Jaw clenching (and shoulders too!)

I can't find any useful information on causes of this, but I am gradually getting worse, and now wake most mornings with my jaw locked. I have some exercises to release the muscles, but that only lasts as long as I don't do it again.

Anyone had any experience? Any ideas on causes? I am not particularly stressed at the moment. When I did my cortisol a couple of years ago it was elevated throughout the day, but I would think its dropped since then. Maybe time to do it again just to find out!

I'm on NDT - struggling at the moment to get the local NHS lab to do T3, and my T4 is at the bottom of the range. I think I will give in and go to Blue Horizon if I can get the surgery to take the blood for me - its unrealistic to do the fingerprick thing for me, too much of a blood wimp!

13 Replies

  • Ruthi,

    Bruxism can cause head and neck tension.


    My dentist made me a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent me grinding my teeth. Completely eased the head and neck problems I was having cranial osteopathy to relieve.

  • I don't grind my teeth, just clench them, and tense up the muscles in my neck and shoulders especially. Dentist does not think a mouth guard will help because I don't grind, just clench, and would just clamp down on the guard!

  • Ruthi you have my sympathy, years ago I had this problem the pain was unbearable, just lifting my head of the pillow in the morning sent stabbing pains through my head, ears & neck. I didn't grind my teeth either.

    I used relaxation techniques before sleeping, to relax my muscles & also adjust the position of the jaw(ie sleeping with your mouth slightly open) I had a guard made & this helped too.

    It went away for years, then with the stress of ill health came back. This time I bought a sports guard ( ones you heat up and then it moulds around your teeth) & did the relaxation again, & it worked. I think you have to retrain your muscles to relax & be in a different position when you go to sleep. So relaxation & then putting in the guard may help.

    To relax the muscles clench teeth together tightening muscles & relax & let go - keep doing it until your muscles are really relaxed. Hope this helps & good luck.

  • Tetany. Could be calcium or magnesium deficiency. Calcium is easily checked by your GP with a blood test. Magesium can't be checked by a blood test, best way is to supplement and see if it works. I'd suggest you supplement with calcium / magnesium citrate and see if it gets better. Ask you GP to check your calcium levels if it hasn't been done in the lasst few years.

  • i already supplement with magnesium. Serum calcium was last checked in 2010 when it was mid range. I have had hair and urine tests since and it was fine on those too. I eat loads of eggs and cheese - and green veg.

    Tetany is a good word though, off to google!

  • It was a good idea while it lasted!

  • Hi,

    TMJ problems & bruxism are caused by stress, & some medication.

    Have you tried doing relaxation exercises?

    I have a silicon brace from my dentist, which helps my jaw.

    A long soak in an epsom salt bath with aromatherapy oil helps me relax at bedtime, & increases magnesium, too.


  • I still have this but no where near as much as before I started NDT. It came day or night and took huge effort to relax the muscles. relaxation, meditation help but don't stop it. wish I could be of help:( It sucks I know but there is hope as thinking about it don't think its happened for a few weeks. Maybe when you get optimum on NDT it will ease or stop . Fingers painfully crossed for you. It is very common in fibromyalgia apparently,

    regards linda

  • According to Earl Mindell the following may help teeth grinding, though I appreciate that's not what you are doing, perhaps the same could help? Nsp, vitamin B complex am + pm and bonemeal tablets before sleep.

  • What is NSP?

    I don't think its magnesium, but other reading suggests that potassium can also cause problems to I will give the Adrenal Cocktail another go.

    Overall everyone seems to agree its tension, despite my lack of stress in life. I am at a bit of a loss as to how much more relaxation I can go in for. I meditate twice daily most days!

    Yesterday my melatonin arrived. I took .75mg last night, and that did make a real difference. Which does rather tie in with the cortisol theory. I think I need another cortisol spit test.

  • I found this on an alternative health website. The site has a lot of good information, but I have no knowledge of this specific problem.


    High-resolution, thin slice MRI shows that almost all women have demonstrable degenerative changes (arthritic) in both of their temporomandibular joints by the age of 30. The high prevalence of arthritic changes in women’s temporomandibular joints by age 30 may be another indication of the epidemic of Type-2 hypothyroidism.

    TMJ and teeth clenching often gradually resolve following treatment with desiccated thyroid. The addition of estrogen for postmenopausal women may be necessary for relief. Normal development and function of the jaw, teeth, and muscles are promoted by proper treatment of hypothyroidism in the young.

  • My dentist explained - You can get a mouth guard specifically for clenching (as opposed to one for grinding). About £100 for either

    If money is no object you can apparently get one that does both - about £400 I think

    I have just got one for grinding. I was extremely sceptical and thought I would find it too weird to wear and that it might make sleeping difficult. Much to my surprise and delight I find it really comfortable and it helps enormously. I no longer wake with aching jaw 😃

    My husband also loves it and finds it great relief ......as he said before I got this, it was like sleeping next to a constant cement mixer!

  • Thought I would report back on this. I came across a suggestion that parasites might be the cause of baptism, and was pointed towards Humaworm. Unfortunately it has to come from Canada, and I worked out that I would be mid treatment when I arrive in the bush on holiday. So I looked around for a UK equivalent, and bought Elle Belle Eliminateur.

    Ten days in my symptoms have lessened considerably. No obvious effect so far on my gut, but something may be changing!

    How odd is that? And how powerful the net!

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