Stretches to Alleviate TMJ Symptoms
Stretching the muscles in your jaw can help relieve pain associated with overly tense muscles. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends touching your tongue to the roof of your mouth as wide as you can open and closing your mouth, keeping your tongue in contact with the roof of the mouth at all times.
It’s also important to stretch the jaw in other directions besides just open and closed. You can move your lower jaw forward, backward, and side to side, holding each position for a few seconds and exhaling before returning to the center.
Take these slowly and gently, and if you experience pain, stop immediately. You wouldn’t want to overdo it and cause more pain or discomfort than you already experience. You also should not hear popping or clicking from your jaw during the exercises. In response to discomfort and noises, start over and make sure you are following all instructions. If discomfort or noises persist, please contact Columbia, SC TMJ dentist Dr. Hahn for expert care.
If you perform these stretches and exercises once or twice a day, you will help your jaw muscles learn correct jaw movement and can alleviate some of your symptoms. But while exercises like these can support TMJ treatment, they can’t replace it. If you know you have TMJ, you should seek treatment from experienced Columbia TMJ dentist Dr. Hahn.
Jaw Rotation Exercises
Jaw rotation exercises are a popular rehabilitation exercise for those suffering from TMJ. There are two variations: side-to-side and back-to-front. To perform the side-to-side exercises, you’ll need a quarter-inch object to place between your teeth. Softly clamp down, then roll your jaw from one side to another, gradually increasing the thickness of the object for more difficulty. Back-to-front exercises are performed in a similar way. With a quarter-inch object clamped between your teeth, slowly stretch your jaw forward then back.
Think of this as not lifting yourself above a bar but lifting your chin to the sky. Put your hands behind your back, activate your shoulders by pulling downward, and point your thumb under your chin high into the air, holding this position for twenty seconds before doing the inverse, doing chin tucks as low as possible.
Try these exercises regularly to relieve TMJ pain. It also may be helpful to schedule an appointment with a Columbia TMJ dentist for a TMJ consultation. Treatments such as mouth splints have also been known to lower pain.