The temporomandibular joint is an important part of your body. It is the joint between your skull and jawbone that plays a significant role as you talk, swallow or chew. Simply put, it allows the side-to-side, backward or forward movement of your jaw.
Most pains around the ear or jaw are associated with the TMJ disorder. The symptoms of this disorder may include:
The level of pain in each patient varies, one from another. However, adopting some jaw movement exercises may help relieve your pain. This may not be true for all those suffering from TMJ Disorder.
The TMJ therapy exercises are designed to not only make your muscles stronger but also help retrain your jawbone to move correctly and without pain. These exercises are simple jaw movements that will contribute to strengthening your ligaments and also relax your jaw muscles.
The exercises do not necessarily heal but they are designed to reduce the pain that you feel and retrain your jaws. You may feel heightened pain as you start the exercises, but as time goes by and with practice, the pain will reduce gradually.
TMJ exercises can be categorized into three types: relaxation, strengthening, and stretching exercises.
1. Relaxation of the Jaw Muscles
The relaxation technique helps relieve pain. There are various ways to go about this. You could clench your teeth, look ahead and let your jaw muscles relax. Simple, right?
Breathing exercises can also help relieve tension. All you have to do is breath in for a count of 5- 10 then slowly, breathe out.
Another way is to rest your tongue behind the upper front teeth. Let it lie gently, on the top of your mouth. Allow the jaw muscles to relax as you open your mouth, slightly.
2. Stretching the muscles
Stretching exercise helps one keep the pain from coming back. If at any point during the exercise you feel the pain increasing, then you need to stop.
Hold your shoulders back and your chest up. Pull your chin back to create a double chin and hold for about 3 minutes. You can repeat the process several times, say ten.
Let your tongue rest on the roof of your mouth. Partially drop your jaw, lower the tongue and then drop the jaw down and back, completely. This exercise is efficient when done at least twice a day, each taking 15 minutes.
3. Strengthening Exercises
These exercises are done by creating resistance to the jaw movement. Using your index finger and thumb, squeeze your chin. While applying gentle and horizontal pressure on the chin, close your mouth. This exercise aims to help you chew without pain.
You could also place the fingers on your left side of the jaw as before. Apply gentle pressure to the lower jaw to the right. Contract your muscles to create resistance to any movement. Let your lower jaw relax.
There are several recommended therapeutic exercises to help relieve the TMJ pain. Remember, these exercises are not meant to heighten but to reduce your pain. If at any time during the exercise, you feel pain, then you need to stop immediately.
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