Patients who have been diagnosed with TMJ can begin to experience both functional improvements and reduced jaw, head, neck, back and arm pain with the aid of TMJ exercises and therapies. In fact, a clinical study of patients with TMJ found that participants realized improved jaw mobility and less pain after treatment.
TMJ Exercises to Do at Home
Patients participating in the clinical study performed a series of TMJ exercises, four times a day, that included:
- A warm-up involving repetition of small mouth opening and closing movements;
- Slow stretching of the mandible, using their fingertips to pull in a downward motion; and
- Holding the stretched position for 30 seconds, repeating the stretch-and-hold process three times.
As with any exercise routine, patients should follow a doctor-recommended approach. Depending on a patient’s diagnosis, Dr. Mitakides may suggest stretching or strengthening exercises as part of the overall TMJ treatment plan.
TMJ Therapies Offer Pain Relief
In addition, Dr. Mitakides may suggest a variety of therapeutic treatments to reduce discomfort and promote healing.
- Apply a heat pack or hot water bottle wrapped in a lightly moistened towel to the affected area to relax tight muscles and alleviate pain. Use caution when applying heat to avoid burns.
- Wrap an ice pack in a dry cloth and hold it against the affected area to decrease inflammation and numb pain. Cold therapy should only be used for 10 – 15 minutes at a time.
- Deep, slow breathing meditation can aid in relaxing the jaw and managing pain. Yoga or guided meditations can reduce stress and improve awareness of habits like jaw-clenching or teeth- grinding that contribute to TMJ discomfort.
- Massage therapy can relax muscle tissue, helping to lessen spasms and ease nerve compression.
- Use of over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen, can provide temporary relief when TMJ symptoms flare up. In addition, Dr. Mitakides may prescribe muscle relaxers or other medications to treat ongoing spasms and pain.
Every TMJ patient is unique. The TMJ Treatment Center team dedicates itself to identifying the best TMJ exercises and therapies to alleviate your pain and discomfort. Contact us to learn about how our individualized treatment approach can help you achieve long-term relief.