble and contract in chilly weather, as opposed to loosening in warmer, balmier seasons.
Try to keep your body temperature comfortably warm. Crank up your thermostat and use electric blankets or heating pads inside. Put a space heater next to your desk at work. If you go outside, wrap a scarf around your neck or slip on a hat and bundle up to stay warm.
Avoid sitting still for too long. The less you move around, the tighter and weaker your muscles become, which causes pain. Move around to keep your blood flowing and your muscles loose and strong. Indoor swimming and running on a treadmill are great exercise options. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are also popular. If you’re new to exercise, start out simple with five minutes of stretches, and slowly build up to more movement.
Tweak Your Diet
Eating mostly soft foods relieves a lot of the burden on your jaw. Swap out tough, chewy meats and crunchy raw produce for creamy soups, mashed potatoes and well cooked vegetables. Hot tea can be soothing, too.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
If the holiday season is upping your stress level, you’re not alone. However, stress can cause teeth clenching or grinding, which contributes to TMJ disorder. Work on managing your stress during the winter through deep breathing, meditation, yoga or therapy. Find the stress management technique(s) that works for you, and commit to regularly checking in to make sure your stress levels are low.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Stein
If these tips don’t help, it’s time to call in a specialist. Visit Dr. Stein at the Headache & TMJ Center for New Jersey to discuss your aches and pains. A leading authority on TMJ disorder, Dr. Stein can identify the underlying cause of your pain. Together you will discuss the possible treatment options and select the best fit for your needs. To reach our practice, please call (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.