Chewing, talking, and smiling are facial movements we make with little to no thought. But for someone with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), some of these facial movements can cause pain. Most TMJ symptoms can take a few weeks or even months to surface, but habits or behaviors that strain neck muscles or jaw aggravate some pain conditions. Luckily, these practices can help manage TMJ pain without undergoing any treatment.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep contributes to many health aspects. Supporting your neck with a pillow when sleeping can help minimize TMJ pain. It is never advisable for someone experiencing TMJ pain to sleep on their stomach. And if you decide to sleep on your side, avoid placing your hand on the jaw.
One way to increase mobility in jaw joints is to engage in jaw excises. Three major jaw exercises that can help relieve TMJ pain include relaxation, strengthening, and stretching exercises.
Avoid Certain Foods and Activities
Hard foods and activities such as yelling and yawning can cause an extreme jaw movement or force you to open the mouth forcefully. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid hard or crunchy foods, chewing gum, and large food bites.
You can reduce pain and swelling by compressing jaws with cold or hot water. Squeezing the jaw with hot clothing can help relax jaw muscles and increase blood flow. Use a light towel to compress your jaw with cold or hot water for around 15 to 20 minutes.
Standing or sitting in an awkward posture for a prolonged period can cause jaw pains. So when at work, sit on a chair with a backrest and take frequent breaks to relax your muscles. Then placing a pillow behind your back can help you sit upright when reading or watching TV. Recommended exercises for correcting standing and sitting postures include straightening back muscles, squeezing shoulder blades, and raising chest bone.
At-home TMJ pain relief measures may not be enough for someone with a severe condition. Dental practitioners at Contemporary Cosmetic Dentistry provide comprehensive TMD examination and intervention to help treat patients with temporomandibular joint disorders. Come in and see us today!