When the pain of TMJ disorder hits, it can be brutal. It can make simple things such as chewing, yawning, or even talking uncomfortable. And while it is important—in any instance where there is pain—to discover and solve the root of the problem, we also know that it is not always possible to do so right away.
Long-term relief and healing can take time and sometimes you need short-term relief.
For those cases, look no further than this post! We will dive into 6 exercises to perform when you’re having TMJ jaw pain. These exercises can either be to strengthen the jaw, relax the jaw, or stretch the jaw.
Here are 6 easy jaw exercises that you can perform for short-term TMJ relief.
1. Chin tucks (Stretch)
This are just what they sound like. Keeping your shoulders back and your chest up, tuck your chin into your neck. You will essentially create a “double chin” here. Hold this tucked position for 3 seconds then relax to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
2. Relaxed Jaw (Relax)
Because your jaw gets so tense sometimes, it’s important to relax those muscles. Place your tongue on the top of your mouth, behind your upper front teeth. Allow your teeth to come apart (your mouth to open) while relaxing your jaw muscles. Let this be a natural relaxation rather than forced as your goal is to loosen up your tense jaw muscles.
3. Goldfish Exercises (Strengthen)
For this exercise there are 2 variations: Partial and Full Opening
Partial: Place your tongue to the roof of your mouth and one finger in front of your ear where your temporomandibular joint is located. Next, place your pointer finger of the other hand on your chin. Using your finger, drop your jaw halfway and then close. There should be some mild resistance, but no pain. Repeat these 6 times in 1 round and complete 6 rounds a day.
Full: Same positioning as the partial exercise above. However, using your pointer fingers, drop your jaw completely down and back up. Repeat these 6 times in 1 round and complete 6 rounds a day.
4. Resisted Mouth Movement (Strengthen)
This too will have 2 variations: opening and closing of the mouth.
Resisted Opening: Place your thumb under your chin. Slowly, open your mouth. With your thumb, push gently against your chin for resistance.
Resisted Closing: Use your thumb and your index finger of both hands to squeeze your chin. Open your mouth by dropping you jaw down. Again, using your fingers, place gentle resistance on your chin as you try to close your mouth.
Complete both of these exercises which will strengthen the muscles of your jaw just as you would strengthen any other muscle in your body.
5. Breathe / Stress Release (Relax)
This relaxation exercise is more about releasing any stress in general that you are currently holding onto. Without knowing, stress can cause you to grind or clench your jaw which causes muscle tension and pain.
While sitting or lying down, slowly inhale, allowing your stomach to expand (rise) rather than your chest. Exhale slowly and try to make your exhalation last about as long as your inhalation. Repeat 5-10 times.
6. Tongue to Roof (Stretch)
Place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Slowly open your mouth as wide as comfortably can (there should be little to no pain) and hold this open position for 5-10 seconds. Close your mouth slowly back to the starting position.
These exercises are meant to help relieve your pain for the time-being, so that your quality of life is not totally destroyed by your TMJ pain. But our goal is to create a better quality of life for every single one of our patients. The key for us is to diagnose the root cause of the problem—not just “fix” the symptoms.
Because there is no fixing symptoms or pain. If you solely focus on this, you’ll only get short-term relief for pain. Which can be helpful…short term. For more long-term relief, you need long-term solutions along with short-term relief. Our solutions drill down to the root problem and focus on fixing things long-term.
If you’re ready for that kind of long-term relief from TMJ pain and symptoms as well as a holistic approach to your solution, call our office to schedule your free consultation today! You deserve a better quality of life.
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