The rage the past few days has been that the new iPhone 6 Plus bends if you put enough force on it, or if you sit on it when it is in your pocket. Here is the YouTube video that brought it to the attention of millions of people:
What does that have to do with facial pain? Everything. Most people who own an iPhone are not going to deliberately try to bend their phone just like most people will not try to deliberately overwork their facial muscles. My point is that everything has a tipping point, which is a point at which something will break, or in the case of facial muscles, a point that will cause pain.
The superficial masseter, which is a very strong muscle, and is one of four closing muscles, is a muscle that does a lot of work during the day due to chewing, talking, and swallowing, and, it is working extra if you clench your teeth during the day, bite your nails, chew gum, etc. At night, it really goes to work since most people clench and/or grind their teeth at night. We really do not know why people clench and/or grind their teeth. There are a lot of theories but there is no definitive answer, and there is no medication that we can give to a patient to get them to stop the habit. There are medications that can increase clenching and/or grinding such as SSRI’s, which stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These are anti-depressant medications, and the common brand names are Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft,Paxil, and Lexapro.
If you start to feel pain in your jaw or in your temples, you are likely overworking your closing muscles, and they need a break. Stretching is something that I have almost every patient in my Beverly Hills facial pain and migraine headahce practice do, and my favorite way to have them stretch is to use a wine cork. It must be measured to the appropriate length so don’t just try sticking a cork in your mouth and expect to get better.
I do not recommend that you try to bend your new, or old, iPhone to see if you can bend it because there will be a point at which it will bend. For the same reason, I do not recommend that you clench your teeth during the day and chew gum for three to four hours a day for months on end since you will likely end up with facial pain and/or headaches. If you do have facial pain, please feel free to give me a call at 888.981.8981. In the meantime, I guarantee you that you can bend a paper clip if you try but if you use it for its intended purpose, it will be useful as a paper clip for many years. Treat your mobile phone, and your facial muscles the same way.