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TMJ Management Tips for Cyclists in Bend, Oregon

Are you a cyclist in Bend, Oregon looking for ways to manage your TMJ disorder? Pain and discomfort from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues can make cycling unbearable. However, if treated properly, a TMJ disorder does not have to keep you off your bike. In this article, we will explore some management tips for cyclists in Bend, Oregon to manage their TMJ while riding.

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, and it is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. This joint allows you to move your jaw up and down, forward and backward, and side to side so that you can talk, eat, and laugh. A TMJ disorder, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder or temporomandibular joint dysfunction, occurs when there is pain or discomfort in this joint. This pain may also lead to difficulty chewing, headaches, and ear pain.

Causes of TMJ

There are many different causes of TMJ, and for some people, the cause may not be clear. However, stress and anxiety, poor posture, clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism), and a dislocated joint due to injury can all contribute to TMJ. In addition to these causes, cycling can also contribute to TMJ disorder, as the repetitive motion of pedaling can put a lot of stress on the jaw and surrounding muscles and joints.

Tips for Managing TMJ During Cycling in Bend, Oregon

If you have a TMJ disorder and you are a cyclist in Bend, Oregon, there are several things you can try to help manage your pain and discomfort while riding.

Only Bike When Feeling Your Best

Try to only ride your bike when you are feeling your best. It may not be possible to avoid cycling during times of pain, but avoiding stressful or difficult rides when you are feeling your best will help to minimize pain and discomfort.

Improve Your Bike Position

Check what position your body is in while riding your bike and make sure that it is as ergonomic as possible. If your bike is not properly fitted to your body, it can cause pain and discomfort in your shoulders, back, and jaw. Adjust your bike to the best possible fit and take frequent breaks to shift and relax your jaw and neck muscles. It may also be helpful to use a bike with a more upright riding position, as bikes with a more aggressive seating position can put more strain on the jaw and surrounding muscles.

Stretch and Strengthen Your Jaws

Incorporate some jaw, neck, and shoulder stretches into your warm-up and cool-down routine before and after riding your bike. This can help to relax and stretch the muscles that are most often affected by TMJ disorder. In addition to stretching, it can also be helpful to do some exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles, such as clenching and unclenching your teeth or practicing biting down on a pencil.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. If your pain is severe or does not subside with over-the-counter medications, it is best to seek medical treatment.

Seek Medical Treatment

If you have a severe TMJ disorder, it is best to seek medical treatment. A healthcare professional can help diagnose your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. This may include physical therapy, hot or cold therapy, stress management techniques, or alternative therapies such as acupuncture. In addition to these treatments, purchasing a custom mouthguard to keep your teeth from clenching or grinding while you ride can also be beneficial.

Find a Specialist

If you live in Bend, Oregon and you are a cyclist experiencing TMJ pain, it is best to seek out a dentist or other healthcare professional in the area that specializes in treating TMJ disorders. They can help you find the best treatment plan to keep you feeling your best so that you can keep pedaling.

In conclusion, if you are a cyclist in Bend, Oregon experiencing TMJ pain, it is important to take steps to manage your pain and discomfort so that you can keep riding. By biking when you feel your best, making sure your bike position is as ergonomic as possible, incorporating stretches and exercises to relieve pain and tension, keeping some over-the-counter pain medications on hand, and seeking out a TMJ specialist you can manage your TMJ pain and discomfort while riding.

In addition to taking these steps to manage your pain, it is also important to find a healthcare professional in the Bend, Oregon area that specializes in treating TMJ disorders to help create a custom treatment plan. By taking these measures, you can keep doing what you love without letting TMJ get in the way.