Temporomandibular joint or TMJ, is the joint that links the lower jaw (mandible) with the temporal bone of our skull. This article is about certain exercises to be practiced when you face some pain in this particular joint.
In the face, there are two temporomandibular joints, which are on either side; located in front of your ears. The name Temporomandibular is derived from the combination of the names of two bones that make this joint i.e., the temporal bone of the skull and lower jawbone called the mandible.
Jaw exercises help to smoothen movements of the mandible and the skull. Basically, TMJ allows you to open and close your mouth, move your jaw to both the sides; thus enabling you to eat, drink, smile, or show any form of facial expressions. It has several muscles and connective tissues to help in the smooth movement of the joint. It also consists one of the most powerful facial muscles of the body; the masseter.
The TMJ disorder causes pain in the ear or sometimes gives a strong headache. The condition affects the neck, back, and the head. It’s extremely painful and causes problems while breathing, sleeping, or eating.
Some Easy Jaw Exercises
- Sit comfortably on a chair with a strong back rest. Try placing your tongue on the roof of the mouth. Try to open the mouth with your tongue still in the same position; breathe in and out slowly for a few seconds. Then close your mouth. Repeat this exercise 10 times for better relief.
- People suffering from the disorder suffer from deviated jaws. It means when they open their jaws; the jaw shifts to one side. Stand in front of your bathroom mirror. Have a close look at your jaw and see on which side it is deviated. Try and open your mouth straight. This would require a lot of efforts from the muscles of the damaged side. Open and close your mouth correctly 10 times and take a breather. Repeat 3 sets of 10 each. Do these 3 sets of 10 for 5 times a day.
- Press your fist against the damaged side of the jaw below the joint. Maintain a low force. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat this 3 times for getting relief from pain on both sides of the jaw.
- Open your mouth as wide as you can. Apply pressure on your chin with the fist and try to open the mouth even wider. It will hurt a little, but don’t worry, as it will be a kind of massage to your painful TM joint. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise 5 times a day.
- Open your mouth wide and try to move the jaw to the right side as much as you can. With your fingers, push your jaw to the right side even more. This slight pull would cause a repair movement in the jaws. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Perform this exercise 4 times a day and notice the difference.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- The most common symptom is a pop sound, when you open or close your mouth. This sound mainly occurs while eating, yawning, and talking.
- People suffer from headaches frequently, and also experience pain in the joint and the ears.
- Patients can hear a ringing sound in the ear. Furthermore, there may also occur loss of hearing in some cases.
- Dizziness can also occur because of ear pain.
- Teeth Grinding or Bruxism can be a symptom of TMJ. Bruxism leads to teeth sensitivity, inflammation of gums, and tooth decay.
- Redness and swelling of face might be observed in certain cases. Temporomandibular joint disorder can cause over-bites and under-bites. Misalignment of lips is also a symptom of this disorder.
- A locked jaw can also be caused due to this condition. In a locked jaw, the muscles become stiff and stay permanently in a state of contraction. Furthermore, the mouth gets stuck in an open or a closed position. A locked jaw is a medical emergency and should be treated as soon as possible.
With regular practice of the above-mentioned exercises you can speed up the recovery of this joint disorder and prevent it from occurring again in the long run.