Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, no one has time for pain when they wake up. But for many people with a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), this is a frequent – if not daily – occurrence.
Why Does My Jaw Hurt in the Morning?
While many people assume that nighttime teeth grinding must be the reason for jaw pain in the morning, this is not the only possibility. Though nighttime (or daytime) grinding can contribute to TMD symptoms and cause the aches and pains when you awaken, there are other possible reasons that you may not have considered.
First, even if you don’t grind your teeth, symptoms of TMD can be aggravated by your bed, pillow, or sleeping position – leading to jaw pain when you wake up. In fact, many people with TMD find that switching to a better pillow and/or mattress can make their mornings much more comfortable. This is because the jaw and facial muscles rely on proper alignment of the rest of the body in order to run smoothly. The neck, shoulder, and back muscles play an important role in management of TMD.
Another factor related to pain in the morning is the quality of your sleep. Many people know the feeling of waking up without proper rest: your head pounds, your body aches, and your stomach may feel queasy. It’s obvious that lack of quality sleep can take its toll on your physical health – and it can also aggravate TMD symptoms. It could be in the form of a headache that radiates to your jaw, or it could simply make existing jaw pain feel worse.
There is no “quick fix” for many sleep-deprived individuals. Often, they may suffer from high stress levels, anxiety, insomnia, sleep apnea, and other health issues that need to be addressed in order to alleviate TMD pain. At MedCenter TMJ, we examine all of these factors to help patients heal. TMD treatment is much more complex than a night guard or pain relievers! It takes knowledge and experience with this multi-faceted condition to ensure that its symptoms can be effectively managed.
Relieving Morning Jaw Pain
If jaw pain when you wake up is interfering with your life, make an appointment with MedCenter TMJ so we can identify the root cause and create your custom treatment plan. In the meantime, try these simple fixes for some fast relief:
Get up 10 minutes earlier so you can rest with a heat or cold pack on your jaw before you start your day.
Drink your favorite warm, non-caffeinated beverage as a relaxing way to soothe soreness and help ease you into your day.
Make a TMD-friendly breakfast. Smoothies are a great way to eat healthy without stressing the jaw. Make it with fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen) combined with yogurt to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.