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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Dealing with Jaw and Neck Pain in Your Retirement

Cindy Cummings

Facial aging goes deeper than wrinkles and sagging skin - it can also present neck and jaw issues as you get older. Neck pain is reported in 15 percent of people, and most of them experience it between the ages of 40 and 60. A similar percentage of seniors experience neck and jaw symptoms later in life, including the occurrence of temporomandibular joint disorders, tension headaches, and bruxism. Most of these conditions are linked to the presence of stress. Stress is also the number one reason why people may choose to retire early. However, early retirement is not for everyone, and the strain it can place on financial and mental health can also accelerate the occurrence of jaw and neck issues.

Why Seniors Can Experience Neck or Jaw Pain as They Get Older

There are several reasons why you may experience neck or jaw pain as you age. Firstly, as you get older, your muscles can lose strength and mass. According to published scientific studies, muscle mass decreases 3-8 percent per decade after the age of 30. This, in turn, can impact the connection between your jawbone and skull as your muscles get weaker. Additionally, some seniors experience neck pain due to poor posture or muscle strain. This disrupts the alignment of your neck, and can cause aches and stiffness.  

Treating TMJ As A Senior

The risks of developing the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) increases with age. While a majority of seniors experience mild symptoms of TMJ, if left untreated, the side effects can worsen considerably. Research has shown that the occurrence of TMJ can be more prevalent amongst women than men. However, more severe cases are notable amongst men rather than women. If you do have mild symptoms like a click sound in your jaw, mild neck or jaw pain, or swelling, there are several effective treatments you can try at home for little or no cost. If there is swelling, applying an ice pack to the area can help to reduce the inflammation. You may also find relief in practicing exercises to even out your jawline like improving your posture and facial stretches. This can help with an asymmetrical jawline or misaligned jaw. Finally, try switching up your diet to reduce any stress on your jaw. Including soft foods like yogurt, smoothies and oatmeal not only reduces tension in your jaw, but is healthy for overall diet as you age.

Addressing Stress-Induced Neck and Jaw Pain

While TMJ can often be a by-product of aging, it can also be caused by stress - for example, the stress of stretching retirement finances. Therefore, addressing any stress triggers can also help you relieve any neck or jaw tension you may be experiencing. For instance, bruxism (teeth grinding or jaw clenching) has been linked to anxiety and stress. This can damage your teeth over time, and can cause tension headaches and jaw pain. Many experts recommend that seniors engage in some form of physical activity to manage their stress levels in older years. Additionally, speaking to a trusted friend or trained therapist can provide a great sounding board for mental and financial stress you may be experiencing.

Like every other aspect of your life, your body will change with age, and you may encounter some common medical issues like neck or jaw pain. The trick is to narrow down the cause of it, and not leave it unaddressed for too long. Doing so sooner rather than later means you can focus on the joys of retiring early - without any of the pain.

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

contact Billy and Akaisha at theguide@retireearlylifestyle.com

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