Wearing a mask can increase jaw pain and headaches.

facemask profileWhether you are pro mask, anti-mask or just going with the flow, one thing is constant; we are finding ourselves wearing a mask more than before. One thing to be aware of, the headaches and jaw pain you might be experiencing may not only be due to the increase in stress of the current situation but also directly due to the mask.

When wearing a mask we tend to hold tension in our jaw in response to the mask pushing back upon us. We also hold more tension in the jaw when we speak by talking with decreased jaw movement in part due to trying to keep the mask in place and not being pulled off of the nose.  We also increase jaw and tongue activity in a “fidgeting” way, in the same manner we “play” with sunglasses when wearing them.

Here are three things you can do.

  1. Be aware of the problem. This can help directly change the problem. Try not to clench, grind, play with you tongue or mask.
  2. Remind yourself to take a breath and relax.
  3. Relax the jaw muscles by doing a self-release of the masseter muscle. This can be done by lining your check bone with your finger pads with moderate pressure, slowly slide your fingers down towards the edge of your jaw bone while slowly opening your mouth. Repeat several times while relaxing.

TMJ release