Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can result in excruciating pain or tenderness in your jaw. This pain can make it difficult to do many of the things we do on a daily basis. Luckily, there are several TMJ home treatments that can help relieve this discomfort.
We use our jaw muscles every day to chew our food, speak, and breathe through our mouths. These actions rest upon a joint called the temporomandibular joint, named for the mandibular bone (jaw bone), and the point on the skull it attaches to (temporal bone). This sliding hinge can be the source of pain felt in the joint itself, as well as the muscles that control jaw movement.
The exact reasons for TMJ disorders to develop may be difficult to determine, but can be the result of several factors including genetics, arthritis, or jaw injury.
Thankfully, most cases of TMJ disorders are temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care.
TMJ home treatment exercises
The following are just some of these methods you can try at home today.
By performing specific jaw exercises, you can strengthen and stretch these muscles, helping to reduce pain symptoms.
Exercise #1: Open your jaw as wide as you can and move it gradually to the right and hold for 10 seconds, then return to the middle. Next, gradually move your jaw to the left and hold for 10 seconds. Now, return your jaw to the middle and close your mouth. Repeat this exercise four or five times.
Exercise #2: Using the index finger of your right hand, trace your jaw hinge on the right side. Once there, massage the muscles with a downward action of your finger. Repeat this exercise as much as you like on both sides of your temporomandibular joint.
Exercise #3: Open your jaw as wide as you can and place the tip of your tongue upwards to touch the roof of your mouth, keeping it there. Try to slide the tip of your tongue along the roof of your mouth backward and hold for five seconds. Now, fully extend your tongue out of your mouth and stretch it out as far as you can, holding it out for five seconds. Repeat this exercise five to 10 times.
Learning to handle stress levels can help reduce your perception of pain, especially with TMJ disorder. There are many different relaxation techniques you can choose from, but the following are great for relaxing the jaw muscles.
Exercise #1: Sit with your back straight up and open your mouth in a relaxed manner. Now, bend your back to point your forehead to the sky and take in a deep breath, and then slowly exhale. Return to the original position and repeat.
Exercise #2: Sit up straight and bend your head forward until your chin touches your chest. Now, interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your head. Push your head back while you comfortably resist with your hands. Repeat this exercise three to five times a day to relax your entire spinal cord.
Exercise #3: Lie down on your back and place your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest and relax. Breathe normally for as long as you like. When you are ready, inhale deep breaths, taking the time to feel the air pass through your trachea deep down to your belly, and then slowly exhale. Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times in one sitting.
Lifestyle changes that may improve TMJ pain
Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day helps to keep you from becoming dehydrated, which is a cause of muscle cramps in the neck, shoulders, and mandibular joints.
Getting your daily recommended values of calcium and magnesium through your diet may also play a role in alleviating TMJ pain. An average adult requires a daily magnesium intake of 310 mg, while the average calcium intake is around 1,000 mg per day.
Sitting with poor posture can be a major cause of TMJ disorder, so it is important to sit straight when seated for extended periods of time. Taking frequent breaks by getting up and moving around can help you in this effort.
It is also possible that any prescribed medication you are currently using may be causing increased muscular strain, aggravating TMJ pain. It may be worth it to speak to your doctor if your suspect your medication may be a factor.
TMJ home remedies
The following are some home remedies to try if you suffer from TMJ pain.
Mustard oil: This oil is rich in magnesium, a mineral that is crucial for maintaining the health and strength of muscles. Mustard oil can be quickly absorbed by the skin to help relieve pain and reduce the rigidity of the muscles and bones in the jaw due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Ice pack: Directly applying an ice-filled bag on the part of the jaw experiencing pain can be a great method to relieving TMJ pain. The cold sensation will help relax tight muscles and calm overactive pain receptors.
Rest your jaws: We use our jaw muscles every single day, so giving them the occasional rest can help relieve the stress and pain that they normally go though. Take a break from chewing gum and all other non-essential chewing motions to help achieve this.
Eucalyptus oil: This essential oil can be a great choice for relieving your TMJ pain due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Use the oil mixture by massaging it into the joints with the most pain to help reduce tension and tightness. Eucalyptus oil is among the best TMJ home remedies.
Curd: Pack in valuable nutrients by eating two cups of unsweetened curd daily. It can be great for your body overall. It is also a great source of calcium, vital for the jaw bones and muscles.