Easy Home Remedies to Alleviate Your TMJ Pain

Constant soreness and pain around your jaw, neck, and face is more than just unpleasant-it can also cause swelling, incessant headaches or migraines, and chewing difficulties, all of which contribute to a lower quality of life.
Incessant jaw, face, and neck/shoulder-related pain can stem from problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. Experts generally refer to these problems as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Whether your TMD stems from a car accident or other injury or a constant problem you've suffered with for years, relief is possible. Try out some of these treatment tips and exercisesto alleviate some of your pain and boost your quality of life.

Distinguishing TMD from Other Disorders
While these treatments can help you alleviate any pain in your jaw or around your TMJ, you could benefit from knowing some of the differences between TMD and other disorders. Some common signs of TMD include:

  • Stiff jaw muscles

  • Clicking, grating, or popping noises when you open your mouth to speak or chew

  • A locked jaw or a jaw with limited range of motion (e.g., you can't open your mouth very wide)

  • Jaw, face, or neck pain

  • Difficulty chewing properly

  • A sudden change in the way your teeth fit (or don't fit) together

  • Toothaches or earaches

  • Ringing in your ear (tinnitus) or difficulty hearing

Some of these symptomscan be traced back to conditions other than TMD. For instance, a toothache might be just that-a toothache caused by a cavity. An earache can be caused by an ear infection. You might suffer from headaches because of poor posture, lordosis, or environmental factors.
If you suffer from many of these symptoms simultaneously or on a constant basis, however, it might be wise to see a doctor, dentist, or orthodontist to confirm a TMD diagnosis. These specialists can also recommend that you visit another professional to treat your problem if they don't find evidence of TMD.
Pain-Alleviating Exercises
If you're experiencing constant jaw pain and/or have a confirmed TMD diagnosis, some of these exercisescould help relieve your pain. However, remember that the TMJ is a complicated, complex joint. If you experience increased pain and continued discomfort while performing these exercises, stop immediately. You should wait for professional help.

Chin Tuck
This exercise should stretch out your neck and improve your posture to alleviate jaw and neck pain. Sit in a chair to keep your back straight, since correct posture isthe most important part of this exercise. Extend your chin, then use your fingersto move it back. Move only your fingers, chin, and neck. Repeat a few times per day.
Jaw Resistance
This exercise should strengthen your jaw muscles. Place your thumb underneath your chin and open your mouth slowly. Maintain a little bit of pressure against the bottom of your jaw with your thumb. Keep your mouth open with your jaw pushing against your thumb for a few seconds, then slowly close your mouth. Repeat a few times per day.

Palate Exercises
Start this exercise with your mouth closed and your teeth gently touching. Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper row of teeth, on the top of your mouth. Move the tip of your tongue back along the roof of your mouth asfar as you can to the soft palate. Open your jaw without letting your tongue leave its place. Close your mouth after five seconds. Repeat several times.
When performing these exercises, make sure to start slow and be gentle. Don't force your jaw into any uncomfortable positions-your range of motion and jaw strength will improve as you repeat the exercises every day.
If these exercises don't help you or cause you excessive pain, see a dentist or orthodontist: they are often more than willing to provide you with specialized exercises that can help your specific situation.

Other Techniques
These techniques can enhance the benefits of jaw exercises, or they can act as a good alternative if you find exercises too painful.
Give Yourself a Jaw Massage
To help your jaw musclesrelax, massage away some of the tension. Find the place where your jaw connect sto your ears. Place your fingers at this connection and gently massage the point in smooth circles. Don't aggravate your pain; avoid direct contact with any sore areas by moving in circles around them.
Apply Moist Heat or Ice
Wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and hold it against your jaw to help your musclesrelax and unclench. Do not apply heat directly to your jaw-a towel can help protect you from burns.
Alternatively, wrap an ice pack in a towel and hold it against your jaw. Ice reducesswelling, which in turn reduces pain. As with heat, don't apply the ice directly to your skin.
Avoid Certain Activities
If you already experience jaw pain,don't continue to put your jaw in uncomfortable situations. Avoid chewing gum, Don't grind or clench your teeth, even when you're stressed or upset. And refrain from holding your phone to your ear with your shoulder-this can irritate your neck and jaw.
Alleviate Your Pain, Change Your Life
When you experience less pain, you're free to enjoy your life more thoroughly. Try these exercises and other tipsto reduce your TMJ pain, cope with your TMD, and live life to the fullest. Remember, if your TMD pain worsens or these tips don't help, see a medical professional as soon as you can-professional treatment can help improve your jaw's function and improve your quality of life.