How to Reduce Stress Behaviors This Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving almost here and Christmas not far behind, it’s safe to say the stress of the holidays is about to kick in. But unlike holidays past, you don’t need to let your TMJ disorder symptoms flare up due to stress and your reaction to it. Try these tips for keeping your cool under pressure and keeping your TMJ symptoms at bay.

A Real Nail Biter

Be honest. Do you bite your nails? Nail biting is a common stress-related behavior, but trust us – it does nothing to help your TMJ disorder. That’s because your fingernails are hard – harder than your teeth are designed to bite into. So all that pressure from biting off your nails goes right into your jaw – and your temporomandibular joint. That means when you bite your nails (or grind your teeth), you are making that jaw joint work harder, and your TMJ disorder is more likely to worsen.

Instead of putting additional strain on your TMJ, do something to prevent yourself from harming it. Get a “dip” manicure that will cover and protect your natural nails from breaking – and from biting. Bonus points for your hands looking beautiful in all those photos of you serving the turkey!

The Daily Grind

If you grind your teeth, speak to Dr. George about being fitted for a custom mouth guard you can wear while sitting in hourlong mall traffic or while trying not to scream at your mother-in-law’s critique of your mashed potatoes.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They are usually triggered by stress and anxiety. As if the headache itself wasn’t bad enough, the pain can spread throughout the back, shoulders and neck – the same areas patients often experience TMJ disorder pain. But you don’t need to let tension headaches hold you back or worsen your TMJ disorder symptoms.

If you are prone to tension headaches, be sure to be prepared. Pack painkillers, ice packs or essential oils with you when you go out. If you start feeling a tension headache coming on, try to stop whatever you’re doing that is causing it. If you can’t, try to do some stretching or deep breathing exercises.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. George, please call 724-220-2347.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on October 15th, 2018