Having temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can be a hassle. It creates discomfort in your face and jaw. Unfortunately, it can even disrupt your daily life. Therefore, you might want to seek options to relieve your pain. There are many treatment options available to reduce your symptoms. However, you can play an active role in managing your TMJ symptoms through self-care techniques. Of course, you should always consult your dentist before starting any routine for TMJ.
Decoding TMJ Disorders
To understand how self-care helps your TMJ, it is helpful to know how TMJ affects your jaw.
The TMJ is the hinge joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders occur when this joint is injured or inflamed. As a result, you can suffer from pain or stiffness in the joint. With mild TMJ, you may feel a clicking or popping sensation in your jaw when you open or close your mouth. Other patients report stiffness. Many people have chronic headaches as a result of TMJ.
Using self-care techniques can empower you to take control of your TMJ symptoms. They can offer relief and potentially reduce your need for more invasive interventions.
Rest and Relaxation
One method you can use to help your jaw is through rest and relaxation. TMJ can cause tension in your jaw muscles. This strain can travel across your face and into your neck. Resting your jaw can give it the break it needs to recover. So, you can try eating softer foods that require less effort to eat.
One of the factors that can cause TMJ is stress. Furthermore, stress can exacerbate TMJ symptoms. Using relaxation techniques can help reduce your stress and TMJ symptoms. Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are known to help people relax. As a result, you can lessen your TMJ symptoms.
Warm Compresses and Cold Packs
Another way that you can help your TMJ symptoms is with temperature therapy. Warm compresses can help relax tense muscles and alleviate pain. You can use a warm, damp cloth or a heating pad as a warm compress. Just make sure that the compress isn’t too hot to avoid burns.
Using cold packs can help reduce inflammation and numb the area. This can provide temporary pain relief. However, you should wrap the cold pack in a cloth to prevent direct contact with your skin.
Gentle Jaw Exercises
If you can reduce the muscle tension in your jaw, you can help with the TMJ pain. Another reason for TMJ is muscle weakness. So, you can implement some techniques to help your muscles and joints.
You can expand your range of motion with certain exercises. You can try gently opening and closing your mouth or moving it side-to-side. Additionally, you can protrude and retract your jaw. These exercises can improve your jaw flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
Resistance exercises can also help strengthen your jaw muscles. You can do this by placing your thumb under your chin. Then, you can gently push against it while pushing your chin up against your thumb.