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Thread: Clenching my jaw

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by walker.alles View Post
    I constantly clench my jaw. I catch myself doing it throughout the day and have to make a conscious effort to stop. Any thoughts? I get plenty of exercise and eat reasonably well (primal 80 - 90 % of the time). This has been going on fr about 4 months...
    I'd be inclined to think that it's a just a form of tension. Further, you may also be tensing up elsewhere but not be aware of the tension.

    There's a Reichian view that there are specific muscular tensions and that they have specific psychological "causes". If it's in the buttocks it's "sexual" or whatever ... and so on and so forth. I find that kind of thing unpersuasive.

    First, while it recognises "the body" (which Freud didn't), it seems to assume that mind (the psyche) has a kind of primacy and that the body expresses (or "stores") what's going on in (or what has been going on) in the mind. But whether you can even separate "mind" and "body" ... it seems doubtful. Maybe it's not that the one can act on the other -- or even both ways round -- but the truth may be simply that they are the same thing seen from different points of view.

    Secondly, I doubt we should think of tension as being localised in that way: I think there can be specific patterns of tension ... but that's not quite the same thing. It's not static: in a connected system (a) an adjustment here provokes an adjustment there -- like knocking one draughts-piece (or coin) in a pile -- and (b) when the system is in movement, the whole thing gets even more complicated.

    Thirdly, the notion of seeing psychological, or emotional, life as always what's at the root seems doubtful to me. The psycho-physical system is also impacted by bad furniture, bad learning of "physical" tasks (such as being forced to write as a child when not physiologically ready), acquired "physical habits" ... and all manner of other things.

    What's going on with one's teeth and jaw could also be impacted by how they've grown -- sub-optimally in modern society when the important minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins, might not be available in the diet, and when the attempts of orthodontists to correct problems might introduce further complications.

    Then there's the effect of schooling and so on in a modern Western society. Children are always told to try harder and to make an effort. It's curious when you think about it. Most of the time, we really need to think smarter, to see what we haven't seen, and to be led to the point where we can do that by an observant, sympathetic, and intelligent teacher. But, all too frequently, learning is moralised and understood as a matter of effort. A familiar comment in school reports was always "must try harder".

    But how do we understand "effort" and "trying" -- as a matter of applying muscular force.

    Hence kids clench up -- set their jaws and necks and buttocks and so on in order to read better or do a sum better and so on -- whereas muscular tension here does not help and is only a distraction and a waste of energy.

    The Alexander people, who just address tension practically, seem more interesting, and potentially more useful, than the Reichians to me.

    You're experiencing tension. Why I don't know. Why over the past four months I don't know. Gently let it go whenever you become aware of it is a good start at any rate.

    Yeah, you could try meditation, as someone said. You could also try something like Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    I've had good luck recently with magnesium supplementation with a product called Natural Calm. Search amazon.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    How could I have missed this?

    My clenching started in April.

    So bad that when I went to eat something super soft the next day, it sounded
    as though my jaw just cracked right off and it hurt really bad!

    After that, it was pretty painful for a month (good weight loss strategy, heh).

    Finally figured out that I was clenching at night, and even though I don't clench during
    the day (my teeth are apart as I type), I *DO* contract the jaw MUSCLES, as if I *AM*

    I have absolutely ZERO (and I mean ZERO) stress in my life. Did I mention ZERO?

    I find myself doing it when I'm concentrating on anything: working in my child's class, folding
    laundry, picking at the cuticles around my nails, cutting up vegetables and fruits, and
    even freaking typing this I catch myself.

    What I have finally deduced to help, is to have a VERY SMALL piece of gum in my mouth to
    remind me to chew every so often.

    Not a big ol' honkin' wad of Big League Chew, but like half a piece of Trident or something.

    Figured this out last week and OMG, helped SO MUCH.

    No tensing, and just random bouts of chewing actually *relaxed* the jaw.

    I don't know about you, but I don't "chew" gum like a pitbull holding onto someone's
    ass. So no 300lbs of pressure, just light little chews here and there.

    I still haven't figured out anything for night time though, and last night really sucked.

    Woke up with a headache as usual and my jaw felt as though it'd been to the gym.

    Anyway, try the little piece of gum during the day if you can chew it without looking like
    some white trash cow chewing its cud. It helped loads.


  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by magicmerl View Post
    It is. I do it too, and it can cause tooth fractures.

    You jave to practice relaxing, and I use a wheat sack aroudn my neck when I go to sleep.
    Yep i agree with MM on this one. Chillax, deep breaths, breath in, breath out and RELAX...........and repeat 20 times if you have to. Tomorrow it might only be 19 x, ntil one day, you just aint doing it!!!!!!
    Good luck
    "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

    ...small steps....

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    I try to catch when I'm clenching my jaw so that I can relax it; but i'm also trying to sort out my TMJ issues. It was going well for a while until I started forgetting to do certain things, including watching my head/neck posture. There was a MobilityWOD video that really helped me out.

    The gum trick does the opposite for me, I can only chew it for a few minutes at a time before my muscles start to tense but I like having one after my coffee.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Nivanthe View Post
    I try to catch when I'm clenching my jaw so that I can relax it; but i'm also trying to sort out my TMJ issues. It was going well for a while until I started forgetting to do certain things, including watching my head/neck posture. There was a MobilityWOD video that really helped me out.

    The gum trick does the opposite for me, I can only chew it for a few minutes at a time before my muscles start to tense but I like having one after my coffee.
    Well, you got me there. TMJ? MobilityWOD?

    You're speaking a language I don't know. But you're certainly right in asserting that the head-neck relationship is important for human beings.

    Indeed, it is for all vertebrates. Nikolaas Tinbergen, who got a Nobel prize for his work, showed that.

    You can't really watch that relationship — although if we could carry full-length mirrors around and peek in them "as and when" we'd see some pretty interesting things. But you can adjust it by simply relaxing — or, better put, releasing any tension you're aware of. And thinking — not doing, thinking

    Release in the neck … allow the head to float forward and up … allow the back to lengthen and widen.

    Mind-body relations being what they are — and are these really two things or just one seen from different aspects? — just thinking verbal instructions helps that re-ordering.

    Yet trying to do it doesn't — because a "doing" always involves muscular tension. Try to "put" your head where you think it should be and you'll tighten those neck muscles — which is just what you don't want to do.

    It's deeply paradoxical — at least to the modern "western" mind — but very interesting. What you want is a "non-doing".

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    try the no clenching app (itunes and android), it can help in awareness.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Speedway, IN
    I don't just clench my jaw, all of major muscles are always tensed when I'm awake. I dated a massage therapist a few years ago and she'd always get mad at me yelling at me to relax when she'd be rubbing this muscle or that muscle and I was all "I AM relaxing!" and it would spiral into her shouting at me to relax with me insisting this is me relaxed.
    -Ryan Mercer my blog and Genco Peptides my small biz

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Appalachian Ohio
    You aren't on an SSRI (antidepressant), are you? Because I had horrible postpartum depression once and got Celexa for it, and the three side effects for me were horrible thirst, constant hunger, and - jaw clenching.

    Once I weaned off the Celexa, the other side effects completely left, but I still occasionally clench.
    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Shop Now
    possibly TMJ? does your jaw lock up ever? i have a problem grinding my teet in my sleep but not when awake. l
    "Always be yourself. Express yourself. Have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it." -Bruce Lee

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