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Jaw tension is a frustrating aspect of stress and anxiety that can lead to a number of other major issues. Stress headaches and even cracked teeth are both very avoidable issues, but it can be difficult to decrease tension in your jaw.

Jaw tension is related to stress, anxiety, and frustration. All of these are very understandable in the current state of quarantine and pandemic. Not to remind you of any stressors, but it’s important to know that it’s not rare or even out of the ordinary.

But to help you relieve any jaw or facial tension that you might be feeling, this list of tips includes many easy ways to relax the muscles of your skull.

Facial Massage

The quickest way to help with jaw tension is a simple facial massage. Massages are well known to create healthier blood flow, work out knots in muscles, and help relieve tension. There are many facial massages that can help, but an easy facial massage looks like this:

  • Use circular motions to rub your temples
  • Use palms and fingertips to massage the sides of your face, up and down
  • Use your thumbs and the first two fingers of each hand to gently pinch and pull your skin, from the center of your chin up towards your ears.
  • Gently press into your jaw as you move your fingers from the outside of your jaw to your chin.

Repeat each motion 5-10 times, using gentle but firm pressure.

A Warm Compress

Most well-practiced athletes understand the usefulness of heat and cold for bodily issues, particularly muscular tension. Applying a warm washcloth to your jaw-line can help draw tension out. Try to do this after a facial massage to see the best results. Note that you should be careful with any heat applied to your skin – run your tap water to a comfortably warm temperature before running through a washcloth for an easy and safe method.

Try a Night Guard

Nightguards are most commonly used when patients grind their teeth. These are useful for preventing teeth grinding for two reasons: They prevent your teeth from actually rubbing together, and they also reduce jaw tension. This may not be immediately obvious, but because your jaw can’t squeeze as firmly, it can de-trigger the muscle and help decrease tension.

Yoga and Stretching

Yoga is an excellent method for working out tension. You may not expect stretching your back or shoulders to work out tension in your jaw or head, but your muscles are far more interactive with each other than you may think. Even just meditating could help relieve shoulder tension, which can decrease the urge to clench your jaw.