How Stress Can Impact Your Jaw and Pelvic Floor Muscles?
How Stress Can Impact Your Jaw and Pelvic Floor Muscles?
When life gets stressful, it's not just our minds that feel the effects. Stress can also greatly impact our jaw and pelvic floor muscles. While it may seem contradictory, stress can cause tightness in both areas due to their connection to the Autonomic Nervous System.
You may be experiencing jaw pain, bladder issues, digestive problems, and other symptoms related to these muscles. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ease your discomfort by helping to relax the four stations of your body: your jaw, chest, belly, and pelvic floor.
In this article, we'll explore the correlation between TMJ, pelvic floor tightness, stress, the causes of stress-related muscle tension, how the Autonomic Nervous System impacts these muscles, and what you can do to help relax them. Let's dive in!
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, a disorder that affects the joint of your jaw. It is often caused by misalignment, stress, bruxism (teeth grinding), improper diet, or injury to the jaw. Symptoms may include difficulty opening and closing your mouth, pain on one or both sides of the jaw, and headaches or neck pain.
People with TMJ often experience tightness or soreness in their jaw muscles, which can be caused by stress. You may find it difficult to open your mouth fully or chew, which can interfere with everyday activities like eating.
How does stress affect the jaw and pelvic floor muscles?
Stress can cause tightness in both the jaw and pelvic floor muscles. This is because these muscles are connected to body parts that allow bodily functions to operate, including digesting food and producing urine. When stressed, your Autonomic Nervous System will cause these muscles to become tight as a protective measure.
In addition, when you experience stress or anxiety, it can trigger the fight-or-flight response in your body. This evolutionary mechanism causes the body to prepare for danger by releasing hormones and tightening certain muscles. In this case, those muscles may be in your jaw and pelvic floor.
Causes of Stress-Related Muscle Tension
Stress-related muscle tension in the jaw and pelvic floor can be caused by several factors. Here are some of the most common:
Our life is full of little stressors, such as deadlines at work, financial worries, or relationship issues. Today’s fast-paced lifestyle can also lead to chronic stress, which has been linked to an increase in TMJ and pelvic floor muscle tightness.
You may also experience muscle tension when you're feeling overwhelmed. This can be caused by a big event or something as simple as having too much on your to-do list.
Bigger life changes
Bigger life changes, such as the death of a loved one or a major move, can also cause muscle tension in the jaw and pelvic floor. This type of stress can be more difficult to manage than daily stressors because it's long-term and often unpredictable. In addition, it can cause muscle tension that is more severe and more difficult to treat.
The Autonomic Nervous System and Muscle Tension
The Autonomic Nervous System controls many of the body's involuntary processes, such as breathing and digestion. It has two parts: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic (PNS).
When you're feeling stressed or anxious, your SNS is triggered. This causes the body to go into fight-or-flight mode and can lead to muscle tension in both the jaw and pelvic floor muscles. The PNS, on the other hand, works to counterbalance the SNS and helps to keep the body in a relaxed state.
The muscles of the jaw work together to open and close the mouth. During periods of stress, these muscles can become tight and lead to pain or difficulty opening your mouth fully. This can make it difficult for you to chew food or talk.
Pelvic floor muscles
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. They also help to control urinary and bowel movements. When these muscles become tight due to stress or anxiety, they can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen and even lead to problems with urination or constipation.
What to Do About TMJ and Pelvic Floor Tightness?
The good news is that you can take steps to ease tension in the jaw and pelvic floor muscles. Here are some tips:
Relax the "4 Stations of The Body" every hour
This includes your eyes, neck, jaw, and pelvic floor. Taking a few minutes every hour to relax these areas can help to reduce tension and prevent it from building up over time.
Practice deep breathing
Taking slow, deep breaths can help your body to relax and loosen tight muscles.
Follow an exercise routine
Exercises targeting the jaw and pelvic floor muscles can help relieve tension in those areas. Examples include neck stretches, jaw stretches, and pelvic floor exercises.
Get enough sleep
Poor sleep can cause stress levels to rise, leading to muscle tension in the jaw and pelvic floor. That's why getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night is important.
Practice relaxation techniques
Regularly practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, can help your body to relax and release muscle tension.
Stress-related muscle tension in the jaw and pelvic floor can hurt your overall health and well-being. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce this tension and keep your muscles relaxed. This includes practicing relaxation techniques, following an exercise routine, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks every hour to relax the "4 Stations of The Body."
With these simple steps, you can take control of your stress and improve your physical health.
The next time you're feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, remember that you can do things to help your body relax. By understanding the link between stress and muscle tension, you can take steps to keep your jaw and pelvic floor relaxed and healthy.
Dr. Nikki Cohen
Pelvic Floor Therapist in San Diego,
Services in English
Address: San Diego, California
92115 United States
Phone: +1 (818) 606-6717
Email: [email protected]