As we enter the holiday season, many Americans are looking forward to the time spent with family in time-honored rituals. These rituals are supposed to bring us all together in love, and fill us with warm feelings.

But for many people, the holidays mean something else: headaches. If you’re experiencing headaches this holiday season, it’s important to consider whether TMJ might be to blame.

When Food + Family = Headaches

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a great time for us to spend with our loved ones in quiet enjoyment of their company as well as some great traditional foods. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Sometimes Thanksgiving is spoiled by headaches, and often TMJ is the reason.

If you have stress about the arrival of your family or related to the food preparation and timing, the odds are good that you might carry it in your jaw. As your jaw muscles tense, they pass that tension on to muscles in your head, which leads to tension headaches. This can be exacerbated by time spent sitting down and eating a large meal that involves a lot of chewing.

We’re not implying that your turkey is dry and hard to chew–when your jaw is out of balance, you don’t have to do hard chewing to experience tension in the jaw muscles.

Shopping Headaches and TMJ

Another situation that commonly leads to headaches in the holiday season is Christmas shopping. There’s a lot of stress involved here, too, as you jockey with all the other Black Friday or last-minute shoppers to get the best deals, but your jaw plays a vital role here, too.

You may not think of it, but when you are exerting yourself, your jaw closes to better anchor muscles in the head and neck. This is vital for balance and also for getting maximum muscle effort to help you carry all those heavy packages back to your car. When you have TMJ, the jaw muscles can quickly get tired or overstimulated from the effort, so they rely on assistance from muscles in your head, leading, again, to headaches. A poor jaw position also reduces the effectiveness of your other muscles, contributing to early fatigue and soreness in your neck and back.

Get Something to Smile about This Season

If you find that the holidays are starting to hurt your head more than they warm your heart, it’s time to learn whether TMJ is to blame. If TMJ is responsible, treatment is very effective at reducing or eliminating jaw pain, headaches, and other problems.

To be evaluated for TMJ in Savannah, please call  for an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.