Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is no joke. The ache from talking, chewing, or other activities that strain the jaw muscles is a common problem for many that won’t go away on its own. While pain medication will temporarily relieve the pain, the relief won’t last forever. While there is no set cure for TMJ, there are other ways besides medication that you can use to alleviate the pain caused by TMJ.
- Muscle Exercises – Just like your leg muscles ache after a long run, TMJ pain stems from overexertion. The pressure of everyday use can wear on the muscles. Performing exercises to strengthen the temporomandibular joint can help vitalize your jaw and stop some of the pain before it can hit. A great exercise to start with is by slowly stretching your chin upwards and then slowly lowering it down towards your chest. This action stretches and flexes the muscles much like how warming up before physical activity is used. Be considerate of the timing of these exercises as performing them during intense pain may worsen the pain for some.
- Alternate Heat and Ice – When the pain is particularly intense, many can find relief by placing an ice pack on the affected area. The ice will work to mitigate some of the pressure and soften the jaw. Alternating heat after applying the ice is also a beneficial way to lessen the ache. It is recommended that you alternate the ice and heat in 15 minute increment. Start with the ice on the area for 15 minutes, and then switch to the heat for another 15 minutes. Repeat until your muscles feel relaxed.
- Seek Help – Talking to your dentist about TMJ pain is one of the most beneficial preventative techniques. Having someone practiced who you trust can offer more guidance specific to you. If needed, your dentist can fit you for a night guard or recommend other avenues of relief that you may not have previously considered.
Living with TMJ is tough. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to affect you nonstop. There are ways to ease the pain TMJ causes and offer you the much needed relief. As always, contacting your dentist to learn more about TMJ and how to ease the pain is the most trusted way to alleviate the ache. Don’t let the ache of TMJ stop you from doing what you love. To make an appointment to talk about your TMJ, contact us today!
Villines. June 2017. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317871.php