If you have TMJ, chances are you’ve already visited your dentist to get on a treatment plan and are somewhere on the road to recovery. However, the pain may still be sticking with you during treatment, so we’ve compiled a short list of simple methods that will help you cope while getting the professional treatment you need.
Massage Your Jaws
The pain and aches you’re feeling could be coming from muscle spasms in your jaw. Try giving your jaw joints a gentle message to help relax and soothe the tight muscles. These joints are located in front of your ears, so you’ll have easy access and swift relief.
Heat is a great natural muscle relaxant. You can utilize a hot water bottle or heating pad to ease the ache in your jaw, as well as in your neck and shoulders. Just be sure that you keep the heat on low so that you avoid burning your skin, and never sleep with a heating pad. Be sure to hydrate and enjoy the relaxing heat!
An ice pack makes for an excellent way to relieve pain in your jaw joints, neck, and shoulder muscles. We recommend alternating the heat and the cold, which will combat both muscle pain and muscle tightness. Simply apply your heat source for approximately 20 minutes, then switch to cold for 5-10 minutes. Alternate between hot and cold until you have achieved the relief you need.
Eliminate Bad Habits
If you have TMJ, you should avoid stress on your jaw, neck, and shoulders as much as possible. This includes resting your head against your hand, holding the phone between your cheek/chin and your shoulder, as well as clenching or grinding your teeth. Work on improving your posture and invest in a Bluetooth headset, and if you catch yourself unconsciously clenching/grinding your teeth try gently holding a cork between your teeth until you’ve relaxed or utilize a mouth guard.
Focus On Relaxing
Stress is a major cause of TMJ and its issues. Explore different relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and yoga. Start giving more time to your favorite hobbies again, find moments to indulge yourself, and don’t withhold necessary self-care.
Relax. Stress is a major contributor to TMJ problems. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or progressive relaxation (in which you consciously relax muscles starting with the head and working down the body to the feet) can help, as can an enjoyable hobby or regular exercise.
TMJ can be a difficult health concern to overcome. On top of these simple coping methods, we recommend consulting your dentist for professional treatment plans so that you can get the total care that you need. Schedule an appointment with our office at (562) 434-6414 and we can assist you with all of your TMJ concerns.