The temporomandibular joint or TMJ helps a person to open and close the mouth. Your TMJ allows for the forward, backward and side-to-side movement of your jaw. A TMJ disorder can occur when something goes wrong with the TMJ. Pain and discomfort are usually associated with TMJ disorders.
TMJ pain relief exercises
TMJ disorders occur when something goes wrong with the jaw joints as well as the jaw muscles. This usually happens due to a jaw injury, overuse or an inflammation. Some symptoms of the disorders include pain while chewing and pain in the face, jaw, ear and neck. Other symptoms include headaches, the locking of the jaw joint and popping, grating and clicking sounds in the jaw when someone opens and closes the mouth. TMJ exercises can help ease the pain. The exercises help to strengthen jaw muscles, stretch and relax the jaw, promote jaw healing, increase jaw mobility and reduce jaw clicking.
Several TMJ strengthening exercises can be performed between TMJ flare-ups. The exercises can keep the pain from returning. These exercises often involve opening and closing the mouth while placing some degree of resistance on the chin. One simple exercise involves placing the thumb under the chin and pushing the chin gently downward against it.
A person should continue opening the mouth against the force from the thumb. The mouth should be kept open for a couple of seconds before slowly closing it. The other one involves someone first opening the mouth wide. The index finger should be put between the lower lip and chin. A person should then push inward while closing the mouth against the resistance.
Stretching and relaxation exercises
Stretching the jaw as well as the joint area can help keep the pain from returning. Stretching the jaw may involve pressing the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth. A person should then open the mouth as much as possible without it becoming painful. A person should stop performing the exercise if it becomes painful.
There are several other similar exercises that focus on moving the jaw on its own that can help. Exercises that help someone relax can also ease the pain especially if it is stress-related. Breathing exercises can ease jaw muscle tension. A person who is feeling tense should try inhaling for a count of five or 10 before exhaling slowly.
Sometimes, TMJ disorders may go away on their own. But for certain persistent symptoms, including pain, TMJ exercises are often recommended. These exercises can provide pain relief. But these exercises should not be done when a person is in severe pain. Waiting until the pain is better prior to starting a TMJ exercise regimen is often recommended.
When doing TMJ exercises, you should start slowly. You should not be discouraged if you feel some pain at first. But it should be tolerable. If the pain is severe, you should contact a dentist. You should do the exercises when you are relaxed. If the pain becomes worse after doing the exercises, schedule an appointment with your dentist.
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