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Advice such as applying ice packs, eating soft foods or avoiding jaw movements, though well-intended, isn’t very practical for a busy life. Not all of us can juggle an icepack while we work and living on Jell-O and milkshakes is not the healthiest of diets. Below are a few real-life tips for temporary TMJ relief.
While some people believe gum chewing will aid in the relief of sore jaw muscles, studies have shown this is not true. Limiting excessive use of the jaw and surrounding muscles is much more effective for relieving TMJ. We want to take pressure off of the jaw and give it time to rest. Resting sore joints and muscles is the first step in getting your TMJ symptoms to calm down. So, for the time being, stash the gum.
Acupressure uses the same trigger points to activate the healing process as acupuncture. Though acupuncture activates these triggers more powerfully, acupressure is something you can perform on your own. There are many great online resources for learning acupuncture points. I bet you didn’t know that some of the more effective points for TMJ are not around the jaw.
It’s amazing how many times during the day people’s jaws become clenched, evening while asleep. Be mindful during the day and practice different jaw relaxing exercises.
Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, directly behind the top front teeth. Next, use your tongue to apply gentle pressure. Slowly open your mouth as wide as you can, then slowly close it shut. Repeat
Smile as big as you can! Open your mouth about two inches and release the smile. Repeat
Have someone take a picture of you sitting a standing. Do your ears line up with your shoulders? If not, you may have forward head posture. This can be a huge factor in TMJ as can other spinal and neck misalignments. One exercise to help correct this is to stand against a wall or lie down on a hard surface. Tuck your chin to your chest as if you’re squeezing a book between them and count to 30. Repeat. This is a good way to strengthen neck muscles and help relieve TMJ discomfort.
The above suggestions are for temporary TMJ relief. If you have severe TMJ pain or even mild discomfort it may be time to consider a different approach. Dr. Abeyta will determine the origin of your pain through a series of diagnostic tests. She uses the latest technology to including Digital Occlusal Analysis called Tscan. This state-of-the-art digital software helps detect occlusal disease to aid in treating and protecting the jaw and teeth from unbalanced forces and destruction. Call today to set up your appointment at (505)-293-7611