Recently in my practice as a holistic practitioner I have had several clients all with tender points in the teeth and jaw, sometimes ear aches or in extreme case they have lock jaw. They may also experience a stiff neck or pain down to the base of neck and into the shoulders. In some instances the throat and upper collar bones or chest will also begin to feel tight and sore to touch.
Upon further discussion they admit to clenching their teeth during the day, or grinding their teeth at night. And yes, they all have Stress. All type of stress – the good, the bad and the ugly. In a stress reaction we breathe in sharply and hold our breath, thus, holding in the emotional reaction as well. It is an automatic response. We often forget to then release the breath out, and with it the fear and the emotional reaction as well.
In stressful situations we are afraid to scream, yell, swear, tell the truth or say something inappropriate. We swallow our words. Push them down through our throats and into our chest, and deeper into our stomach, where they flap around like butterflies trapped in a net trying to find their way out. We slam shut our mouth and jaw to not let it all come out.
Sucking air through our teeth is a way to show your reaction to an unpleasant situation or to give a disapproving opinion. Again we are holding it in, not allowing ourselves too fully and freely express your true feelings and emotions. We zip it up. To keep it all inside captured words, emotions and breath, locked into the body.
If you do not notice the pain in the jaw and the tension in your neck, your dentist will often be the first one to notice the filed down teeth from the stress of grinding. Thus the most common remedy is to be fitted with a mouth guard. This will help from damaging your teeth further as well as lessen the pressure on the teeth and jaw and the weight onto your shoulders. Other remedies might include; visiting a Chiropractor or Osteopath to help to adjust and re-align the joints (TMJ) and relieve the tension in your jaw and neck. You can also get much relief through massage, working the head down to the neck, shoulders, arms and back.
The best way to release all this from jaw, teeth and neck pain would be to avoid stress. Failing that, start to recognize when you are holding it all in and consciously let it all out again. Do not give it a chance to take up residence inside your teeth, throat, chest or heart.
These are good recommendations that would address the physical response to fear. But there are also other ways to help address the emotional and mental stressor that contributed to buttoning up that mouth? How do you release those toxic thoughts and negative words you have been chewing on and not spitting out? What about all those beliefs and opinions and you have swallowed in the name of keeping the peace? What to do about all the other burdens you are carrying on your shoulders that weight you down and make you drop your chin to the ground.
I found was I was often recommending other techniques available to help release pressure on your jaw and neck. Like, use your own ‘Jaws of life’ to pry open your mouth and release the air you have swallowed down and enclosed behind clenched teeth. Just breathe – deep. Push the air out from deep within your lungs, from the centre of your heart and even further down from your belly button and let the air out. Pop the cork out of your mouth and let it slip out. Feel the relief. Try breathing, and then exaggerate the breath out. Move all that stale air and emotion from the inside to the outside. Sigh. Sigh big and loud!
The second method would be to push the air out and let your chest make a sound – any sound. Just let it rip open. Release the best Tarzan jungle yell you can. Belt it out and release the stifled air with a thunderous sound. Give it your best ‘primal scream’. To not alarm others, this is best done in a sound proof room or in your car windows rolled up in a far corner of a vacant parking lot. If screaming feels awkward then sound out the vowels: AAAA –EEEE-IIII-OOOO-UUUUU –YYYYYYY. Reciting the vowels would not only release the evented up air and emotion, it allows you to exercise the mouth muscles as you shape each vowel. Further helping you unlock the jaw. Saying the vowels helps release all types of pain throughout the body. I often suggest to clients to breathe out the pain and make a vowel sound as we work out knots, sore areas or tender reflex points on the foot/hands and throughout the body.
Another way to release jaw & neck pain is to sing it out aloud! Open your mouth and let the sound & vibration flow through. You do not need to be in tune! Just sing. Make up your own tune or diddy. Make up your own words or verse. Or sing known poems, verses, or affirmations. Have a signing dialogue with our self. It is like talking to our best friend describing the situations, or feelings or thoughts as you hum out your story. Sing it out, instead of talking it out. Pick songs that you know the words & verse to. Songs can say so much and a bit easier, if you did not have the words to describe how you feel. Singing makes me feel like I am the star from a 1960’s musical. It feels very powerful and romantic to have this connection to myself. Select the music that matches your mood. Pick music opposite your mood so that the vibration could actually move you into a happier or easier state of being. Singing songs that are happy and light will make you feel happier too. Songs with positive words would help to alter not just your mood but your thoughts and belief’s too! Just go with the flow. Let songs and sound express it for you.
The importance is to digest and express your feelings. Spit it out, release the air, sound, words, thoughts and emotions and be free. The goal is allow the breathe blow the stress out and away. Unlock the door into your mouth and allow your breathe to travel through your teeth, down your throat and deep into the chest and into the heart. Release the butterflies in your belly. Let it all flow out gently and smoothly so you can begin to feel better: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and energetically.
Don’t wait to exhale! Just Breathe. Make some noise. Express yourself. Be Well