Exercises to help you find relief from jaw pain
Jaw pain keeping you up and night or preventing you from enjoying your favorite foods? You may have TMJ dysfunction, or temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is where your jawbone connects to your skull, and whether you realize it or not, you use it constantly! Every time you talk, chew, laugh, swallow, yawn or move your mouth, your TMJ is engaged. And if you’re suffering from temporomandibular dysfunction, that means you’re probably experiencing consistent pain.
TMJ dysfunction occurs when something goes wrong with the joint itself or the muscles surrounding it. It is usually the result of injury, overuse, or genetics.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Grating sensation when talking or chewing
- Popping sound when chewing or talking
- Locking of the jaw
Exercises to ease your TMJ symptoms
There are several medications to treat TMJ dysfunction, such as anti-inflammatory medications, anti-depressants that help with bruxism that can aggravate TMJ dysfunction, and muscle relaxers.
At our office, we also offer TMJ treatments such as occlusal guards (night guards) that prevent excessive pressure on the jaw for night teeth clenchers, splints that stabilize the jaw, and braces that can align the teeth and jaw into a better position to alleviate symptoms of TMJ.
In some cases, TMJ exercises can help alleviate the painful and uncomfortable symptoms of TMJ either alone or as a complement to other TMJ therapies. Here are five TMJ exercises that may help you feel better if you’re experiencing pain and discomfort from TMJ dysfunction.
To relax your jaw muscles, place your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth and allow your jaw to go slack. Your top and bottom teeth will be slightly apart when done correctly.
- Goldfish exercises
This is called the goldfish exercise because when you do it correctly, you’ll look a little like a goldfish in the water!
To do this exercise, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Place one finger in front of your ear on the temporomandibular joint. Take another finger on the same hand and place it on your chin.
Open your jaw halfway, then close it. You should feel mild resistance. Do this six times in a row, six times a day. You may also do this exercise with a finger on both TMJs and two fingers on your chin for slightly more resistance.
- Tucking your chin
For this exercise, stand up straight with your shoulders back. Pull your chin back into your spine while looking straight ahead. You’ll know you’re doing it correctly when you end up with a double chin. Hold this pose for three seconds and then release.
- Resistance exercises
For resistance while opening, place your thumb under your chin and open your mouth gently. Apply soft resistance with your thumb. Hold for three seconds and release.
For resistance while closing your mouth, gently squeeze your chin between your thumb and forefinger of one hand. Close your mouth as you exert gentle resistance downward with your fingers.
- Tongue up
Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and open and close your mouth.
Need help with TMJ pain?
Our office offers TMJ treatments to patients all over Atlanta who are struggling with TMJ dysfunction. Give us a call today!