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10 Jaw Exercises for TMJ Pain Relief For Very Fast Help

In this quick read…

You’re going to learn the 10 best jaw strengthening exercises

…that provide serious pain relief from your TMJ problem.

More on that in just a second…

But first:

Here’s Why Your Jaw Joint Experiences Pain (And What To Do About It)…

Man doing jaw strengthening exercise
Jaw strengthening exercise

Almost every human has a TMJ, but not everyone suffers from TMJ/TMD. The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, the joint which connects the jaw to the skull on either side of the head. It is one of the most used joints and is essential for a broad range of behaviors, including eating, drinking, and speaking.

When someone engages in destructive behaviors like teeth grinding or clenching, even unconsciously, they can damage the joint and develop the Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

When someone has TMJ/TMD, it can lead to intense pain, discomfort, and trouble engaging in regular activities. There are multiple ways to treat both the causes and symptoms, including visiting a dentist or orthodontist for the creation of a special dental appliance, medication, and surgery.

However, if you don’t want to consider these more invasive options, it is also possible to use basic exercises to provide pain relief and stop flare-ups in the muscles.

Here is a detailed guide of the best TMJ pain relief exercises currently available:

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

Many individuals who suffer from TMJ do not realize they have the condition. However, there are several basic signs and symptoms which can help you determine whether or not you are experiencing TMJ/TMD.

  • Consistent pain or tenderness in the jaw
  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints (located underneath the ears)
  • Consistent locking of the joint when you open or close your mouth
  • Aching pain throughout the face
  • Chronic headaches and tension around the jaw and temples
  • Trouble chewing
  • Pain when chewing

When you experience these symptoms, remember to visit a professional physician to receive a proper diagnosis. They can help you find other ways to address your condition in addition to exercises and stretches for pain relief.

What Causes TMJ to Flare Up?

A TMJ/TMD flare-up is when you experience more severe symptoms or even a brand new symptom to your preexisting TMJ/TMD condition. They can appear at odd times and can be caused by a broad range of factors including stress, hormones, foods that are hard or chewy, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and much more.

Professionals recommend identifying the probable cause of your flare-up to manage that problem in addition to the symptoms. This could mean meditating, learning better techniques for handling stress, drinking more water, and avoiding foods that trigger symptoms.

Some common culprits of extra pain in the TMJ are caramel, meats like steak, gum, crackers, and fried food. In terms of vitamin deficiencies, the most frequent culprit is a low amount of vitamin D. Drinking more milk, getting sunlight, and consuming green vegetables are recommended to improve general nutrition.

TMJ Causes
TMJ Causes

How to: Treatments to Get Rid of TMJ Quick

There are several ways to get rid of the symptoms of TMJ/TMD fast, but the condition itself will require consistent treatment to better repair the muscles and help the joint rebuild cartilage. However, if you are experiencing a flare-up of symptoms, you can do stretches, exercises, make adjustments to your diet, and use painkillers or homeopathic remedies to address symptoms.

The exercises and stretches will be discussed in more detail below. To reduce the symptoms of a flare-up, avoid eating hard or chewy foods that put more pressure on the TMJ.

You can also use a medication like Advil or invest in homeopathic remedies like Causticum, Hypericum perforatum, Ignatia, Kalmia, Magnesia phosphorica, Rhus Toxicodendron, and Ruta graveolens. These can be taken orally or used as an oil or cream to apply to the skin over the muscles.

The 10 Best Exercises to Relieve TMJ Pain (For Jaw Relaxation)

In addition to utilizing home remedies for teeth grinding, many homeopaths strongly suggest using simple TMJ exercises and stretches at home to strengthen the muscles, reduce tension, and alleviate symptoms. Basic stretches can additionally improve mobility and reduce how frequently you experience popping and clicking.

There are ten basic exercises that can be completed.

1. Relaxed Jaw

The first stretch is the simplest and is called the ‘relaxed jaw.’ For this exercise, you need to rest your tongue behind your upper teeth and allow your teeth to come apart. Let the jaw fall and the muscles relax. This means allowing your chin to drop so your mouth is open and the muscles are not working to keep it closed.

2. Partial Goldfish Exercise

These have a strange name but are highly beneficial for individuals who suffer chronic TMJ/TMD pain. To perform the partial goldfish, you need to place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and then place one finger in front of your ear where your TMJ is located. Relax your jaw muscles and allow it to drop halfway so your mouth is partially open.

It is normal to experience mild pain when doing the partial goldfish, but the exercise helps the muscle and joint to stretch and reduce tension and chemical buildup in the tendons. Once you have tried this exercise for a period of time, you can attempt the full goldfish exercises.

