Waking up with a stiff jaw makes the whole day seem irritating. Let’s take a look at some of the jaw relaxation exercises than can help you provide relief to the strained muscles.
Exams, nightmares and everyday stress are good enough reasons for jaw clenching. However, when it becomes an avoidable habit, it can lead to serious jaw troubles. More often than not, jaw clenching is an unconsciously developed habit and a result of clenching teeth. A commonly seen example of the same, is clenching teeth in moments of anger, which results in jaw clenching too. Jaw pain, jaw joint pain, lock jaw, clicking sound in jaw joint, lower jaw pain, shoulder pain, earache, headache and jaw popping are some of the effects of prolonged jaw clenching.
Jaw Clenching Causes
- Dietary changes
- Brain damage
- Congenital deformities in the jaw
- Digestive ailments
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Drug usage
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Treating these underlying causes is more important than just following prescribed jaw relaxation exercises. Not only do these affect the jaw, but also lead to numerous health problems.
Exercises for Jaw Muscles
- Being aware of your condition is the first step towards treating it. Thus, be attentive to your habit of jaw or teeth clenching.
- As you get more attentive, you will realize that jaw clenching is done out of habit. Breaking a habit is easier than avoiding a reflex action, as what many perceive it to be.
- Slurred speech is another way of having a relaxed jaw. Slur your words completely, just the way you do when you are fighting your sleep.
- The other technique of relaxing your jaw muscles is keeping your mouth wide open for a long time. Reversing the habit of clenching, helps in breaking the habit.
- Next exercise is, slowly push your head backwards and support it with your hands. Push the lower jaw outwards, till you feel a certain stress on your throat, chin, and in your ears. Repeat this exercise for 20 times and then pause for a little while. Make three – four repetitions of this exercise.
- The next exercise is, open your mouth as wide as you can, while saying the word mouth’. It may hurt a little in the beginning, then soon your muscles will feel much lighter. Repeat this exercise about ten times.
- Keep your head straight or ask someone to hold it for you. Now, open and close your mouth as slowly as possible. It you have a lockjaw or any other TMJ problem, you will feel the jaw deviating towards one side as you try to open it. Make an effort to open the mouth in a straight manner. Perform this exercise at least ten times and then take a break, to repeat it for another three times.
- Stretching your muscles in the reverse way is another way to relax them. Similar to the previous exercise open and close your mouth as slowly as possible. Then slowly open it to the right and then to the left. Do this exercise at least three times a day.
Jaw relaxing exercises have to be done in tandem with therapy for its causes. Consult an orthodontist or an ENT specialist who professionally help you with this problem. Also, introspect your emotional health and figure out what is causing the trouble to help treat this problem better.
If TMJ problems are ignored, they can cause several limitations to eating, facial pain, migraines, stiff muscles and vertigo, which can affect your everyday activities. Delaying treatment, can make this problem a serious one, which can only be solved by oral surgery. However, in most cases, this problem can be solved by using a splint or with dental guards.