The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.
TMJ disorders occur when something goes wrong with your jaw joints and jaw muscles. Oftentimes, this happens because of a jaw injury, inflammation such as with arthritis, or overuse.
TMJ disorders may cause mild to debilitating symptoms, such as:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there's no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don't need treatment for a TMJ disorder.
TMJ exercises may relieve pain. These exercises help with
- strengthen jaw muscles
- stretch the jaw
- relax the jaw
- increase jaw mobility
- reduce jaw clicking
- promote jaw healing
According to one 2010 study published in the Journal of Dental Research, performing TMJ exercises increases mouth opening range more than using a mouth guard in people with TMJ disc displacement.
Jaw Release by @powerthroughmotion
- Lightly press on these muscles, do not press hard or you can increase the risk of damaging the muscle.
- If you plan on massaging or just putting constant pressure make sure you only perform this for 1-3 mins
- You can perform this a couple times a day but make sure there is a time gap in between.
JAW TENSION Rehab by @deathofthedesk
Give this simple Jaw mobility exercise a try:
- Lateral Glides
- Front and Back Glides
- Full Circle Glides
- Lengthen up tall.
- Remove jaw right to left.
- Keeping the speed the same pace the whole time.
- Move jar front to back keeping this with the same pace the whole time.
- Move jar front side back side keeping the same pace of all time.
TMJ SELF RELEASE OUT by @will_mcs
- When placing your hand on your forehead your thumbs should be at the perfect distance to massage the temple.
- Make sure the temple and jaw are relaxed the whole time
- Post-release mobilize the jaw by opening wide and closing a few times.
Meeting with a physio for TMJ Rehab by @Physiotherabeat
Sometimes jaw issues can contribute to headaches too
- Release tight muscles related to jaw movement impairment
- Access jaw muscles/joint from oral cavity if necessary
- Increase jaw movement awareness
Risk factors that may increase the risk of developing TMJ disorders include:
- Various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Jaw injury
- Long-term (chronic) grinding or clenching of teeth
- Certain connective tissue diseases that cause problems that may affect the temporomandibular joint
Managing your TMJ pain
Taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help relieve TMJ pain. A pharmacist may prescribe you some Muscle relaxers if the pain is too severe.
Doctors may also recommend:
- mouth guards to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching
- putting a warm towel on the jaw
- ice-ing for no more than 15 minutes per hour and not directly on the skin
- stress-relief techniques to help prevent behaviors that cause jaw tension
- Alternatively, acupuncture can be done to relieve pressure in the affected area
Symptoms of TMJ syndrome tend to be episodic and related to stress and lifestyle.
Prevention of TMJ syndrome symptoms can often be achieved using self-care at home
- eat a soft diet to allow the TMJ to relax
- avoid chewing gum
- avoid biting your nails
- avoid biting your lower lip
- practice good posture
Always consult your doctor, If the pain isn’t tolerable, You should do TMJ exercises when you’re relaxed. If you do them when your muscles are tense, it may defeat the purpose. When doing TMJ exercises, start slowly. You may feel some pain at first, but it should be tolerable and gradually improve.
If your pain worsens after doing TMJ exercises, make an appointment with your doctor.
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Temporomandibular disorders, dental care and you. (2019, Feb 1)
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, Jan 21). TMJ disorders: Overview mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/home/ovc-20209398
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, Jan 21). TMJ disorders: Treatment
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, Jan 21). TMJ disorders: Symptoms and causes