Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, also known as TMJ or TMD, affects approximately 35 million individuals in the United States. TMJ is pain around the jaw joint and it can greatly affect the jaw’s movements. Individuals who experience this pain should visit specialists to discuss TMJ symptoms and treatment options. Symptoms of this disorder include excessive pain in the jaw area, aching around the ear, headache, difficulty in chewing and moving the jaw. Luckily, this is a short-term disorder and there are many TMJ / TMD treatment options to help ease this pain. Below are five best exercises to make moving the jaw much easier.
1. Chin Tucks
A simple exercise is to perform several chin tucks. This is simply tucking your chin into your neck and extending it back out again. Hold your chin close to your neck for at least three seconds before extending it back out.
2. Stretch Your Jaw
Simply stretching your jaw regularly is an excellent TMJ remedy. However, for the stretch to be productive, you must completely relax your jaw and then slowly open your mouth as far as possible. This is another exercise you will want to repeat several times for it to be productive.
3. Resistance On the Chin
You want to strengthen your jaw and there are several exercises that help you to do this. One exercise is to put your thumb under your chin and place some resistance on the area. Then, you will slowly stretch your mouth open as far as you can, hold it for approximately three seconds and then close the mouth.
Another popular TMJ / TMD treatment is performing stress-reducing exercises. Stress is linked to TMJ as much of the pain from this disorder is caused by clenching and grinding your teeth — both are common actions when the body is feelings significant amounts of stress. For a relaxation exercise, close your eyes and inhale slowly for three seconds. Hold your breath for a minimum of five seconds and then slowly exhale. Repeat this breathing several times. As you breathe, concentrate on your breathing and releasing the tension in your muscles. To truly benefit from this exercise, do it several times throughout the day.
5. Zig-Zag Stretches
While there are several TMJ remedies to help stretch your jaw, this one is simple but you can immediately feel a difference. To do the stretch, you must keep your mouth closed. Shift your eyes to one direction — whether the right or the left — and then extend and stretch your jaw as far as possible in the other direction. Do not move your head and do not open your mouth.
If you are dedicated and persistent during your TMJ / TMD treatment, you’ll feel better and the pain will ease. However, be sure to speak with a specialist who can look at your body and make recommendations based on your specific case.