Most people don’t think about their temporomandibular joints (TMJ) much, in spite of how much they use them. These joints connect your jawbone to your skull and therefore they spring into action each time you talk, chew, and swallow. And when something goes wrong with these joints, it can be quite painful. Today we’re sharing some great exercises and other options for TMJ pain treatment in Half Moon Bay.
TMJ problems occur when something goes wrong with your jaw joints and muscles. This often happens because of a jaw injury, inflammation or overuse.
TMJ disorders may cause mild to incapacitating symptoms, such as:
• Pain while chewing;
• Pain in the ear, face, jaw, and neck;
• Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw;
• Locked jaw joint;
Exercises for TMJ Pain Treatment in Half Moon Bay
These eight exercises may help relieve TMJ pain and improve the movement of your jaw joints.
1. Relaxed jaw exercise: Rest your tongue gently on the top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth. Allow your teeth to come apart while relaxing your jaw muscles.
2. Goldfish exercises: Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and one finger in front of your ear where your TMJ is located. Put your middle or pointer finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw halfway and then close. There should be mild resistance but not pain. Do this exercise six times in one set. You should do one set six times daily.
3. Chin tucks: With your shoulders back and chest up, pull your chin straight back, creating a double chin. Hold for three seconds and repeat 10 times.
4. A resisted opening of the mouth: Place your thumb under your chin. Open your mouth slowly, pushing gently against your chin for resistance. Hold for three to six seconds, and then close your mouth slowly.
5. The resisted closing of the mouth: Squeeze your chin with your index and thumb with one hand. Close your mouth as you place gently pressure on your chin. This will help strengthen your muscles that help you chew.
6. Tongue up: With your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, slowly open and close your mouth.
7. Side-to-side jaw movement: Put a ¼ inch object, such as stacked tongue depressors, between your front teeth, and slowly move your jaw from side to side. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth by stacking them one on top of each other.
8. Forward jaw movement: Put a ¼ inch object between your front teeth. Move your bottom jaw forward so your bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth.
Other Options for TMJ Pain Treatment in Half Moon Bay
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help relieve TMJ pain. Muscle relaxers may be prescribed for severe pain.
Doctors may also recommend:
• Mouth guards to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching and realign your jaw;
• Warm towels;
• Apply ice, no more than 15 minutes per hour and not directly on the skin;
• Stress-relief techniques to help prevent behaviors that cause jaw tension;
• Acupuncture to relieve pressure in the affected area.
Severe pain may require more invasive TMJ pain treatment in Half Moon Bay, such as corticosteroid injections or even surgery.
TMJ pain may also be managed with these simple lifestyle changes:
• Eat a soft diet to allow the TMJ to relax;
• Avoid chewing gum, biting your nails or your lower lip;
• Practice good posture;
• Limit large jaw movements, such as yawning and singing.
If you need TMJ pain treatment in Half Moon Bay, call our office today to schedule a consultation. You don’t have to live in pain – let’s discuss your options for relief.