Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

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noodle
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Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by noodle » Sat May 07, 2016 11:16 am

Hi All,

Can anyone recommend anything specific for jaw clenching in response to stress that has become a habit (ie. Is happening even in non stressful situations and at night). Ive obviously thought of the basics around stress management and becoming more mindful of clenching and reducing this where possible. I wondered if it might be possible to draw on the strategies for trichotillimania but don't have much experience in this area either - could anyone recommend any books that might be useful? Any thoughts would be welcome.

Many Thanks,

Noodle

Pixie
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Re: Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by Pixie » Sat May 07, 2016 4:06 pm

Hi Noodle

I'm afraid I don't have any psychological resources to recommend (and will await recommendations from others with interest) but when I had the same problem, my dentist referred me to the dental hospital to get a mouth guard made to wear at night. I was sceptical but it really helped and I've since discovered other friends who have been helped in the same way. I hope you find effective solutions.

Pixie

CuppaT
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Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by CuppaT » Sat May 07, 2016 4:57 pm

I have some personal experience of this myself - as pixie mentioned there are protective dental shields for bruxism at night; and during the day I found placing my tongue between my teeth made me much more aware of it! There are also facial exercises as bruxism caused jaw spasm as well. These practical strategies were helpful for me; alongside general stress management relaxation, identifying triggers so as to best know when to be more mindful (for me it was tense concentration with studying for exams at the time) I don't know if that helps at all as you may have already thought of these.


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noodle
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Re: Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by noodle » Sat May 07, 2016 8:08 pm

Thanks both. It's really helpful to hear some personal experiences and I'm glad you've both been able to find some relief :)

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Will
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Re: Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by Will » Mon May 09, 2016 3:49 pm

It's an interesting issue when you start digging into it a bit! Especially when it becomes more complex/longstanding.

Apparently I've done it in my sleep since being little - I have absolutely no awareness of it but it used to drive siblings mad! Various dentists over the years have attributed it to "stress" and told me to stop doing it - I've always discounted that as an explanation, because I've always done it and because I've never noticed a correlation between that and my own stress levels (admittedly not very psychologically minded for a psychologist!).

Dentists have suggested mouth guards but I couldn't sleep with them in (not likely to do my stress levels much good...), and when I last did a bit of reading around the subject (admittedly a few years ago) I found very little around psychologically informed models, despite the lack of clear evidence supporting long-term effectiveness of any available strategy (including mouth guards, physio, etc).

Since learning more about models developed for understanding medically unexplained and functional symptoms (and seeing how over simplistic explanations such as "stress" can lead to people discounting psychological factors altogether) I've started to think that bruxism fits with under this banner...there's definitely scope for a better understanding of the issue which offers a more useful and nuanced understanding of the interplay between psychological and physical factors, and how habits can form as a result.

Maybe we should get together with some dentists and write something...
Ponderings and wonderings in 140 characters - @willcurvis

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noodle
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Re: Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by noodle » Mon May 09, 2016 6:51 pm

Thanks for the reply Will. I definitely agree that overly simplistic explanations are unhelpful! I also agree that it would be helpful to have some psychologically informed work on this issue, given that there are quite a few of us, just on here that seem to be affected. This sounds like the start of a great idea for a thesis project if anyone is stuck for ideas!

A couple of articles that I found if anyone is interested:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 6610000504

http://web.a.ebscohost.com/abstract?dir ... 3d40079713

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eponymous85
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Re: Teeth clenching causing jaw pain and headaches

Post by eponymous85 » Tue May 10, 2016 9:26 am

Hi there, as Will points out this can come under the umbrella of functional/somatic syndrome depending on formulation and physical health assessment (some causes are physical). So in addition to what you've done already there could be some stuff about emotional expressiveness/responsiveness if you're looking to do some longer term work. A helpful search term would be temporo-mandibular disorder/pain, or TMJ/TMD, or myofascial pain.
The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many layered thing.

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