Fall season is officially upon us, which means the leaves have begun to change color and the temperature has dropped. Unfortunately the colder weather may not bode well for you if you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder. In this blog post, West Orange dentist and TMJ specialist Dr. Ivan Stein explains why and shares tips on how to manage your pain during the colder seasons.
Understanding Barometric Pressure
Barometric pressure, or atmospheric pressure, is the force exerted on the Earth by the atmosphere. It changes as the seasons shift and temperatures fluctuate. Many people with TMJ disorder experience an increase in jaw pain during cold weather as the barometric pressure adds more tension to the joints. During colder weather, people with TMJ disorder may experience more pain, soreness, stiffness and achiness in the jaw, which in turn can make eating, speaking, yawning and other jaw movement painful and uncomfortable.
Tips to Manage TMJ Pain in Cold Weather
Stay warm. Try to keep your body as warm as possible. Wear thick scarves and jackets whenever outside. Turn on the heater and use an electric blanket indoors.
Keep moving. It’s easy to slack off on exercise during cold weather, but staying active can help your joints stay loose. Indoor swimming, yoga, Pilates and running on a treadmill are great cold-weather exercise options. Even taking small walks around the block or in your backyard can promote good circulation and help prevent your joints from stiffening or tightening.
Eat a soft food diet. Repeated jaw movement and chewing hard or crunchy foods can exacerbate jaw pain. The colder weather is a great excuse for eating a soft food diet. Soups and stews not only keep you warm but can also ease stress and tension on your jaw.
Reduce your stress levels. The holiday season can be stressful, and unfortunately, stress is a well-known cause of bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching), which in turn can lead to TMJ disorder. Work on managing your stress during the winter through exercise, deep breathing, meditation, yoga or therapy.
Seek Professional Help
If these tips do not help alleviate your TMJ pain, it’s time to consider professional help. Dr. Stein is one of West Orange’s top TMJ specialists, having helped hundreds of individuals find the pain relief they deserve. To schedule a personal consultation, please call (855) 865-3627 or email our office today.