Katelyn Sander

TMJ Pain from Wearing Your Mask? We can help

Living Well...together, while apart

Masks are an effective, important way of protecting yourself and others. And they aren’t without their challenges.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare specialists have seen an increase in people suffering from headaches and TMJ pain. 

Your TMJ, aka temporomandibular joint, connects your jawbone to your skull. It is one of the more complex joints in the body as it both hinges and slides, allows movement up and down and side to side. Pain in the joint can be caused by physical injury, arthritis, grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep, dental surgery, and autoimmune diseases.

Pain can also be caused by wearing a mask.

The first thing to check is if the loops on the masks pulling or tugging on your ears. Headaches can be caused by compression of the nerve that runs just in front and above the ear into scalp. Mask extenders can be an easy, inexpensive, effective solution to alleviate the pulling and compression.

Next, take a moment and notice your facial posture. Are you jutting your chin forward or tensing your jaw muscles as a way of holding your mask on? Are you unconsciously and repeatedly pushing down on your chin in an attempt to move your mask away or adjust its position? Are you pursing your lips in an attempt to get more air into your body? Are you suddenly breathing in through your mouth instead of your nose? 

Are you – understandably – a little more stressed and holding some of that tension in your face?

Like any other muscle in your body, when your jaw and facial muscles are overworked, they become tired and angry. And scream out in pain. The good news is that by adjusting your facial postures and breathing patterns, you can often effectively decrease the tension and resolve the pain quite quickly.

  • Ensure you are wearing a mask that fits well and stays in place. Ideally the mask has a flexible wire or is created with a contour that allows it to fit over the nose and cheekbones.
  • Ensure the fabric of the mask is comfortable against your skin. I chatted with some hairdressers who despite working long, active, masked hours are experiencing no TMJ pain; their fabric of choice? Triple layers of silk. Which incidentally is not only comfortable – it’s COVID safe

  • Practice breathing through your nose. Our nostrils are designed for breathing. (Our mouths for eating!) The nose effectively filters air and adds moisture and warmth before it enters the lungs. Breathing through the nose releases significantly more nitric oxide, which increases carbon dioxide in the blood, which in turn releases oxygen. If you’re mouth breathing, your cells are not getting as much oxygen, which can lead to fatigue and stress! 


  • Sit up tall and relax your shoulders.
  • Close your mouth and relax your tongue and jaw. 
  • Your upper and lower teeth should sit a little apart, tongue gently touching the roof of your mouth. 
  • Place your hands on the lower part of your ribcage.
  • As you breathe in you want to feel your belly expand – as your diaphragm contracts and moves down – and also your ribs expand outwards in all directions. 
  • We want to minimize the elevation of the shoulder and upper ribs associated with shallow “chest breathing” – but deep, oxygen rich breathing involves the ribs and belly.

Inspiration of the Day

“Breathe. To pause. To make space. To collect your thoughts. To remember. To face the next moment. To choose. And to feel free.” – Dido Owlnute

Today’s Live Workouts

Today is going to be a great day because we’ve got our THREE regular live workouts for you to join!


Join Adriana for your morning pick-me-up! This workout will focus on moving through a full range of motion and develop your full body control, flexibility, and usable range.

Recommended equipment: yoga block or pillow

Join Adriana at 7:30am (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 812 2541 6617
Password: 013104


Get an amazing cardiovascular workout on an indoor bike. The workout will simulate an outdoor ride, including a mix of intervals and hills.

Recommended equipment: bike trainer

Join James at 12:00pm (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 862 7308 7908
Password: 263088


This workout will challenge you to your max! Come out and perform the prescribed workout for the day. This workout utilizes all your skills, from coordination to endurance and strength.

Recommended equipment: dumbbells (or weighted objects)

Join Garth today at 12:00pm (35 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 842 2984 9491
Password: 510345


Click here to view this week’s schedule.

To learn more about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren directly.

Today’s Trainer Moves

For those of us that have been suffering from pain in our neck and jaws, Meg’s here to help. She’s offering up some techniques to help you relieve some of the tension you’re experiencing through your jaw and your face.

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Meg here.

Today’s Bite

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

Celery and blue cheese dressing help to tame the hot sauce on this turkey burger recipe. For an even lighter version, pass on the buns, and serve with lettuce leaves, sliced onion, and chopped tomato. Recipe from Taste of Home.


  • 2 tbsp hot sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fat-free blue cheese salad dressing


  • In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon hot sauce, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add turkey; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into four 1/2 inch-thick patties.
  • In a large non-stick skillet, cook burgers over medium heat 4-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165F.
  • Serve burgers on buns with lettuce, celery, salad dressing, and remaining hot sauce.


  • To freeze, place patties on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet; cover and freeze until firm. Remove from pan and transfer to an airtight container; return to freezer.
  • To use, cook frozen patties as directed, increasing time as necessary for a thermometer to read 165F.


Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.

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