TMJ (jaw pain) from harder training blocks?

Anyone else run into this?

Never had this until a couple months ago when doing a lot more hard indoor work in SSB2 - and while it diminished while doing some Z2/training camp weeks that were less straight intensity - and now it’s back a week into build, making me more convinced that it’s related.

I know in the past, I would clench a lot on hard efforts - so I have been trying to be a lot more cognizant of releasing tension in that area regularly while riding, but it seems to be coming back full force again no matter how much I pay attention to this. Just wondering if anyone else has had this issue and any other ideas for how to manage it on the bike without the obvious “don’t carry tension!”

Has anyone found this to tie to some less obvious things such as other position-related connections down the chain that I should think about?

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I have the same issue on longer rides. Interested to hear what others might be doing. I haven’t figured it out.


Worth checking in with a good dentist (like me!) who knows about Tempero mandibular dysfunction (TMD). You’re probably bruxing at night as well as posturing/tensing accessory muscles whilst you’re exercising. A good Michigan splint worn at night for starters may help relax things and ease symptoms but can take a while +/- be needed long term.



Only when I have had headphones on inside. Happens when I have long intervals typically.

Use a mouth guard?

Consider your neck position as well – when going hard, are you hunched over and having to crane (spelling?) your neck to see even remotely ahead? The upper neck, near base of the skull, has a weird interplay with the TMJ, where they can refer pain to/from each other. Some, not all, TMJ pain can be addressed at the upper neck. Let us know?

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I actually had a new idea on this suffering through fang mountain +1 last night.

This season I’m using a music stand offset just to the right of my front wheel. I did this to allow more airflow from a lasko fan offset to the left side - last season I was jammed in a tighter space so this wasn’t possible.

I’m wondering if I’m subtly inducing a rotation in my neck from this when looking at the phone or iPad on it. I try to avoid staring in that direction when it’s offset for more airflow, and for longer Z2 stuff watching things, I try to put the iPad at left edge of stand nearly along centerline of bike but it’s an enasy test to change this up for a week and see what happens! Consciously remembering to relax much more frequently is not doing the job on it’s own.

I had this creep up before as well. I actually went to the doctor, and they said basically what Adam said above.

Yea, I think dentist is next stop unless I can determine that the off-center training desk was the problem.

Since this issue has never come up for me previously, and it dissipated while away from home trainer for 3 weeks, I’m pretty certain that it’s tied to indoor training. And with pain on one side, it has me thinking asymmetry - and I did reconfigure my indoor setup to have an offset desk, thus I’m hoping I can just reverse the trigger.

I have been doing some TT sessions as well, but those tend to be easier Z2 rides so not nearly as much stress and tension, and never ran into problems outside with them, so hopefully those are not the issue here but it’s a good point to throw in the mix.

Or maybe I just need to go on vacation back to Mallorca again to cure it again :rofl:

I’ll report back in a couple weeks…


Problem is now about 90% diminished after just relocating my music stand and whatever I’m focusing on dead center in front of me instead of 30 degrees off to the right as I had it before. I had done that originally to improve airflow from my fan, so relocated fan lower with more of an upward angle to get around it.

The only time I feel any pain at all now is when stretching jaw very wide, and I’d expect that to further diminish over the upcoming rest week as it recovers more.

Lesson learned - keep your visual focus straight ahead on hard intervals and the rest of your body will be better balanced… sometimes the solution is pretty easy :slight_smile:

Interesting about the off centre desk, I always feel really weird riding the trainer if my visual focus is off centre as well, it drives me nuts.
Just to add one thing: my partner has had TMJ issues for about a year and a half now due mostly to work stress. She had a mouth guard made by her dentist, and it has at least helped prevent her from wearing her teeth down by grinding at night, and has maybe helped with the TMJ pain itself slightly. But, last week she went to a physical therapist who specialises in the area, and after just one session, she’s feeling better than in months. The physio did some release work, and walked her through a bunch of exercises and massage/release techniques to use at home. She was also provided with a worksheet of the techniques to use at home. She’s improving daily. So, for people dealing with TMJ pain, it seems that physiotherapy can be highly beneficial.

My TMJ acts up mid to late cyclocross season. Those workouts and races are definitely the most intense of my year. After a training break and getting back into SSB the pain is gone. Sometimes it creeps in during mtb season if I have many races back to back. I am working with an oral surgeon now on some guards and some PT work to relieve the muscles involves so that I have a more long term solution.