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Preventing TMJ Problems During High-Intensity Sports in Bend

Living and playing in Bend, Oregon means being active. Whether you’re skiing on Mount Bachelor, mountain biking on Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, or even paddleboarding at Sparks Lake, high-intensity sports are the norm. However, these sports can put additional strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If you’re suffering from related problems, or just want to make sure that you’re taking the right precautions, here are some tips and techniques for preventing TMJ problems during high-intensity sports in Bend.

Recognize How TMJ Problems Can Occur

The TMJ is the hinge joint that connects your jaw and skull. It is one of the most complex joints in the human body, and it can become dysfunctional if you overuse or injure it. TMJ-related problems are especially prevalent in sports that require high-intensity, repetitive motion, such as swimming, cycling, running, skiing, and snowboarding. When the jaw moves out of its natural position, it can cause an uneven wear pattern, a misaligned bite, and muscle strain that leads to chronic pain.

Protect the TMJ During Sports

There are several ways to help protect the TMJ during high-intensity sports. First, make sure you warm up before starting any physical activity. Warming up can help the muscles relax and reduce the risk of muscle strain. It’s also a good idea to start small when trying a new sport or activity. Begin with a lower intensity level and gradually work your way up. Always maintain good posture and stay well-hydrated to keep the muscles and joints healthy. Finally, make sure that your equipment is well-fitted, as the wrong size or improper alignment could lead to injury.

Rest and Recover

Despite taking precautions, some people may still experience TMJ-related pain and dysfunction. If you have pain while chewing, talking, or moving your jaw, or if you hear strange clicking or popping sounds when you chew, it could be a sign that you’ve strained or injured your TMJ. If you detect any of these symptoms, it’s important to get proper treatment from a medical professional. Rest and recovery are necessary for properly healing an injured TMJ, so make sure to take breaks when participating in high-intensity sports.

Take Advantage of Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Preventing TMJ-related problems during high-intensity sports in Bend requires not just rest and recovery, but also proper exercise and stretching techniques. Devote plenty of time to stretching and warming up before and after exercising. This will help to maintain muscle flexibility and prevent joint stiffness. It’s also a good idea to practice exercises that will help strengthen the neck, shoulders, and jaw. These exercises can help to improve posture and reduce muscle tension. One such exercise involves gently stretching the neck muscles by sitting up straight and tilting the head to each side. You can also practice closing and opening your mouth while moving your head gently from side-to-side to help relieve tension.

Focus on Good Nutrition and Hydration

Participating in high-intensity sports can be hard on the body, so it’s important to make sure that you’re staying properly nourished and hydrated. Proper nutrition can help to promote healthy muscle function and help the body to properly repair and heal itself. Drink plenty of water to help the body stay properly hydrated. It’s especially important to make sure that you’re staying properly hydrated during activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and running, where temperatures can drop significantly and dehydration can occur more easily.

Maintenance and Prevention

If you’re an active Bend-nite, you’ll experience the benefits of the region’s television sports. However, taking steps to prevent TMJ-related problems while participating in those high-intensity sports is crucial. Warming up, resting, good nutrition and hydration, stretching and strengthening exercises, and proper equipment fitting should all be a part of your routine to help keep the TMJ joint healthy and prevent dysfunction. With these tips and techniques, you can enjoy Bend’s on- and off-road activities without having to worry about TMJ-related pain and dysfunction.