Have you noticed feeling tighter in the jaw or a bit headache-y after a day of wearing your mask?
Next time you’re wearing your mask, check in with how you are breathing and holding your jaw – you may be unconsciously doing so differently!
Without even realising you may be gritting your teeth, clenching through the jaw, jutting out your chin to move the mask away, or breathing more through your mouth instead of your nose.
This can cause the muscles of the jaw to become over worked and irritated – leaving your jaw feeling stiff and sore. This pain can then also refer up into the head and cause headaches.
What you can do for jaw pain:
- Firstly, check in regularly with how you are holding your jaw when wearing a mask. Start to notice when you are clenching/gritting/jutting out your chin. If you are – place your tongue behind your front teeth on the roof of your mouth, and open through the jaw just slightly (keep your lips touching) to allow the muscles of the jaw to relax back to a more normal holding pattern.
- Whilst your jaw is sore, avoid excessively crunchy or chewy foods (like nuts or gum) and resting your head on your hands – these activities place extra strain through the already irritated jaw.
- Make an effort to inhale through your nose, instead of holding your mouth open to breathe. Make sure you inhale deep into the belly, and not just into the chest.
- Try these exercises:
- Open mouth stretch: Place the tip of your tongue onto the roof of your mouth and the open your mouth as wide as you can within a pain free range – hold this stretch for 10-15secs before gently returning your jaw to normal. Perform this 2-3 more times.
- Resisted jaw close: Place your index finger between your chin and bottom lip and pull your jaw open until you feel a stretch. Start to gently close your jaw (clenching evenly through both sides) however resist this movement with your finger. Hold this contraction for 2-3secs. Allow your jaw to relax, and gently pull it open into another stretch. Repeat this contraction/relaxation 3-4 times.
5. Come in and see us at The A Life – where we can give further advice, exercises and hands on therapy to further relieve any jaw tension.