Many people who have TMJ don’t even realise what it is they are suffering from. One of the best ways to make it easier to bear is by doing jaw exercises for TMJ.
Jaw exercises for TMJ do not take a long time but they can really help the discomfort.
Symptoms of TMJ include pain in the jaw or in the neck areas. You can’t move your jaw well because of stiffness. Your jaw locks up on you and often pops or clicks in the joint and your teeth don't quite fit together like they used to. These symptoms are quite annoying as I'm sure that you are aware.
Jaw exercises for TMJ help to ease and relax the muscles in your jaw, so it can get back to normal naturally. This is also an inexpensive and safe way to help alleviate the pain you are experiencing. It doesn't take long to do and if you are persistent and go slowly you will see results in most common cases. They mainly consist of slow gentle movements that are repetitive.
Some common Jaw exercises are-
Use heat on both sides of the jaw. Take a warm, wet towel and wring out excess water. Apply the towel gently to both sides of the face. This increases the blood flow to the jaw muscles. After two to three applications, the jaw should be a little more flexible. It is also help to get in a tub of warm water and submerge the entire face completely into the water.
Massage the jaws. Take two fingers and gently massage the jaw bone on both sides of the face. Be careful to work the fingers into the jaws as gently as possible in order to avoid any further pain.
Try over the counter drugs, like ibuprofen. This will not eliminate the pain completely and should only be used as a temporary fix to alleviate the pain. Long term dependence on over the counter drugs may lead to other health issues.
Increase the intake of vitamins C and E. TMJ has been connected to deficiencies of magnesium and calcium in the body. Restoring these minerals to the body may possible eliminate some of the pain associated with TMJ.
• A Try putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth, opening your mouth wide with your tongue in place, and breathing in slowly for two counts, and out slowly for two counts. Release and repeat 10 times.
• B Next, make a fist and place it directly under your chin. Balance the weight of your fist and press as you gently try to open your jaw. The isometric energy should relax the jaw bone (mandible). Try not to allow your jaw to click while performing this exercise. Hold for ten seconds. Release and repeat ten times.
• C Take your fist and press against the left side of your jaw, below the hinge. Press your jaw against your fist and maintain a steady pressure. The isometric energy should relax the muscles in your jaw. Hold for 10 seconds Release 10 times and repeat on the opposite side of your jaw.
• D Press against your jaw with one finger on each side. Apply pressure evenly to both sides. Open the jaw very slowly and do not allow the jaw to click. If your jaw clicks, release and start again, opening more slowly. The pressure on each side should allow your jaw to open and close in correct alignment.
• E Once your jaw is relaxed and aligned, with a loose jaw and mouth, hold your chin between your thumb and pointer finger. Very carefully and loosely, shake your chin back and forth, allowing your jaw to relax and release. Do not attempt if this exercise if it causes you pain. Continue until your jaw feels loose, aligned and relaxed. Repeat these exercises once a day or more often if necessary to align your jaw. With jaw alignment and practice, your jaw will eventually memorize the relaxed positions and do them automatically.
Position yourself in front of a mirror, and observe your jaw as you move it. Use a very slow motion to open and close your mouth. You will likely see that it is moving slightly to one side.
Attempt to open your mouth evenly. Try to avoid shifting the jaw to one side as it wants to do on its own. Close your mouth evenly. It may be difficult initially but keep trying until you are able to open and close your mouth evenly 10 times. Take a break and then complete another set of 10. Take another break and complete a third set. Aim to do this daily.
Stretch your jaw by opening your mouth very widely. Try to open your mouth as widely as you can, but do not cause yourself any pain.
Use the same stretch to open your jaw to both sides. Open your mouth widely while shifting your jaw to the right. Then open your mouth widely while shifting your jaw to the left. You can use your hands to aid in the stretching process if you wish.
• A Open your mouth about 95% toward wide open or until you feel a stretching in your left and right cheek muscles.
• B Hold this open for 30 seconds. Use your watch or count slowly all the way to 30.
• C Close your mouth slowly until your lips touch together. Do not clamp down on your teeth, but allow them to remain apart beneath your closed lips.
• D Repeat this whole process a total of 3 to 5 times.
Repeat the above exercise 4 times per day or any time during the day when you become aware that your teeth are clenched together.
Wear a splint or mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth at night is one of the main causes of headaches associated with TMJ.
Keep your mouth closed and pretend you are chewing a piece of gum. Try to keep your jaw straight while you do the exercise. This exercise helps to realign the jaw in many cases.
Stretch regularly. Stretching your jaw by opening it as wide as you can several times a day helps to alleviate headaches. However, you also need to stretch your entire upper body. Stretch the neck from side to side. Hold your arms out and stretch your shoulders as well.
Alleviate stress in your life. Stress agitates TMJ causing more headaches. Start a yoga class, take cleansing breaths, meditate, or take a hot bath. Find a way to relax and ease stress.
Stand up straight. Good posture will help to combat TMJ headaches as well.
Don't clench your jaws. Pay attention to ensure you don't clench your jaw when you are frustrated, angry or scared. Clenching leads to headaches.
Be consistent with these TMJ exercises. You'll see better results if you perform them daily.