The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. The TMJ sits at the intersection of several routine motions and activities, making a disruption in function at this joint potentially critical. A disorder of the TMJ is known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
A few factors can contribute to TMJ disorders. Health care professionals and patients alike can find diagnosis and subsequent treatment challenging for this reason.
If you’re struggling with jaw pain, migraines, or sleep apnea, you’re likely looking for ways to help ease symptoms. We’ve compiled a list of 5 self-care practices for living with TMJ.
Self-Care for TMJ
- Moist heat: Dull, steady aches (rather than sharp pains) benefit from moist heat compresses. This strategy treats dull aches by increasing blood circulation to the area.
- Cold packs: For sharp pain, apply cold packs to the affected area. Cold packs can decrease inflammation, numb pain, and promote healing.
- Eat soft foods: Eating soft or blended foods can help give your jaw and surrounding muscles a rest. Smaller bites may also help by reducing the amount of chewing necessary.
- Avoid extreme jaw movements: For the same reasons people with TMJ should gravitate toward soft foods, they should also avoid extensive jaw movements when possible. Things like yawning, singing loudly, and chewing gum cause added stress on the jaw, exacerbating symptoms.
- Practice stress-reducing techniques: Stress can cause muscles to tense, jaws to clench, and “tics” like lip or cheek chewing. Some patients have found relief in meditation, prayer, and exercise.
- Try gentle jaw stretches and exercises: Like exercising before a workout to prepare your muscles, gentle stretches may help improve your jaw’s range of motion, prevent injury, and decrease muscle stiffness.
Before incorporating any of these DIY TMJ practices into your daily routine, please consult with Dr. Firouzi to determine which approaches are most suitable for you.
Treating TMJ in Pittsburgh, PA
TMJ treatment requires a multi-faceted approach to remedy the broad spectrum of symptoms it entails. Dr. Firouzi of the Center for Exceptional Dentistry specializes in cosmetic and neuromuscular dentistry. For more information about TMJ relief, call (412) 274-1126 today or visit our website here.