The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge which connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull in front of each ear. It allows you to move your jaw up-and-down and side-to-side in order to speak, chew, and yawn.
When something goes wrong with the TMJ, a TMJ disorder (TMD) may occur. While the direct causes remain unknown, dentists believe symptoms develop from issues with the jaw muscles or with parts of the joint itself.
TMD can be a result of the following:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Movement of the soft disc or cushion between the ball and socket of the joint
- Joint arthritis
Exercises for TMD Pain Relief
While the discomfort can disappear on its own, many people attempt to get rid of the pain even sooner by doing exercises which help ease the irritation.
Helpful exercises for pain relief include:
- Stretching exercises – Gently stretching the jaw and joint can keep the pain from TMJ away. An effective way to stretch the jaw is by pressing the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth, then gradually opening your mouth as wide as possible without causing any pain. However, if you feel pain, you may require additional time to rest before trying this exercise.
- Strengthening exercises – To perform a resisted opening exercise, place one of your thumbs directly under your chin and gently push as you slowly open your mouth, keeping it open for a few seconds before closing it. To perform a resisted closing exercise, position your thumb under your child once again, but then put your index finger from the same hand on the ridge between your chin and lower lip. As you close your mouth, push gently to offer minimal resistance.
- Relaxing exercises – If your TMD is stress-related, breathing exercises work best to ease tension in the jaw muscles. Try inhaling for five or 10 seconds, then slowly exhaling.
If you are interested in exceptional oral health services, schedule an appointment with Austell Dental Associates today.