We have all been wearing masks for over a year and a half at this point. It's nothing new to us. (Wow lets just have that sink in). But what still can happen is face and jaw pain after prolonged use with tight masks, especially the ear looped kind.  For a list of other causes of jaw pain, refer to our blog, You and Your Temporomandibular Joint.

There are a few things you can do to minimize the irritation to your TMJ (while still being safe and wearing your mask!).

Ear savers for masks!

Try switching to a mask that ties around the head instead of the ears. It shifts the pressure on the head, nose and cheeks instead. The ear loops can put pressure on the ear (duh) but specifically upset a branch of the trigeminal nerve. If you don't have access to that you can make an extender with a paper clip. 

Avoid keeping your mouth open all the time! Initially many of us were adjusting to mask life while keeping our mouth open to breath. Keep your mouth shut and breathe through your nose like you normally do. Breathing through the nose will also increase moisture in the mask and helps us filter contaminants better.

Mask wearing around ears can cause jaw pain.

Where should your tongue rest?

And try not to clench your jaw! When you do that, your making your already tight muscles get tighter! The tongue should lightly rest on the roof of the mouth, like if you try to make the "N" sound. This is a good way to check in with your jaw any time but especially while wearing a mask. 

Make sure your mask fits properly (not too bit or too small). If it's too big, not only does it not protect you as well, but you are constantly adjusting it and trying to hold it in place by making weird faces. If its too small you'll have increase compression on your face and TMJ structures. Think goldilocks and the three bears: not too big, not too little, just the right size.

How to Adjust to Your Mask

You may have to sample different masks before settling on one that works well for you. Here's a pro tip: wear your different mask options while watching tv/hanging around the house to see how you tolerate it's fit before you have to wear it to work/out in the community. 

We will be wearing masks for a while, but making sure it's fit well and comfortable will make it that much easier to do! 

Physical therapy for TMJ pain related to wearing a mask in Columbia and Baltimore, Maryland

If you are experiencing jaw pain related to wearing a masks, please reach out to our office today! 

Blog Post

Related Articles

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction: Do's and Don'ts

February 14, 2022
The temporomandibular joint (also known as the TMJ) is critical to opening and closing our mouth! Which is of course...

Maxillomandibular Surgery and TMJ Pain

June 14, 2020
Although maxillomandibular surgery is used to improve the structure of the jaw, a handful of orofacial and...

Jaw Pain After Surgery

January 17, 2022
Jaw surgery? You've probably never thought much about it unless you've had one. Some of the most common jaw surgeries...
Blog Post CTA

H2 Heading Module

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.