Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJ) affects people from all walks of life. People often notice symptoms but associate them with another problem such as stress or temporary jaw pain. Other people feel that it isn’t that big of a problem and that it can be treated by making simple changes to your daily routine. In some cases, this is true. But, if the jaw pain is persistent and recurring, it is important to be evaluated by a TMJ specialist.
To reduce the risk of developing TMJ, there are preventative measures that can be taken:
1. Stop Chewing Gum
Chewing on gum, ice or biting your nails can all be harmful practices that can lead to jaw discomfort. Chewing habitually can cause tightness in the jaw muscles and aggravate the joints around your jaw. Chewing can overstress the muscles and joints that are already being affected by TMJ to make matters worse. Constant chewing or grinding can lead to frequent headaches and/or migraines.
2. Massage your Jaw Muscles
By locating the correct muscles and bones associated with TMJ discomfort, massaging and applying pressure to the areas is often a good way to reduce tension and pain. Start by touching the corner of your mouth and then working your fingers back toward your ear until you feel a flat plane of bone. This is where your masseter muscles are located. By gently kneading the area, it stimulates the muscles and lymph nodes.
Another option is to apply direct pressure to your jaw line directly beneath your masseter muscles. Constant pressure can provide much needed pain relief to the area.
3. Exercise your Jaw
Strengthening, relaxation and stretching exercises can all bring relief to your TMJ symptoms. Strengthening exercises, like placing your thumb on your chin and pushing your chin downwards, are effective to do in between TMJ flare ups. While experiencing pain, this can make matters worse. Stretching your jaw muscles can alleviate pain while going through a TMJ flare up. Placing the tip of the tongue on the roof of your mouth then opening your mouth as wide as you can for 5-10 seconds can reduce muscle and joint tension.
There are also products like the Aqualizer to prevent muscle tension and weakness.
4. Homeopathic Pain Solutions
Arnica is a popular solution to alleviate pain. The herb is potentially dangerous if ingested in its natural form, but oral solutions are available once diluted. By placing the arnica tablet under your tongue and letting it dissolve, it works as a natural pain reliever. Arnica can also be provided in a topical solution that can be rubbed into the skin on the affected area.
TMJ is a serious issue and can be something that you will have to live with your entire life. By taking the proper precautions and being aware of certain triggers, the jaw pain and discomfort related with TMJ can be avoidable or lessened over time. However, it is important to consult a specialist once noticing frequent symptoms of TMJ.
If you think you might have TMJ disorder contact TMJ Plus for a free consultation at (817) 686-8125. Become TMJ pain free to become yourself again.