Chronic pain can manifest as a symptom of many disorders, and TMJ is one of the most common. It’s estimated that more than 10 million Americans have temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder. So if you or a loved one has this disorder, you know you’re not alone.
You also know that dealing with this disorder can be frustrating, even if the pain and discomfort only occur on occasion. Still, there are some things you can do to ease the symptoms and find some pain relief. Read on for five tips you can follow that may offer relief from your TMJ symptoms.
1. Be Mindful of How You Move Your Jaw
Any movements that place tension on your jaw can trigger days of pain and discomfort.
You can try to decrease these symptoms by paying close attention to how you use your jaw and by making deliberate changes. For example, try to control your jaw when you yawn and do your best avoid yelling, as these things contribute to jaw overuse.
2. Choose Foods That Are Gentle on the Jaw
Like avoiding jaw movements that can bring on jaw pain, you can also avoid foods that may cause pain.
Focus on softer foods like mashed potatoes, soups, stews, and eggs, and avoid sticky or chewy foods. When you eat harder or crunchier foods, be sure to cut them into smaller pieces or take tiny bites.
3. Practice Jaw Exercises to Help Lessen TMJ Pain
There are many types of jaw stretches and other facial exercises that can help you manage your pain.
Your doctor, dentist, or physical therapist can show you how to do these exercises, as well as how to massage your jaw muscles. These are things that can help stretch and relax the jaw, as well as improve jaw strength and mobility.
4. Use Hot and Cold Therapy to Relax and Soothe Your Jaw
You may have used a warm heat pack or an ice pack to soothe sore muscles after a workout, and you can do the same for your jaw.
Hot and cold therapy can help relax and loosen your jaw and facial muscles. It can also help treat facial pain when your TMJ is acting up.
5. Try a Temporary Bite Guard
If you’ve tried other methods and they don’t seem to help at all, your doctor may recommend a bite guard.
A bite guard will help prevent you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. This is a temporary method, and your doctor can tell you how often and for how long you should wear your bite guard.
Ease Your Jaw Pain and Focus on Further Improving Your Life
TMJ likely isn’t the most difficult thing you’ll face in your life, but when the pain arises it, it can throw you off track.
Hopefully, our tips will help lessen your symptoms, and you can focus on other important things, like your marriage, family, and work. You can find advice on all those things and more when you browse our blog.