TMJ Causing Too Much Pain? Exercises You Can Complete At Home For Relief

The look of your smile is important for your appeal and confidence level, but the underlying health of your mouth, teeth, and gums is imperative for your well-being. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough importance on decreasing the tension and discomfort in your jaw area.

If you are one of the 10 million people suffering with TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, understanding the disorder is smart for finding proper treatment and relief. While orthodontic care and surgical procedures are beneficial, you can treat your TMJ discomfort through exercise. Using this guide, you will have fully understand TMJ and learn how to ease the discomfort through exercise.

The 101 on TMJ

Connecting your jaw to your skull, the temporomandibular joint moves a great deal. From yawning and chewing to singing and speaking, it is easy to see the joint's importance. While the initial cause of TMJ disorder is difficult to determine, the joint can weaken over time from basic use. If you suffer with TMJ, you will most likely experience the following symptoms:

  • Jaw tenderness, sensitivity, or pain
  • Difficulty opening and closing mouth
  • Clicking or popping sound when opening mouth
  • Joint locks when opening or closing mouth
  • Facial pain
  • Tenderness or pain around ears

To find the most effective treatment for relief, your dentist will need to find the cause of your TMJ disorder. While some patients may require braces or surgery to realign the jaw, oral myofacial exercises can offer relief in a less invasive manner. Thankfully, these exercises are easy to complete on the go or in the comfort of your own home.

Simple Stretches

These simple mouth stretches may seem insignificant, but they are effective for relieving joint tension and facial discomfort. Use the following simple stretches each day to improve your TMJ pain:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror and slowly open your jaw. Be sure to align your jaw properly when opening. Complete multiple times in front of the mirror to practice alignment.
  2. Watching yourself in the mirror, slowly slide your bottom jaw to the left and then to the right multiple times. Complete these stretches a few times each day, but be sure your jaw is in proper alignment.
  3. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and hold it in place for a few seconds. Practice opening and closing your mouth while resting the tongue rests on the top of your mouth.

Longer Stretches

Once you master the simple stretches, you can move on to longer exercises that require more movement from your temporomandibular joint. To get started, compete the following stretches each day:

  1. Open your mouth and stretch your bottom jaw out as far as comfortably possible. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat multiple times.
  2. Sit down next to a desk or table. Place your elbow on the flat surface and make a fist with your hand. Rest your bottom jaw on your fist and practicing opening and closing your mouth against the resistance.
  3. Tightly close your jaw and hold for a few seconds. Repeat the clenching motion a few times each day.

You do not need to suffer with the pain of a TMJ disorder. While treatment options are available, exercise and massage can offer you fast relief for your discomfort. 

Talk to experts like Barnstable Dental Associates for more information.