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Finding the Best Sleeping Position for Patients with TMJ

April 1, 2016

Finding the Best Sleeping Position for Patients with TMJ

Sleep is one of the most important activities your body does. Not only does it help your brain function properly throughout the day, but it also keeps you in good health. For patients who have been diagnosed with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, sleep can be a little more complicated. Finding the perfect position that’s comfortable enough to fall asleep in, but also prevents waking with TMJ pain can be difficult.

For patients with TMJ, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a good sleep position:

– Think about how your head and neck are supported. This may mean investing in a new pillow that offers the support you need to wake feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

– Don’t choose a position where your head or neck muscles are strained in any way. If you feel even a little strain, it’s best to choose a new position.

– Determine whether you’ll be likely to clench your jaw or grind your teeth while you’re sleeping in that position.

Ranking the Most Common Sleeping Positions:

3. On Your Stomach 

Sleeping on your stomach is arguably the worst sleeping position for patients who have been diagnosed with TMJ. Not only is your spine alignment out of whack, but it also makes it very easy to place pressure on your jaw, leading to grinding of the teeth or clenching of your jaw.

2. On Your Side

Laying on your side with a hand under your head or pillow can also be damaging to your overall jaw health and can aggravate your TMJ pain. Your head and neck are out of alignment, making it extremely likely that your TMJ symptoms and pain will flare up in the morning.

1. On Your Back

If you have TMJ, sleeping on your back is the best sleep position to keep your head and neck in alignment and cut down on the likelihood of jaw clenching or teeth grinding while asleep. If sleeping on your back does not come naturally, try to train your body to fall asleep (and stay asleep) in this position so that you wake feeling good, rested and pain-free.

If you have questions about how to maintain and reduce your TMJ pain, or how to combat any TMJ-related sleep disorders, working with an experienced medical professional can help you start down the road to relief. Dr. Mitakides and the TMJ Treatment Center staff can help. With more than 40 years of treating patients with TMJ and craniofacial pain in the Dayton, Ohio, area, they’re prepared to provide you with treatments to reduce your pain and enhance your quality of life. Give us a call at 937-427-3131, or contact us to set up an appointment today.