How to live a pain-free life while dealing with TMJ?
You can be experiencing TMJ discomfort for numerous reasons. Jaw pain, no matter the source, should not be disregarded.
In front of the ear, the jaw connects to the top of the skull. The Temporomandibular Joint is the joint between these two bones. People who have jaw issues may also have issues with their TMJs or jaw muscles. A diagnosis can be obtained during an evaluation and may be categorized as a temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD).
The two bones and a disc that make up the TMJ are part of a complicated joint. Your jaw’s joints need to open in two phases to work properly. The mandible rotates inside the joint during the initial phase of opening.
The mandible and disc then move forwards on the temporalis bone during a translational phase to complete a full opening. The jaw might become out of alignment and experience painful sensations if the movement of the joints on either side is not synchronized.
You may test out a few physical therapy activities to see whether they work.
Relaxed jaw exercise
In this exercise, you must place your tongue behind the upper front teeth on the top of the mouth. Your teeth will fall out if you relax your jaw muscles.
Goldfish exercises (full and partial opening)
Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth and place one finger on each chin and TMJ. Put your lower jaw back in its proper place. For a version of this exercise, drop your lower jaw and back completely while placing one finger on each TMJ. Repeat this exercise six times to finish a set.
Now you will have to place your tongue on the roof of the mouth and one finger in front of your ear, which is where your TMJ is. Place your middle or pointer finger under your chin. Close the jaw after lowering it halfway. Although there should be some resistance, it shouldn’t hurt. A variation of this exercise involves opening your lower jaw halfway, placing one finger on each TMJ, and then closing it again. Repeat this exercise six times in a row.
Side-to-side jaw movement
Slowly and carefully move your jaw from side to side while holding a 14-inch object—such as a stacked tongue depressor—between your front teeth. As the practice becomes easier, pile them one on top of the other to increase the object’s thickness between your teeth.
Resisted opening and closing of the mouth
Place your thumb beneath your chin. Open your mouth gradually while gently squeezing your jaw to provide resistance. Keep your mouth open for three to six seconds before slowly shutting it.
With the index and thumb of one hand, squeeze the chin. When closing your mouth, lightly squeeze your chin. This will help to improve the chewing-related muscles.
Forward jaw movement
Put a 14-inch object in the space between your front teeth. Your bottom teeth will be in front of your top teeth if you move your lower jaw forwards. As the practice gets easier, make the object between your teeth thicker.
Tips for maintaining TMJ pain
Eat soft food
Eating softer foods is one of the best methods to start getting relief from TMJ pain. Your jaw has to chew less when you consume softer foods. Less chewing gives your jaw a break to allow the inflammation to subside because it puts less pressure and stress on it. For a few weeks, try to maintain a soft diet to see if it helps with any of your problems.
Wear bite guard
When you clench or grind your teeth, using a bite guard is a simple approach to reduce pressure on your TMJ joint. Your top and bottom teeth are protected by a bite guard, which prevents your teeth from contacting one another. If a bite guard is the best course of treatment for you, one of our dentists will let you know.
Stress is one of the main factors in TMJ. Anxious people frequently clench their jaws throughout the day without even realizing it. Do yourself a favor and take a daily walk to clear your thoughts, write in a notebook about your issues, consult a therapist, practice yoga, engage in meditation, or take a bubble bath if you’re feeling anxious. Make every effort you can to relax and relieve stress.
Getting enough sleep, one of the key components of a healthy lifestyle, helps ease TMJ pain. The pain might be reduced by sleeping on your back and supporting your neck with soft pillows. Avoid putting your hand on your jaw if you prefer to sleep on your side.
How can physiotherapy help in TMJ treatment?
Improves TMJ mobility
Physiotherapists can help alleviate the TMJ pain. The physiotherapist can utilize manual treatment techniques to rehabilitate the joint if it is determined that a patient has TMJ due to a stiff joint (often due to some prior trauma that caused stiffness). They will then recommend particular stretches to assist you in maintaining your increased range of motion between appointments.
For some persons with TMJ dysfunction, altering that forward head posture has a significant impact. We instruct patients to stretch shortened tissues and strengthen postural muscles to enhance head position. Additionally, your physiotherapist will offer advice on arranging your workspace, vehicle, or any other place you spend a lot of time sitting to encourage a healthy body position.
Reduces muscle spasm
Physiotherapists are experts in anatomy and know how to evaluate the muscles surrounding your TMJ. Muscle spasm is frequently found to be impeding TMJ healing. Less discomfort will eventually follow from manual therapy techniques to alleviate spasms because they will help enhance joint alignment and movement. Physiotherapy for TMJ becomes essential for you to lessen the pain.
Strengthens hypermobile joints
Some individuals’ TMJs move WAY too much or unfavorably. This issue can be identified by your physiotherapist, who can offer treatments and exercises to strengthen weak muscles and enhance your natural gait.
Thermal modalities, acupuncture, and gentle manual therapy are all effective painkillers that physiotherapists can use on patients who are in severe discomfort and need some relief so they can start implementing the changes mentioned above. Book an appointment with a TMJ specialist in Calgary to alleviate your TMJ pain.