Does your neck, jaw, or face hurt right now? If the answer is “yes,” you’re in good company. Many Americans are experiencing increased tension and pain in these areas, due in no small part to the stress we’ve endured during the pandemic, and the bad postural habits we’ve picked up while living our entire lives at home. While you should still seek medical attention if your pain is related to a condition or injury, here are a few tips to help you eliminate the pain at home.
Do Breathing Exercises
Wondering why every wellness expert out there recommends deep breathing exercises? Because they work! Seriously, taking a few minutes to decompress with your breath can work wonders for your stress levels, which are known to cause neck and jaw tension. Try breathing in deeply for four seconds, holding for seven seconds, and then blowing out forcefully for eight seconds.
Try a Gentle Jaw Massage
It seems too simple to work, but massaging your jaw and neck – wherever the pain is present – can go a long way in helping soothe your tired and strained muscles. To do it, open your mouth slightly, place the palms of your hands in front of your ears, and slowly open your mouth as you gently massage straight down your face. Go easy if it’s uncomfortable at first – your muscles will adjust.
Switch Up Your Posture
Whether you’re sitting all day while working in front of a computer or standing all day in a restaurant or store, sitting or standing in one position for too long can cause problems. If possible, try to alternate from sitting to standing, and vice versa, every 30 minutes. This will help alleviate tension in the neck, jaw, and face while promoting good posture.
Keep Stress in Check
You’ve heard it a million times over the course of the past year, but it’s worth repeating: reducing your stress levels will reduce overall tension in your neck, jaw, and shoulders. It works by giving muscles – which we tend to tighten when stressed – a chance to relax. For many of us, who unconsciously clench our teeth or harden our jaw when stressed, this alone is enough to make a huge difference in facial pain.
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