Are you worried about managing that nagging sensation in your jaw while you’re out on the slopes? If you’re an avid skier who also suffers from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, it can be a real challenge to keep your jaw tension at bay. However, with the right tips and techniques, you’ll be able to keep jaw pain at a minimum and focus on conquering those thrilling slopes without distraction.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint acts like a hinge, connecting your jaw to your skull, and enables movements like yawning, eating, talking, and more. When the joint becomes chronically innervated, it can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms and may make it difficult to talk and eat properly. Pain, stiffness, aches, and damaged tissue in the jaw are all common symptoms of TMJ disorder.

How Can Skiing Affect TMJ?

Skiing can be an incredibly exhilarating experience, but it can also be quite jarring on the joints. Any kind of repetitive overuse of the jaw could exacerbate symptoms of TMJ disorder, making it particularly difficult to enjoy skiing without experiencing intense jaw pain and tension. The motion, friction, and cold weather can all contribute to exacerbating symptoms of TMJ.

Tips for Skiing with TMJ

If you find that your TMJ symptoms are flaring up every time you go skiing, here are some tips you can follow to keep painful jaw tension at a minimum while you’re having a great time on the slopes:

Get Fitted for a Custom Mouth Guard

It’s essential to invest in a good quality custom mouth guard to help reduce jaw pain and tension while skiing. When fitted properly, mouth guards can help protect the jaw joint from undue stress while absorbing shock and keeping the jaw in an optimal position for minimal muscle fatigue. Look for one that is specifically designed to fit your unique jaw shape and size to ensure maximum comfort and protection.

Stay Hydrated and Fuel Up

Both skiing and the cold weather can zap your body of important nutrients and water. Make sure you stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating nutrient-rich foods before you hit the slopes. Maintaining proper hydration levels can help keep muscle tension at bay, while eating well balanced meals can help ensure your body has the energy it needs to tackle those long ski runs.

Practice Proper Technique

When going down those exhilarating slopes, it’s essential to be mindful of your body position and to use proper technique. Avoid overdoing your jaw movements by keeping your elbows close to your body, your shoulders relaxed, and your knees and hip joints slightly bent. By engaging your whole body, you can help take some of the pressure off your jaw joint.

Take Frequent Breaks to Stretch

Even if you are mindful of your technique, it’s important to take frequent breaks to stretch your jaw, neck, and other muscles. Not only will this help keep muscle tension at bay, but it can also help improve your overall circulation and make it easier for you to keep skiing for longer periods of time.

Consider a Relaxing Massage After a Long Day of Skiing

There’s nothing like getting a relaxing massage after a long day on the slopes. Certain types of massages, like a craniosacral massage or TMJ-specific massage, can help reduce muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulder area and can potentially relieve TMJ symptoms. It can also help to re-align the jaw bones, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation in the joint.

Final Thoughts

Experiencing pain and discomfort in your jaw while skiing is unpleasant enough, but it can ruin your experience if it goes unaddressed. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to reduce jaw tension on the slopes and keep your symptoms at bay while skiing. Just be sure to stick to good skiing techniques and take breaks when needed. And don’t forget to invest in a custom mouth guard for maximum protection.