Having painful joints is never a pleasant experience. This is especially true when that joint is one of the most used in the human body. The temporal mandibular joint (TMJ), or our jaw, is in constant motion throughout the day. Whether chewing, talking, yawing, or singing it gets a work out. Pain in our jaw can manifest in multiple ways including clicking, locking and pain in the joint itself, headaches, and ear pain. Because our jaw is moving so much throughout the day, it may come as no surprise that having pain can become a major life disruption. If you find yourself experiencing jaw pain, here are 5 way you can manage symptoms at home.
5 Easy Tips
- Soft Food Diet: The type of food you are consuming can have a major impact of exacerbating your jaw pain.. Foods that are harder in texture such as, granola bars, carrots, pretzels, nuts and hard candies are difficult for your teeth and jaw to break down and can magnify discomfort. Try switching out carrots for an apple sauce or other soft foods including yogurt, creamy peanut butter, and cooked vegetables. These subtle diet changes will help to reduce excessive stress and work on your jaw throughout the day.
- Avoid Gum Chewing: Chewing gum is making your jaw work consistently which can intensify your symptoms. If you find that you are an excessive gum chewer, try switching to a dissolvable mint that helps to avoid the constant chewing repetitions of your jaw.
- Avoid Big Jaw Movements: Yawing and singing force our jaw to open to its max capacity resulting in irritation of the TMJ. As much as you may want to belt out the lyrics to your favorite song, try humming the tune instead!
- Modify Your Sleeping Position: Sleeping on your back is another way to help mitigate symptoms. Though this position may not come naturally to some, it helps improve head and neck alignment to reduce the chances of grinding or clenching through the night.
- Stretching: Like all muscles in the body, your jaw and neck muscles can get stiff and may need some stretching. Below are a few good neck and jaw stretches to start with:
If you find that your pain continues despite making any or all of the above changes, remember to talk to your physician or trusted physical therapist for further information. Physical therapy is a great resource in managing and lessening TMJ pain through use of hands on techniques and appropriate exercise progressions. If you would like more information on how Action Potential can help reduce your jaw pain request an appointment today.
Images credit: https://backintelligence.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SCM-Stretch.png
Sleeping position information credit: https://www.mitakides.com/finding-best-sleeping-position-patients-tmj/
Title image credit: https://www.isleepsolutions.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/woman_holding_jaw_tmj_disorder__1541692423_47001-300×200.jpg