Sleeping with TMJ Made Simple
Not only is sleep enjoyable, it is also vital in overall health and brain function; however, when suffering from any kind of chronic pain, especially TMJ disorder, sleeping can be uncomfortable and elusive. Finding the middle-ground of a sleeping position that is comfortable but also helps to circumvent waking up to even worse TMJ pain can be tough, but the following are some things to keep in mind when falling asleep:
1) SUPPORT IS SO IMPORTANT. Think about the support three main points of contact that affect TMJ (head, neck, and shoulders) are receiving. There are pillows that are specifically made to support these spots. If you’re feeling any type of strain in any of these three spots when you’re falling asleep, it is crucial that you change positions. A little strain now can mean a lot of pain tomorrow. Finally, assess if you’re in a position that will lead to tension, clenching of your jaw, or the grinding of your teeth. If you answer yes to any of those, move.
2) Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Although one of the most contented ways to sleep, sleeping on your stomach indisputably causes strain on the TMJ. Not only does it cause you to rest your head in a way that immediately puts force on your face and TMJ, which often leads to clenching and grinding that will undoubtedly cause pain upon waking up.
3) Avoid sleeping on your sides. Although BETTER, lying on your side is still not ideal for people who suffer from TMJ disorder. As with sleeping on your stomach, your face is laying directly on your arms or pillow, once again, causing stress and pressure on your face. Similarly, in general, both positions lead to a substantial misalignment of the entire body which can contribute to pain flare-ups and even the worsening of the actual TMD.
4) Try to sleep on your back. Although it is not the most ideal way to sleep for most people, even people who are not suffering from TMJ Disorder should try to sleep on their backs. Sleeping on your back allows your body to align ideally, which can also help with overall posture. This also relieves all of the force and tension that other ways of sleeping place directly on the face and head. TMJ Expert Dr. Sid Solomon highly recommends this sleeping position to patients suffering from TMD.
Although these tips will help exponentially in your quest to sleep without, and without waking up to, aggravated TMJ pain, it is highly important that you see an expert regarding your (possible) TMD. TMJ expert Dr. Sid Solomon is a world renowned neuromuscular expert with such a wide-ranging understanding of the interrelation of the temporomandibular joint, head, neck, and rest of the body. Call us today at 310-475-5598 to schedule a one-on-one appointment with TMJ specialist Dr. Solomon and let him use his expertise and passion to help you return to the pain free life you deserve.