Headaches: Was it the chewing gum?!

Headaches, Stress and TMD

muscles in the head

Headache? A long and stressful day at work? Staring at a screen all day and not enough water in your system to keep the blood going through your brain?

All pretty common for most of the working people out there! But not all of us sit at a desk all day. Are you a hairdresser, a student, a cashier…. or a therapist like me? You also have headaches sometimes you can’t explain?

Annabel Gatjen, one of our Senior Physiotherapists here at Kensington physio, talks us through her recent experience of headaches.

I was never a headache person until it came to my final Physio Exams, 31 exams in three weeks, written and practical ones. During that time I was stressed but I have been stressed before and never had headaches. I made sure I drank enough, ate regularly, went for walks and took enough breaks – obviously after 3 years learning almost everything that is good for the human body! But the headaches kept building up over the course of the day. They didn’t start at the back of my head like ‘normal’. These ones were on the side of my head.

After a couple of days of having a headache almost every day, I went to see my Mum’s Physio and he asked me a question I didn’t expect: “Are you chewing a lot of gum these days?”– and yes I did chew a lot of gum because I read somewhere it would improve my concentration and so I thought it would be helpful for my studies. Well, I guess I was wrong! Instead of helping me concentrate that chewing gum gave me headaches!

One of our biggest muscles is the jaw muscle. The Masseter Muscle is one of the strongest muscles we have and the one that works with it is the Temporalis Muscle. You can feel them yourself. Hands on the side of your head and press your teeth together. Can you feel something moving under your fingers? That is the temporalis. Hands in front of your ear under your cheekbone and press your teeth together. Feel something moving? That is the Masseter.

These two muscles – and a couple of others – can cause a lot of problems, even if you are not a chewing gum person! Some people chew or tense their jaw as soon as they are stressed or even when they are sleeping. This is also quite common in sport. Doesn’t matter what kind of sport – Ballet Dancers, Swimmers, Rugby Players, etc. A lot of people tense their jaw to focus.
Tomorrow, please check yourself. Is your headache possibly coming from chewing gum? If yes, we know a good Physio who can help you with this problem.

Get in touch with Kensington Physio on 020 7603 0040 or email info@kenphysio.com.

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