Jaw clenching or grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, can be a common yet problematic issue when managing TMJ and facial pain. Bruxism can be further distinguished as sleep bruxism, awake bruxism and non-specified bruxism. In order to effectively relieve and manage jaw clenching or grinding, we must initially understand the underlying cause of the behaviour. At an individual level, certain personality traits, such as those with high stress sensitivity or anxious traits, are more likely to develop TMJ pain associated with bruxism.
While bruxism can be chacterised as clenching our teeth during the day or grinding our teeth during our sleep, these behaviours are clearly an effect or output of a wound up or heightened state of nervous system activity. For example, have you ever noticed when you are under significant stress, no matter the origin, that you find yourself more likely to clench, hold tension through your jaw, neck or shoulders?
In summary, it’s important to understand this concept, teeth or jaw clenching and grinding is likely an output or an effect of a heightened central nervous system state. In order to effectively manage it, the underlying nervous system state needs to be considered in the overall management. This is why our Geelong TMJ chiropractors take a holistic and comprehensive approach to the assessment, diagnosis and management of TMJ disorders related to grinding and clenching.