We often don’t think about our jaw, until it starts to hurt. That clicking sound while chewing may be a symptom of an underlying problem. An earache or headache may be originating from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If you are experiencing pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches, sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, and/or pain in the temple and earache, it is important to see a physician to rule out any underlying medical problems. Once it is determined to be TMJ disorder, your dentist and physical therapists can help create an effective treatment.
But how can you find TMJ pain relief today?
TMJ pain relief at home
To relieve TMJ pain, start with relaxation techniques. Often tension that forms in our jaw is due to life stresses. Practice deep, slow breathing. Spend time in meditation and learn to relax your facial muscles. This video shows you a simple technique to manually manipulate the muscles of your jaw. Make a conscious effort to not clench your jaw when dealing with stressful situations.
You also need to avoid crunchy and chewy food. Instead, reach for soft foods that give your jaw a rest. Stay away from the popcorn, chewing gum and apples for now. Puddings, soups and smoothies make great alternatives.
Reduce pain with heat or ice. Wrap a hot water bottle in a moist towel and hold it on your jaw but be careful not to burn yourself. The same with ice. An ice pack can numb the pain and decrease any swelling, but don’t put the ice directly on your skin and don’t use an ice pack for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Assess how you are sleeping. Are you grinding your teeth at night? If you are, it adds tension to your facial muscles. A sleep guard can be purchased at your local pharmacy that will help relax your lips and keep your teeth apart while you sleep.
TMJ pain relief with physical therapy
A physical therapist will be able to analyze your jaw mobility and release muscle tension in the neck and head area. Treatment for TMJ pain relief may include soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques and jaw exercises. A physical therapist can also help address dietary changes that will bring your jaw joint relief.
It’s time to stop suffering. Our physical therapists can help you manage and eliminate TMJ symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one consultation and a complete, thorough evaluation.