What is TMJ?
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition of the jaw that affects more than 10 million Americans. Despite being so widespread, it still remains a widely misunderstood condition in the field of dentistry. The temporomandibular joints are located on each side of the head, connecting the jawbone to the skull. These joints also play a key role in the way your mouth functions while eating and speaking.
The symptoms of TMJ can differ from person to person, and since each case is unique, only a well trained doctor can make a diagnosis. This condition can cause many different types of pain in a person including chronic pain in the ears, stiffness of the jaw, soreness of the jaw area, jaw popping or a clicking noise, difficulty opening or closing your mouth and headaches.
While you should discuss the condition with your doctor, some chiropractors treat TMJ and there are also some natural remedies for the disorder as well as home exercises to ease TMJ pain.
How Can You Ease the Pain of TMJ?
Aside from medical treatment, there are some exercises to ease TMJ pain, and exercises for your jaw that you can perform at home. It’s important to understand that exercising your jaw will not cure your TMJ; it will just make dealing with it more manageable while you are going though treatment with your doctor:
- Make a fist and place it under your chin. Put your chin on your fist and place the weight from your chin on your fist. Open your mouth slowly, trying to not let your jaw pop while it’s opening. Fully open your mouth, hold for ten seconds, and slowly close your mouth. Repeat by doing one set of ten.
- Put pressure on your jaw by placing your fist on the outside of your face, near the joint. Place pressure with your jaw on your fist and hold for a few seconds, relax and repeat ten times. Follow up with the other side of your jaw.
- Open your mouth and slowly move your jaw from left to right. Repeat ten times trying to not allow your jaw to pop during the exercise. Now, in the same way you did the left to right exercise, move your jaw slowly from front to back, and repeat for another set of ten.
- Open your mouth as wide as you can, with your mouth open, move your jaw forward and to the left and then again to the right. Hold each position for ten seconds and then relax.
If you believe that you are suffering TMJ and are experiencing extreme pain, you should speak to your doctor before you begin any kind of home treatment. If you are already seeing a doctor about your TMJ, be sure to discuss these exercises with him before beginning treatment.