If you suffer from TMJ-related pain, at-home exercises can often help provide relief.
TMJ dysfunction can lead to considerable pain and discomfort. Common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include headaches, jaw pain, back pain, face pain, ear pain, neck pain, fatigue and shoulder pain. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, it can be helpful to try some exercises at home. Read on to find out which exercises can help to alleviate pain while strengthening and stretching the jaw…
What causes TMJ dysfunction?
TMJ-related pain can be caused by a number of issues, including a misaligned bite; clenching of the jaw; grinding of the teeth; and trauma to the TMJ or surrounding muscles and tissues. Pain can also be caused by stresses on other areas of the skeletal system, such as the neck and lower back. In many cases, the root of the problem will be a combination of many different factors, which is why it is so important to take a holistic approach to the treatment of the issue. Whilst at-home exercises can provide temporary relief, it’s important to remember that in most cases you will require the guidance and support of a professional to identify the root cause and treat your TMJ dysfunction.
How do jaw exercises help?
Although it is not entirely clear how jaw exercises help to alleviate pain caused by TMJ dysfunction, it is widely thought that certain movements can help to strengthen, stretch and relax the jaw. Some exercises can also help to improve mobility in the jaw; reduce clicking in the jaw; and promote overall healing.
Some exercises that may help include:
Relax your jaw with a proper resting posture
In order to properly relax your jaw, try and rest your tongue on the top of your mouth, behind your front teeth. Keep your lips together and teeth slightly apart. An easy way find to where to keep your tongue is by saying the letter “N”
Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and place a finger in front of your ear on your TMJ. Place another finger on your chin, and then drop your lower jaw halfway and close. You should feel a little bit of resistance with this movement.
Put your shoulders back and chest up before pulling your chin straight back to form a double chin. Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
Resisted opening and closing of the mouth
Put your thumb under your chin and slowly open your mouth as you push against your chin. Hold for a few seconds and then close your mouth. Next, hold your chin with your index finger and thumb and close your mouth while placing gentle pressure on your chin. These exercises are helpful in strengthening your chewing muscles.
Side-to-side jaw movements
Place a small object between your front teeth such as a paddle pop stick and slowly move your jaw from one side to the other.
How can we help?
While at-home exercises can be very helpful in managing and alleviating TMJ pain, we do recommend that you seek professional help if you are suffering with severe symptoms. At TMJ Centre Melbourne, we take a holistic approach to the treatment of TMJ disorders. Our dentist and chiropractor team work together very closely to create a customised treatment plan for each patient.
To find out what your TMJ treatment might involve, please have a look here.
If you would like to make an appointment to see us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to providing you with a treatment plan that alleviates pain and discomfort and improves your overall quality of life.