As we all know, the older we become, the more body parts hurt and ache. There may be no sure-fire cure for our aching jaws. But there are certainly things we can do every day to reduce the pain and frequency as much as possible. The following is a medication-free suggestion based on findings mentioned in other articles:
- Stretch your arms, fingers, legs, toes, torso and neck gently upon waking. Yawning will stretch your jaw muscles.
- Let some sunlight and fresh air in (if possible).
- Drink some water or herbal tea.
Eat a nutritious breakfast that includes wholegrains, seeds and nuts (if you are not allergic) – farm style sugar free muesli topped with yoghurt, or wholegrain toast. Healthy and delicious toast spreads include hummus (made from chickpeas), avocado, olive oil spread, tuna, and even peanut butter. Also, add fruit or veges to your breakfast – choose muesli with fruit pieces, add sliced banana (also rich in magnesium) to your muesli or toast, add sliced tomato or gherkins/pickled cucumbers (delicious with tuna) to your toast, or simply eat a piece of fruit (For further information please read Your Diet article).
During the Day:
- Keep hydrated with regular drinks of water or herbal tea without sugar. This will keep headaches and fatigue at bay.
- Snack on bananas, wholegrain crackers, and soft nuts such as almonds and cashews.
- Include rice or wholegrain bread in your lunch, and avoid sugary and refined foods.
- If you feel stressed or anxious about anything – perhaps a work situation – take a minute’s break. Sit down somewhere quiet, for example in your office, and perform the first breathing exercise with 10 repetitions.
- Allocate yourself an exercise hour. Before work, after work, in the evening – whenever suits you. This is based on a suggested 30 minutes of exercise plus travel time if you go to the gym or pool, and showering afterwards. Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week. Take the dogs for a walk, jog on the treadmill, or swim a few laps in the pool. Not only will exercise help you keep in shape, there are numerous immediate benefits that show up long before your drop in dress size. Regular exercise improves concentration, it releases ‘happy chemicals’ into your brain so you feel a natural high immediately afterwards and relaxed for the next few hours, it improves blood circulation (which in turn reduces pain and kills infections), and helps you sleep better – especially if you tire yourself out in the evening!
- DON’T chew gum, bite your fingernails, gnaw on your pen, or strain your jaw by trying to eat huge sandwiches or extra-tough food (e.g., hard sweets, toffee, or beef jerky).
When You Get Home:
- If you have children, the moment you get in the door, forget about work and chores and do this: Sit down somewhere in the middle of your house and call your children to come to you. Hug and kiss them, ask them about their day, ask more questions about what they tell you. This is beneficial for both your children and yourself.
- If you don’t have children, drop your bags, take off your shoes, put on some comfortable clothes and spend 10-30 minutes just relaxing. Do the “Do Nothing” Zen exercise, the Relaxation exercise, or the Rose exercise in Methods and meditation.
Include in Your Dinner:
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach or silverbeet and orange vegetables such as carrots or pumpkin.
- Legumes such as beans, peas, chickpeas (or hummus) or lentils. Indian staples such as dhal and roti are made from lentils and split peas.
- Rice or potatoes.
- Generally, avoid alcohol; but one glass of red wine with dinner can be beneficial. It has antioxidants and helps control calories.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar in the three or four hours before bed.
- Have a warm shower, massaging your skin with a loofah.
- Empty your bladder and ensure your bed is smooth and comfortable.
- Instead of watching TV, read a book in bed, make love to your partner or perform one of the breathing or relaxation exercises.
- Spend half an hour with your partner doing the sharing exercise. If you are single, try the relaxation exercise in to help yourself fall asleep.
- Yawn to stretch your jaw muscles.
- Use a nasal spray if your nose is blocked.
- Apply the warm compress in Exercises if you usually wake up with a sore jaw or face.
- Wear your dental guard (if you don’t have one – view Best Mouth Guards For Grinding Teeth , read our in-depth reviews, user reviews and choose the perfect one for you).
- Don’t forget to wear your bruxism biofeedback headband before going to sleep (If you have one).
- Fall asleep on your back with your head positioned level or slightly tilted back on the pillow. Sweet dreams!
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2008). Substance In Red Wine, Resveratrol, Found To Keep Hearts Young. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 4, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604074908.htm