Here’s a scenario: you get home from a long day of work, sit down to relax, and realize that you’ve got a thundering headache. Or you wake up in the morning, and you find yourself wincing at the pain you feel in your jaw muscles or joints. If you’re one of the thousands of people that might find these situations familiar, then you may be suffering from chronic temporomandibular joint pain.
Temporomandibular joint pain (or, TMJ pain for short) comes from a range of sources. If you’re like the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from TMJ pain–as many as ten percent of adults, according to some sources–then you’ve no doubt learned to live with it. But what if we told you that you didn’t have to?
What if you didn’t have to put up with TMJ pain?
Though there is no one quick fix for TMJ pain, there are a number of different solutions to help mitigate the issue. Since TMJ pain can be caused by a range of issues from grinding your teeth to overall stress, it’s important to talk to your dental health professional to help identify the cause. But until then, here are a few techniques to help manage your pain!
See, a big cause of TMJ pain is muscular stress and uneven muscular pressure. So what’s the solution? Stretches and exercise!
It’s not as bad as it sounds, we promise. Since the TMJ joint itself is one of the most complex and often-used in the body, it can get sore and tired like anything else. Relief–for the TMJ, as well as any other part of the body–comes from stretching and strengthening! Take a look at these Colgate-recommended exercises for a good place to start.
Stretching and exercising your jaw doesn’t have to be hard!
If you’re not too interested in doing in-depth research, don’t worry! You can begin doing stretches for your jaw today by starting off easy: touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, and gently open your mouth as wide as you can. Hold that for around eight seconds, and release. Do that two or three times, then gently glide your lower jaw as far forward as it will comfortably go, and bring it back the other direction. Repeat five times, and you’re good to go!
Remember, as with all stretches, go easy. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, don’t push it! Stretching past the point of safety can mean hurting yourself more than if you hadn’t stretched at all. And, as always, make sure to talk to your dentist if you’re concerned with anything you may be feeling. Fixing a problem is a lot easier if you do it before it becomes a real issue! Likewise, if you have any other questions, feel free to contact Dr. Matthew’s office. Our staff knows teeth, backwards and forwards!
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