TMJ (also called TMD) stands for a joint in your jaw: temporomandibular joint. This joint attaches your mandible (jawbone) with your temporal bone (skull). Injury, teeth grinding, or arthritis may cause TMJ pain. Occasionally a disc within the jaw joint slides out of place during sleep. Regardless of the cause of TMJ, exercises may be a helpful solution; a study at the University of Oxford shows that exercise may relieve TMJ pain.
TMJ can be a mere nuisance, or it can be a crippling condition. Some symptoms include:
- Pain in your jaw joint or jaw muscles.
- Jaw, neck, or face pain.
- Stiffness in your jaw muscles.
- A locked jaw.
- Clicking or grating sounds and accompanying pain when you open and close your mouth.
- Noticeable changes in how your upper and lower teeth fit together.
- Ear discomfort, whether it’s a ringing sound or a stuffed feeling.
TMJ Exercises to Relieve Jaw Pain
- Place your thumb below your chin and gently press upwards. Carefully open your mouth as wide as you can without pain. Hold this position for about five seconds before closing your mouth again. Repeat five times.
- Exercise the opposite resistance by gently gripping your chin with your thumb and index finger. Open your mouth as far as you can without pain.
- Using slight pressure from your fingers, press your chin down as you close your mouth. Maintain this resistance for five seconds. Repeat this exercise five times.
- Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Gently open your mouth as far as you can without moving your tongue. Slowly open and close your mouth five times.
- Hold a pencil or pen between your teeth without clenching your jaws. The pen/pencil keeps your mouth open just the right distance. Now slowly shift your jaw from one side to the other. Repeat five times.
- Using the same pen or pencil, shift your lower jaw until your upper teeth are behind your lower teeth.
- Gently stretch your neck muscles. Cross your arms on your chest, stand straight, and stretch your neck from side to side and from front to back.
Contact Osborne Family Dental for TMJ Pain Relief
If these exercises do not bring relief, or if your TMJ pain increases, contact your dentist. Osborne Family Dental offers quality TMJ treatment within a family atmosphere. Feel free to ask us your questions!