It’s a fact of life: sometimes we have to go to work even when we’re not feeling our best. If you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, these days may be more frequent than you would like.
The good news is there are some steps you can take to alleviate and prevent TMJ pain even when you’re at your desk. If you keep your jaw in mind while you’re on the job, you may find that it helps you feel better overall. Less pain throughout the day leads to less stress, a more pleasant workday, and perhaps even better sleep as a result!
Ergonomics are Important
Many jobs require a person to sit at a desk, type at a computer, stand at a workstation or some combination of the above. Whatever you spend most of your day doing, be sure your body isn’t suffering as a result.
Evaluate the ergonomics of your workstation and use proper posture. Consider these general guidelines to be sure your neck, back, and jaw are in healthy alignment throughout the day:
- Computer monitors should be arm’s length away from your face and at eye level.
- Wrists should be straight when using a keyboard. Hands should be at or just slightly below elbow level.
- When seated, feet should be flat on the floor and thighs parallel to the floor. Use a footrest to achieve this if necessary.
- Don’t cradle the phone between your shoulder and face. Use speakerphone or a headset if you talk on the phone frequently.
- Sit up with your hips, shoulders and head in a an imaginary straight line. Don’t slouch.
Pack a TMJ-Friendly Lunch
What you eat can have a big impact on your TMJs. Take the time to pack a healthy lunch with foods that are easy to chew. If your jaw is especially inflamed or sore, make a delicious smoothie for a healthy and light lunch that won’t leave you with that afternoon slump. Don’t give in to jars of chewy candy or other goodies at the office: they aren’t worth the pain!
Keep a TMJ Care Kit On Hand
If you find that your TMJ pain does flare up despite these measures, it’s good to have your own emergency supplies close by. A heating pad that can be warmed in the microwave, essential oils for pain and relaxationand over-the counter pain relievers (ie: Ibuprofen or Maximum Strength Tylenol) are good to have when your jaw pain is particularly bothersome.
Get Up and Move
Whenever possible, get up from your desk and take short walks. This can give you a break from repetitive movements and relieve stress. Try deep breathing exercises to relax if needed.
TMJ pain can have a profound effect on all areas of your life – including your career. But you can do something about it: contact MedCenter TMJ to schedule your appointment!