Could Mask Wearing and Added Stress Be Causing My Pain?

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

The world has felt like a crazy place these days. On top of the normal things we all deal with on a day to day basis, we are also bombarded with news around wildfires, evacuations and the ongoing COVID pandemic. Many people are feeling these stressors build up, not only in an emotional way, but also physical.

Have you ever stopped to do a body scan? More and more we’re finding that people are suffering from headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and even jaw pain. Take a second- analyze your body in this moment. Where are you holding tension? What areas of your body are you holding onto stress? When you’re wearing a mask, how do you adjust it on your face or scratch that annoying itch under it? Do you move it around by shifting your jaw? Life stress is often held in the form of tension in various places of our body. It is also common to hold the jaw tightly closed while wearing a mask. If you were able to perform a short body scan, you might have been able to identify a few ‘uptight’ places. Most commonly, these places include the jaw, neck, shoulders, chest and stomach. Let’s talk about some ways to battle this tension! Before we start, let’s try some deep breathing. Taking deep breaths is a great way to relax both our body and mind. Sit up tall, place one hand in your stomach. Inhale deeply, pushing your stomach out into your hand while avoiding excessive chest and shoulder movement. Hold this breath for a count of 3 and exhale. Push all of the air out of the lungs, and add an extra push at the end of your exhale. Repeat 4 more times.

1- Sit cross legged. Cross your arms over your chest and sit tall. Rotate your shoulders to the L as far as possible. Repeat to the R. Continue for 5x each way.

2- Sit tall in a chair. Sit on your R hand, take the L hand and place it on top of your head. gently pull your head down, nose towards armpit, and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 3x on each side.

3- Repeat the same exercise in the second photo, but laying on your back.

4- Sitting tall, place your R hand over the L collar bone. Gently pull downwards as you look up and to the R. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 3x on each side.

5- In the same position, reach up as high as you can with the L hand. Take a deep breath and switch sides. Repeat 5x on each side.

Lastly, try some self massage for your jaw! Place your hand on your cheek. Clench your jaw and notice the gentle pressure of tissue that rises under your fingers. Relax the jaw and gently sink your fingertips into that same spot, massaging in small circles. Try on both sides, noticing any differences in tenderness between the two!

Consistency and intention will always result in positive changes. Give these movements a try a couple of times a day, for a week. I bet you'll see some great improvements! As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns, or just want to reach out to say 'hi', feel free to call, email or drop by the clinic!

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