Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (commonly known as TMJ), is pain or discomfort in the joints of the jaw, face, and head. It may include popping, clicking, and sticking of the jaw, especially when talking or eating.
This article offers some helpful exercises you can do from anywhere to relieve your discomfort immediately and reduce them in the future.
Please note that the relaxation and stretching exercises are for immediate relief, while the strengthening exercises are intended decrease frequency and severity of future symptoms. Avoid strengthening exercises when you are in an actively symptomatic state.
1. Jaw Relaxation:
Place the tip of your tongue lightly against the roof of your mouth, just behind your top front teeth. Let your bottom teeth drift down naturally. Place a hand on your jaw to make sure that your jaw muscle remains relaxed. Massaging the muscle is helpful.
2. Jaw Stretching:
Place your tongue in the same position as in the first exercise, but with a gentle pressure. Do not press hard enough for there to be pain, and make sure that the pressure is only in your tongue, and not your jaw muscle.
Pull your teeth down, opening your mouth as far as possible without pain while keeping the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Relax, and repeat several times, trying to open your mouth slightly wider each time.
3. Gentle Jaw Movements:
With your tongue relaxed, take turns moving your jaw side to side and back and forth, very gently. Only go as far and as quickly as you can without experiencing pain.
4. Strengthening by Closing:
Begin with your mouth closed. Place the pad of your thumb on the bottom of your chin, and give a little resistance. Push your jaw down against the resistance. Only resist as strongly as you can without causing pain.
5. Strengthening by Opening:
Begin with your mouth open. Press your index finger between down on the top of your chin, below your bottom lip. Give a little resistance. Slowly close your mouth against the resistance.
Only use as much resistance as you can without experiencing pain. Rest, and repeat 5 to 10 times.
6. Breaking Bad Habits:
When you catch yourself biting your nails, lips, or cheeks, take a deep breath and remind yourself to stop.
Every time you catch yourself in what should be a resting position with your bottom and top teeth touching, massage and relax your jaw until your bottom and top teeth drift apart.
7. Decreasing Tension:
Briefly contract then relax every muscle group in your body in order, starting with your feet and concluding with your jaw.
Contact AZ TMJ For An Appointment Today
TMJ is painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. While you may have little control over the cause, you can use these 7 tips multiple times daily to alleviate symptoms, eliminate exacerbating activities, and reduce future symptoms.
Perform them first thing each morning, last thing before sleep each night, and throughout the day when possible.
Contact Dr. Farrell today at 480-945-3629 to schedule your appointment to find out how your TMJ symptoms can be treated and alleviated.