Are you experiencing jaw pain, locking, clicking, ear ringing, and head and neck aches? If so, you may have fallen victim to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, otherwise known as TMJ. TMJ does not stick around in some cases and can heal without needing any treatment. But for others, TMJ side effects can lead to difficulty chewing and swallowing and opening and closing the mouth.
TMJ can be painful, but you do not need to live with constant pain. There are a few methods to help relieve pain from TMJ disorder.
Hot and cold compresses
A hot compress should be applied to the side of your face if your jaw muscles feel tight and stiff. Cold compresses are for pain and swelling reduction. Be careful not to use a heat compress on a swollen area, as heat promotes blood flow and will not alleviate pain.
Jaw exercise and relaxation
Jaw strengthening, stretching, and relaxation exercises can be found online or given to you by a physical therapist. Hershey Orthopedic Spine and Rehabilitation, located in Lancaster, Pa, has been trusted for years by patients to correct TMJ and relieve symptoms using jaw exercise and relaxation techniques. Meeting regularly with a Hershey Orthopedic Physical Therapist will ensure you never have to walk alone in your TMJ pain relief journey.
Posture correction is another way a physical therapist can help you on your TMJ journey. Sitting up straight and learning how to stand correctly can work wonders on TMJ pain.
Avoiding certain foods
For TMJ, Hershey Orthopedic recommends minimizing intake of chewy or hard foods such a gum or apples. These foods can cause you to move your jaw uncomfortably or unnaturally.
When we are stressed, that stress tends to manifest itself somewhere in the body. For many, that place is the jaw. Stress can cause teeth grinding and jaw clenching, which both can cause some severe TMJ issues. So take a moment to evaluate the stress levels in your life and figure out if you need to make any changes to accommodate your TMJ pain.
Kick bad habits
If you are a nail-biter, if you rest your chin in your hands, or hold your phone between your shoulder and neck when making calls, it is time to kick the habit. All of these habits can cause TMJ and potentially make it worse.
Take anti-inflammatory medication
A relatively simple short-term solution is to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Again, pain medication is a temporary solution, but it can help significantly if your pain is uncomfortable.
TMJ pain does not go away overnight. It takes serious dedication and drive to relax your jaw and get it to a pain-free state. As previously mentioned, physical therapy is an excellent option to at least get you kicking unhealthy habits and onto the right track. A physical therapist can massage your jaw and assist in posture correction so you can go about your daily routine free from TMJ side effects.
Need a place to start? Then, head over to the experts at Hershey Orthopedic Spine & Rehabilitation to see how they can help.