With our daily routines and lives being disrupted by lifestyle, jobs, and stay-at-home orders, our minds and bodies have taken on so much additional stress. A common trigger our bodies do to relieve stress is jaw clenching – and we may not even recognize that we are doing it! Women are known to be 1.5 times more likely to have this reaction than men and are most commonly seen to occur in those ages 18-45.
The jaw joint is located in front of the ear where the jawbone connects to your head. To feel where this is on your body – place your finger on your cheek and move towards your ear as you open and close your mouth – where you feel the hinge open and close is the joint space.
Oftentimes during a stressful situation, we can clench our jaw and grind our teeth which causes tension to the muscles around the jaw joint.
Take inventory of your behaviors – what reactions do you have when a Zoom meeting isn’t going the way you expected? Or you’re wrangling a household of kids or an entire classroom? Or you’re working long stressful nights in the ICU? Are you clenching your jaw? Maybe you find that you grind your teeth to ease your mind. Take note if you find yourself biting down on your pen to increase your focus. You may find that you are applying stress to your jaw joint!
As a hospital pharmacist, I can attest to super stressful days as well – whether I’m responding to a premature infant delivery or a trauma in the Emergency Room – I find that even with my calm under fire demeanor that without even recognizing it at the moment, I tense up. I feel the after effects of this when I’m home from my day trying to wind down. Why do my neck and jaw feel so fatigued day after day?
This tension and stress that we put on our jaw joint over time can result in pain, soreness, sleep disturbances, and can cause discomfort while eating. You may notice this as soreness in the space between the ear and the jaw, along the jawline and back of your neck, as well as you may experience headaches. With repeated trauma, this soreness can be constant or it can come and go when you open and close your mouth.
Self-care and stress management to help relax both your mind and your jaw is the key to relieving this tension. As we know, CBD is a great tool to add to your daily routine to help minimize stress levels. Endocannabinoid receptors are located all throughout our dermal and epidermal skin layers. When CBD is applied topically it acts locally in the area it is applied and its effects can be felt in a matter of minutes and can last several hours.
Let’s walk through a few approaches for use of CBD for jaw discomfort.
Relief Cream – Topical
Start with a pea size amount of relief cream and massage in a circular motion starting towards the front of your jawline and work your way across your cheeks and then back towards the ear. You can also continue this motion along the back of your neck as well. Both the topical application of CBD and the aromatic effects of the cream can be felt within a matter of minutes. You should notice your muscles releasing that tension and be more at ease after topical application. This routine can be repeated as often as needed and is a great tool to use to wind down before bedtime.
Daily Drops – Ingested
Daily drops can be used to massage on the inside of your cheeks – keep in mind that by using the Daily Drops you will have absorption both locally within the face as well as systemically into your bloodstream through your sublingual glands within the mouth- so this route may be stronger for you. Start with a half dropper (5mg/0.5mL) and place it in your palms. By using your opposite hand to cheek (use your right hand to massage inside of your left cheek) use circular motions to rub the drops into your cheek space as close to the interior jawline as possible. Let the oil sit for a minute and then swallow. Then repeat on the other side. Take note of how you feel within about 20 minutes. You should feel a sense of calm and relaxation with this form of dosing. Work with your dosage specialist as well to adjust your dosage if needed!
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