TMJ disorders (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders) cause significant pain/discomfort to the patient while performing activities like chewing food or yawning. Let us look at the various ways one can get TMJ relief.
On each side of the head there are matching temporomandibular joints, which are located just in front of the ears. TMJ is an abbreviation which refers to the joint, but often used for disorders related to that region. Most TMJ-related disorders are caused due to physical stress on the bone structure or around the joint. However, for some people the cause is unknown. Many causes are not well proven, but can give a person TMJ disorders. Such causes include a bad bite, orthodontic braces, tooth grinding, poor posture, arthritis, fractures, etc.
A person suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder shows symptoms like difficulty or discomfort while biting or chewing; grating/clicking/popping sound while opening or closing the mouth, earache, headache, jaw pain, and reduced ability to open and close mouth. If you are suffering this disorder then use the below home remedies and exercises for relief however, if you are going through a lot of discomfort or pain and having difficulty eating food, then consult a doctor to get the appropriate medical treatment.
Here are some home remedies for pain relief that you can use for self-treatment.
- By increasing the blood circulation in the jaw region you can get relief. Apply a warm compress to the sides of your jaw.
- You can support your jaw by using the mouth guard which is sold in sports store (which softens when immersed in hot water). This will give a temporary relief.
- To get relief from the jaw pain, you can give a little brisk massage to the affected jaw area using a warm compress.
- If the pain is too much then take an over-the-counter pain killer like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Limit your jaw movement and avoid any yawning or singing.
- If you are in the habit of grinding of your teeth, then stop gnashing your teeth as it can worsen the condition.
You will need to consult your family doctor, a dentist, or an ENT specialist depending upon your symptoms. The doctor will conduct a through examination which can include a physical check up, listening to jaw open and shut, and an X-ray to check for any abnormalities.
- Usually the treatment starts with gentle therapy. A person will be required to stretch and relax or massage around the jaw.
- Stressful actions like singing, yawning, or chewing gum are to be avoided. Warm or cold packs might also be recommended.
- The doctor or dentist will give appropriate medication according to your condition.
- Short-term use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen or any other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed.
- Other medications like antidepressants and muscle relaxant medicines can also be prescribed. Rarely any shot of corticosteroid are used for relief.
- Mouth or bite guards which are also known as splints are used to treat clenching and grinding.
Use these simple jaw exercises to get relief.
- Stand in front of a mirror and open your mouth slowly.
- Do this while keeping your head straight.
- If you are suffering from TMJ, then your jaw will open to any one side.
- Focus and practice slowly on opening your mouth straight.
- Try to correctly open your mouth 10 times then rest for a minute.
- Again perform the exercise. Do 3 sets of this exercise 3 – 4 times a day.
If you have a medical history of arthritis or had any fractures of the jaw in your childhood, or having extreme pain symptoms, then instead of using the above measures consult a doctor to get the appropriate medical treatment.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.