Stress is one of the most commonly blamed issues when it comes to bite problems and the associated symptoms. The media and marketing have created awareness of ‘stress headaches’ and the dental profession has dodged the TMD bullet by pointing the finger to stress as the etiology. While it is entirely possible that stress can create problems for the body, it is highly unlikely that stress alone is responsible for any of the issues we blame it for. In fact, although some of the dental profession still holds on to the notion that stress causes headaches, the dentists trained in neuromuscular science at LVI look beyond stress and find the underlying source or cause of the pain, and control that instead!
A great analogy for how stress can trigger a headache would be to imagine that we are carrying all of our stressors in a cup. If we have a promotion at work, that good stress goes in the cup. We watch our children suffer from the flu and that bad stress goes in the cup. A fight with our spouse and the joy of making up all go in the cup. The nagging lower back pain and arthritis all go in that cup. At some point that cup gets full and any additional stress causes it to spill over. If we could remove some of the stress we are carrying in the cup, it would allow more room for us to load other parts of life in it. Some stresses we simply cannot remove, but there are some that we can do something about.
The bite is one of those things we can change. Having a bite that is not right can be a very big stress and can take up a lot of room in the cup. In some cases, there is a daytime pain causing bite stress, and a night time airway side to that bite that is causing a host of medical issues. If we were to address those stresses, we would be able to take them out of the cup – and in the process, have a lot more room for life stresses without having our ‘cup runneth over.’