Meta: With the seasons changing and weather fluctuating, you can experience additional pain in your temporomandibular joint if you have TMJ dysfunction.
The weather can affect us in many ways. If it’s too hot, we sweat, we’re uncomfortable, and it can make us irritable or cranky. When it’s cold, it can be hard to get motivated to do anything and instead many of us want to cozy up indoors and wait it out. But did you know that the change in weather can also affect our bodies in other ways?
For example many people say that when it’s humid or rainy their joints ache – especially those who suffer from joint conditions such as arthritis. Or for those who suffer from another debilitating and painful condition, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, otherwise known as TMJ dysfunction, or simply TMJ.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction occurs in the temporomandibular joint of the jaw, where the jaw connects to the rest of the skull. Sometimes, the joint pops in and out of place when the jaw is opened and closed. This can cause many problems, including a popping and clicking sound when opening and closing the jaw, breathing problems, a stiff or ‘lockjaw’, migraine headaches, tinnitus, and upper body pain that includes neck, back, shoulders, and head pain.
While TMJ dysfunction pain can occur at any time, it also has triggers, such as chewing gum, teeth grinding, or jaw clenching, But TMJ dysfunction can also be extremely painful when the weather changes, too.
How so? Well, experts believe that this is due to changes in barometric pressure, which often irritate the sinuses. This can alter the way you breathe, which can put extra pressure on your joints. Not to mention if you have arthritis in your temporomandibular joint, humidity or rapid weather changes can affect that, too.
So, what can you do to prevent this type of pain during these changing seasons and fluctuating weather patterns? After all, the weather is out of our control – and TMJ dysfunction can seem out of our control too. Thankfully, there are a few tips for helping to reduce TMJ dysfunction pain during inclement weather.
Don’t Clench Your Jaw
Clenching your jaw may sometimes feel like the natural thing to do, but it can cause pain to your temporomandibular joint. Even if you feel you must clench your jaw, try to avoid doing so if possible.
Apply Hot & Cold
Apply ice and heat packs to the joint, alternating every 10-20 minutes between the two.
Eat Soft Foods
If your jaw is having pain, be sure to treat it gently. Soft foods are best for not putting strain on the jaw by needing to chew harder. Think yogurt, soft cheeses, softer fruits like citrus and berries, and anything that isn’t sticky or crunchy.
Finally, if your jaw is bothering you, it’s best to have Dr. Abelar take a look. He can prescribe a treatment plan that will help reposition the temporomandibular joint of the jaw and help eliminate the pain, even during weather changes. To schedule an appointment to discuss your joint pain, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office today.