Treating bruxism with hypnotherapy
Bruxism is a condition that will affect most people at some point in life. It is Characterised by jaw clenching, gnashing and grinding of teeth. There are two different categories of bruxism, wakeful bruxism and sleep bruxism, with sleep bruxism a recent American study showing that it will affect up to 8% of the population in their lifetime. In this blog, I will briefly mention the causes and characteristics of both and what can be done.
Wakeful bruxism has been shown to be commonly associated with anxiety and stress In many cases, stress can often be insidious and we often do not realise not only the stress itself creeping up on us but also the associated behaviours that go with it. In many cases, people with bruxism do not seek out help till they are starting to feel the impact of it.
In my practice, I try with any condition to get down to the root of it (no pun intended). I carry out an assessment designed for this called the Vertical Descent Technique and it works by asking what the presenting problem and the thought related to it, then the thought related to that, then the thought related to how that other thought came about and then eventually you get to what is really driving the behaviour. I find this way you are not just treating the symptoms but by identifying the cause you stop the problem from coming back and encouraging feelings of calm and ego strengthening in post-hypnotic suggestion can help resolve this.
The hypnotherapist you see may also seek to identify if there are certain cues which trigger your Bruxism for example before a social event or dealing with a difficult situation at work. In identifying this the therapist will get you to reframe the situation. For example, before that familiar clenched feeling comes upon you ask yourself is it really that bad? Or is my stress misinterpreting things? As you do question your emotions you will notice that the usual clenched taught feeling has not started. The subconscious part of your mind is always listening and attributes for most of our decision-making and is less judgmental than the conscious mind.
In sleep bruxism, some studies have shown an increase in the cardiac and respiratory systems and it has been shown to peak in the times before rapid eye movement as a person transitions between depths of sleep again if this is an issue the use of suggestion in hypnosis could suggest that as you move from light sleep to deep sleep the muscles of your jaw will remain relaxed, limp loose and slack. This could be facilitated by the use of a self hypnosis recording before bed.
It is worth also highlighting that certain medications, such as anti-Psychotic and anti-depressant drugs can be characterised by muscle spasms and may display bruxism-type symptoms. If you are on any of these tablets and are finding the side effects difficult to tolerate then please seek out the appropriate advice from your GP or psychiatrist.
Bruxism if left untreated can cause serious damage to a person’s teeth and gums and jawline and does not just affect the individual but sleep partners, colleagues and friends. So do not let things get to the stage where you and your relationships are affected and contact me today to discuss in complete confidentiality and understanding.