3. Full Goldfish Exercise

The full goldfish is similar to partial goldfish exercises. The main benefit is once again stretching the muscles of the jaw and helping the joint work through tension and stress. To perform this exercise, once again place your tongue against the roof of your mouth and then place one finger underneath your ear at the location of the temporomandibular joint. Relax your jaw muscles again, but do so all the way so your mouth hangs open. After a few seconds, close your mouth.

You can repeat this exercise as needed. It is normal to experience mild pain, but you should stop this exercise and return to the partial goldfish if the pain is sharp or intense.

4. Chin Tucks

Many people perform the chin tuck when they are examining their face and making fun of the amount of fat around the neck and chin. To do the chin tuck, simply pull your chin straight back so you create a double chin. Hold this position for 3 seconds and then release it. Repeat the exercise 10 times in a row and then stop to relax.

5. Resist Mouth Opening

For this exercise, you are going to apply pressure and resistance while trying to open your mouth. The goal is to work the muscles around the joint. Simply place your thumb under your chin and then open your mouth slowly. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb to create a small amount of resistance. Hold for 3 to 6 seconds and then close your mouth. Repeat this exercise 10 times and take a break.

6. Resist Mouth Closing

This is the opposite of resisting your mouth open. Instead of putting your fingers under your chin, you are going to squeeze your chin between your fingers while your mouth is open. Attempt to close your mouth but apply pressure so you cannot. Hold that position for 3 to 6 seconds and then relax. Repeat the exercise 10 times for the full effect and once again take a break.

7. Tongue Up

This is the simplest exercise in theory but one that many individuals struggle with when they have moderate to severe symptoms. Raise the tip of your tongue so it touches the roof of your mouth. Then, slowly open and close your mouth.

You can repeat this exercise as much as you feel comfortable with. It does not need to be timed. Just remember to stop if your pain becomes moderate to severe. Also, make sure you are not forcing too much of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Just use the tip so you are only working the muscles in your jaw.

8. Side to Side Jaw

You are going to need an object to help you with this exercise. The object needs to be ¼ in. in size and should be large enough, you do not swallow it by accident. Do not perform this exercise if you are concerned your jaw will spasm and you might swallow the item in question.

To perform the Side to Side Jaw, place your object between your front teeth and slowly move your jaw from side to side. It is normal to experience mild pain or tension.

Over time, this exercise will become easier. As it does, move to a slightly thicker object so your jaws are further apart. Repeat over and over as long as you remain comfortable with the movement.

9. Forward Jaw

The Forward Jaw is simple and straightforward. You will once again need an object roughly ¼ in. in size. Once again, place the object between your front teeth. Move your bottom jaw forward so it becomes even with your front teeth. It is important to note your teeth should not be aligned already.

Over time, this exercise will become easier and you can start using thicker objects to better tax the muscles and improve overall function.

10. Jaw Gliding

The final exercise requires the ability to move or glide your jaw from side to side. To perform this stretch, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and open your mouth as wide as possible. Do not cause yourself intense pain, as that can cause more damage.

Once your mouth is open, slowly open and close it while keeping your tongue in the proper place. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

After completing the first part of the exercise, once again place your tongue on the top of your mouth. Reopen your mouth but now move your jaw from side to side. Repeat the motion 10 times. If you experience moderate to severe pain, stop and try a simpler exercise.

Learning to Relax

Besides stretching and exercising, it is important you take some time to learn to relax. Many individuals who develop TMJ/TMD did not do so overnight and are experiencing the results of many unconscious or subconscious behaviors. For example, people with bruxism (a condition characterized by the clenching and grinding of the teeth) are far more likely to get TMJ/TMD.

Teeth grinding and clenching can be caused by poor alignment of the jaws, which is why it is important to visit a dentist or orthodontist for a full assessment. You might require a dental appliance that will realign your jaws at night, or you could need braces to permanently correct your bite.

However, if your jaws are already aligned, you might need to learn to relax.

Yes, relax.

Grinding and clenching are behaviors that can be caused by stress. If you constantly experience stress and anxiety, you can learn basic relaxation exercises to help you control your stress levels and stop unwanted behaviors.

Here are two relaxation exercises:

  1. First, slowly inhale, and allow your stomach to expand rather than your chest. Then, exhale slowly while making your exhalation last about as long as your inhalation. Repeat this 5-10 times.
  2. While sitting or lying in a comfortably supported position, tense and release tension from each muscle in your body. Begin with the feet and work upwards to the head.

When you perform the second relaxation exercise, the goal is to teach you to be more self-aware. You will begin to release what type of behaviors you engage in when you are not paying attention and can slowly correct yourself so you no longer clench or grind.

Relaxation for TMJ
Relaxation for TMJ

Your Next Step For Best Results

These exercises will show you a large improvement in your pain.

But what if there was a better way?

Quicker, easier, and more practical?

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