Are Your Sleeping Habits Making Your TMJ/TMD Pain Worse?
If you are reading this, you are likely looking for ways to find a better night’s sleep with your TMJ/TMD condition. I can help. Hello, I’m Dr. Mike Gallagher and I am passionately focused on TMJ/TMD treatment. TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) is a terrible affliction which affects the joint that connects your jaw bone to the temporal bones of your skull. Patients who have this condition usually suffer from a tremendous amount of pain and debilitating symptoms and have a hard time finding the right treatment.
You know the importance of getting a good night’s rest. When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s hard to stay on top of your game and complete tasks to the best of your ability. But did you know that your sleeping habits also affect your TMJ health? The wrong sleeping position can make TMD symptoms worse, ultimately resulting in greater pain and discomfort.
Over the years, my team and I have had the privilege of working with numerous TMJ patients who have been troubled by sleep issues. In most of these cases, I have found that the patient is able to find a great deal of relief from their symptoms simply by changing their sleeping habits. Below, I’ve provided some sleeping tips for those who suffer from TMD/TMJ Disorder.
How Should I Sleep If I Have TMJ/TMD?
If you have TMD/TMJ Disorder, it’s important to think critically about your sleeping habits. Developing the right habits can make a major difference in terms of reducing your pain and symptoms. Here are some tips that can help:
(1) Use a good pillow – Having good neck and head support when you sleep is critical if you have TMD. Avoid pillows that are extremely soft or flat at all costs. A moderate to high support pillow can help reduce tension in your face and neck muscles.
(2) Find the right sleeping position – The position in which you sleep is also important if you have TMJ Disorder. You should avoid sleeping positions which strain your head or neck, cause you to clench your jaw, or result in teeth grinding.
(3) Consider wearing an oral appliance – If you grind or clench your teeth when you sleep, we can discuss a possible treatment option for you. We may be able to provide a custom oral appliance for you to wear at night that will help with this issue.
How Different Sleeping Positions Affect TMJ Disorder
Knowing how different sleeping positions affect TMJ Disorder can also help you manage your pain. Changing your sleeping position may feel difficult at first, but will become easier with time as your body settles into the new habit. Here’s some info about the best and worst sleeping positions for TMJ/TMD sufferers:
Sleeping on your Stomach
Unfortunately, sleeping on your stomach is a bad idea if you have TMD. Your spine cannot be aligned properly when you sleep in this manner. This also puts your jaw under a ton of stress, which affects the temporomandibular joints.
Laying on your Side
This is the most common sleeping position. However, despite its popularity, side sleeping is also bad for TMJ health. Remember earlier when I discussed the importance of good head and neck support? When you sleep on your side with your hand under your pillow, your back and neck are misaligned. This can lead to an increase in TMJ pain and symptoms.
Sleeping on your Back
If you haven’t guessed it by now, the best sleeping position for individuals with TMD is laying on your back. In this position, the head and neck are supported and the spine is aligned properly. There is also less risk of teeth grinding and clenching.
Get More Info on How Sleep Affects TMD
Do you have questions about how sleep affects TMD? Are you looking for advice on how to change your sleeping habits to improve your TMJ health? My team and I are here to help. For more information on TMD and sleep or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder in general and our diagnosis process and treatment plan, please contact my office at 952-942-9600 for a complimentary consultation.
About Gallagher Dentistry & Facial Pain Center
Dr. Michael Gallagher and our Eden Prairie Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. Please take advantage of Dr. Michael Gallagher’s offer for a free consultation regarding how we can help you. If you have any questions about our services or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 952-942-9600 for a complimentary consultation. The outstanding experience of our dental team, Dr. Gallagher, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating our patient’s TMJ condition. We welcome patients throughout Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Bloomington, Minnetonka, Edina, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Burnsville, and the Plymouth area. For more information regarding TMJ pain relief techniques, please contact us!