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Kettlebell Jaw strain related to lifting?

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi all,

I've been suffering from a "sore" jaw for the last 3 months or so. In the beginning I had reduced ability to open my mouth wide and it was painful eating. I do have a high pain tolerance though so I've been ignoring it. Last 3 nights though I can feel it more lying down than I can during the day. I've been super busy at work and have been tolerating it silently. Today found time to go to a clinic but turned out they had no expert in that area and they said I needed to see a dentist. I'm going to try to visit my old one tomorrow. Doesn't feel like a tooth ache to me so didn't think of a dentist at first. Anyway, since I took half a day off to go see a doctor, I had time to think about it more it dawned on me that perhaps this might be related to my adventures in S&S..

The bells have been getting heavier and I do most of my practice at 6pm (ie evening time). I've recently introduced (ie since Monday) a heavier bell (ie, there is a potential relationship to the issues last 3 nights also?), so I've been connecting the dots and am now wondering if this is just some stupid position/grimace I am putting my mouth/neck into while breathing while lifting. Does that sound realistic at all? If so I am wondering what I can do to address it. I'll go visit the dentist tomorrow anyway but just putting this out there in case it anyone else has had a similar experience. I am pretty new to lifting and currently 49.
 

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
Hmmm. I've been told TMI before but not TMJ. I looked it up. Some of these things sound pretty close. I won't mention it to the dentist and see what he comes back with. Thanks for the pointer @GaryT . I'll read up a bit more too.
 

oab

Level 5 Valued Member
It would be worth analysing your head, neck and jaw position while you are lifting. If you are adopting an aggressive attitude with associated postural-facial expression then this might be contributing. If your usual position of head and neck is for it to be forward then this may also contribute (NB many people have such a head-neck position due to sitting, phone, computer usage). Some work on postural alignment is likely to help as is some practice relaxing the muscles in the jaw-face-forehead. Dentists and doctors can diagnose TMJ but mostly will not have recommendations for treatment (NB general statement their may be exceptions and I hope you are luck and see a good one).
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
A good practice, in case it is from your training:

Before each set of swings, pattern the movement for a couple of slow-mo reps without the kettlebell, focusing on keeping tension out of the face and neck. Stand tall at the top of each swing.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Sounds like a potential TMJ issue to me too. If checking/fixing your form during kettlebell work doesn’t fix it, I will add that a good physio mighy be able to help as well.

+1 to what @Anna C said. Practice a few reps with a lighter bell (swings AND getups) where you practice keeping your face and jaw loose.

Keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth, breath through the nose. Somewhere on the forum is a whole thread about power breathing and neck tension as well, if that seems like it might be an issue.

The short of it is that you want to use you shoulders and body to lift/swing the bell, not your neck ;)
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
PS- it sounds like it is a new thing, so it very well could be using a heavier bell that’s making you clench your jaw. Check that you can do the movements with a loose jaw/neck and see if it helps. If not, see a professional.
 

jayjo

Level 1 Valued Member
I own a Shock Doctor. When you clamp down on your bite it lets you create more force in a lift. But if you clamp without anything in your mouth, you will get headaches and TMJ like symptoms. Also you might be eating too much chewy sourdough breads.
 

GaryT

Level 5 Valued Member
Sounds like a potential TMJ issue to me too. If checking/fixing your form during kettlebell work doesn’t fix it, I will add that a good physio mighy be able to help as well.

+1 to what @Anna C said. Practice a few reps with a lighter bell (swings AND getups) where you practice keeping your face and jaw loose.

Keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth, breath through the nose. Somewhere on the forum is a whole thread about power breathing and neck tension as well, if that seems like it might be an issue.

The short of it is that you want to use you shoulders and body to lift/swing the bell, not your neck ;)
Yes sir, I had it and I was fortunate to find a good therapist that fixed me right up. She retired and I miss her large.
 

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks all for the feedback. Note to self... visiting the dentist and getting your teeth cleaned etc is not relaxing on your jaw. Extra sore today. Had a good chat to the dentist about it. Checked bite etc and he said I probably had mild TMJ. No action right now except my current action plan which is to follow the assumption that this is caused by form/facial/neck pressure related to how I have been working out. I'm gonna back off the weight slightly, and continue working out while being mindful of the above. Some good ideas relating to practice swings etc above also which I will work in. I'm going back to Ireland on holidays shortly also so I might try get a date the the SF gym while I am there and review my form also. I'll report back as I discover more. I guess this will take a bit of time also and not something that will immediately disappear.
 
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