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If you suffer from a misaligned jaw, you know that the symptoms of TMJ/TMD can be very painful, even interfering with your daily activities and work. The pain may affect more than just your jaws, and may extend to your:
- Upper and lower back
Many individuals avoid TMJ treatment, believing that it is too expensive or worrying that it may not reduce the pain. Even more individuals are unaware that they suffer from TMJ/TMD, believing that their headaches are the product of migraines or stress. However, if you suffer from tension headaches, clench your teeth, and experience clicking or popping in your jaws, the pain you suffer is probably TMJ related.
Alternatives to Surgery
For many years, it was believed that surgery was the only treatment for TMJ/TMD. However, neuromuscular dentistry has proven effective in alleviating the symptoms of TMJ and treating the cause without surgery. If you suffer from severe TMJ related pain, you should contact our neuromuscular dentist immediately.
New information is showing that minor TMJ and TMD pain can be managed and temporarily treated through jaw exercises designed to loosen the muscles and tendons and alleviate the tension which causes TMJ related pain.
Performing TMJ Exercises
While there are different exercise options recommended through various websites, the best exercise is the one that works for you. Not every TMJ exercise will work for every TMD patient, and you should not view exercises as a permanent treatment, particularly if you have not been examined by a neuromuscular dentist.
The simplest type of TMJ exercise allows your jaw to relax and rest in a more natural position through stretching out the tense muscles and tendons. You can begin by following these steps:
First, looking in the mirror, slowly and carefully open your jaw as wide as you can. Many TMD patients notice their lower jaw slip to one side or the other as a result of the TMJ symptoms, but you should try to keep your lower jaw directly aligned with your upper jaw. Slowly close your mouth, keeping your jaws aligned. Repeat this process 10 times in three repetitions. If pain is severe or worsen do not continue.
Next, slowly open your mouth by moving your jaw down and as far to the right as possible, in order to stretch your left jaw muscles. Slowly close your mouth and repeat this process in three sets of 10 repetitions. If pain is severe of worsens do not continue.
Finally, slowly repeat step two, but this time open your lower jaw down and as far to the left as possible. This will help stretch the jaw muscles on the other side of your face.
If any of these exercises cause increased or severe pain stop immediately and contact an experienced Neuromuscular Dentist. Do not continue exercises if pain worsens.
Just as with any other type of exercise, you should use caution performing these stretches, and be sure to consult a neuromuscular dentist if you experience any increased pain or discomfort.
You may not experience alleviation of your symptoms for 2-10 days after beginning these exercises. If pain worsens and discomfort persists after 10 days, it may be a sign of severe TMJ/TMD, stop exercises and you should undergo an examination by a qualified neuromuscular dentist immediately.