Many people say that the jaw, neck, and face tightness can eat off each other to cause constant inflammation, tightness, or pain in these areas. Because of these three tight areas, my shoulders, back, and arms become tight. Eventually, it leads to tightness in your whole body, showing how crucial the three areas are for the body despite people disregarding their influence. Thus, reducing tightness in these areas can help your whole body feel better, which goes back to the idea that everything in the body is connected. This post will reference some tips I use that can go into reducing tension in these critical areas.
The proceeding information will come from Real Simple’s article “Dealing With Jaw, Neck or Face Tension Lately? Here Are 5 Ways to Get Relief (Without Turning to Advil). Before they address some tips to reduce tightness, they explain that mental, emotional, and physical stress and postural problems are the biggest culprits for issues in these areas. Since people with muscular dystrophy tend to have more physical stress due to inflammation and injuries, which can also lead to postural problems, I would assume these two areas are the most vicious to our bodies.
The first piece of advice they give to reduce tension in the jaw, neck, and face is to do breathing exercises. This has been the most impactful for me. Breathing exercises have been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is critical for recovery and digestion for the body. It can also reduce overall inflammation and enhance your immune system’s ability to fight stress. Breathing exercises permit me to remain in a healthy state of mind to reduce stress, allowing me to pursue recovery techniques that keep my body feeling fantastic. If you were to try any of the tips covered in this blog, I would recommend breathing exercises above all. To do this, you can look up videos that take you through a form of breathing practice. One I enjoy doing is to breathe deeply for four seconds (engaging the diaphragm), hold for seven seconds, and then blow out forcefully for eight seconds. Doing all of this through the nose is the best. There are many forms of breathing exercises out there, so I would recommend finding the ones most impactful to you.
The second tip is to perform a gentle jaw massage. Rehab My Patient created a video called “How to massage your jaw muscles,” which covers a way to massage the jaw externally. It involves you placing two fingers and massaging throughout the lining of the jaw. Doing this in a circular motion proved most effective to me. I also do a jaw massage that takes place in the mouth. You can ask a specialist to show you exactly how to do this. I do this massage but using my thumb or index finger to stretch and massage my jaw on the inside. While one hand is in my mouth, the other one is externally massaging the jaw using a technique covered in the video. For the external jaw massage, I massage it that way when I wake up and right before I sleep. I complete the internal jaw massage every other day. Either way, starting with a gentle jaw massage is an effective way to reduce tightness in the face and neck.
The third tip is to alternate your posture. This refers to you not standing, sitting down, or laying in the same position for too long. Make sure to change it up about every 30 to 45 minutes. I began doing this a few months ago, and it began reducing the stiffness I felt after being in the same position for too long. Make sure to keep the body moving! The fourth tip is to manage your stress levels. I have covered some techniques to reduce stress: breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, exercising, reading, keeping yourself distracted, listening to music, having a bath, watching your favorite sports team, etc. There are many more methods to reduce stress out there. I would recommend finding ways that help you reduce stress and doing them consistently. If stress is excessive for you, you should see a therapist who can help you deal with the stress and find ways to reduce the effects of stress.
The final tip is to stretch your neck, shoulders, and jaw consistently. I have covered ways to stretch the neck and shoulders in other posts. Additionally, the jaw massage is a great way to stretch your jaw. Moving your jaw to the left and right and opening your jaw as much as possible are alternate ways to stretch the jaw. There are numerous stretches out there; it is solely a matter of what stretches seem to help you the most.
Know that reducing tightness in these areas can lead to significant improvements in your overall body. Having a loose jaw, neck, and face feel incredible as you stop aching and stiffness in these areas. Hopefully, these tips will help you make an active change in your health. I perform each of the tips given, and it is something I would recommend doing if you want to help yourself quickly. Make sure to reduce tightness in the jaw, face, and neck into your own hands, and your body will be crying with gratitude.