Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw? Or maybe in the middle of the day you’ve found that eating has become difficult due to a nagging pain in your jaw? According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMD) affect more than 10 million Americans. TMD can be a painful and annoying condition, which is why it is important to understand the different ways to ease your jaw pain.
Ice Your Jaw
When your body hurts, odds are you are going to apply ice to the irritated, painful area. The first step to take if you are experiencing jaw pain is to apply ice or a cold compress to your jaw. The use of ice or cold compresses help in reducing the swelling in the jaw joint. As a result, this will alleviate some of the pain and inflammation it is causing. Think of your jaw joint like you would your knee or any other area–don’t hesitate to apply something cold for relief.
Not only is it important to ice your jaw, but it is vital that you stretch out the muscles as well. One exercise you can perform begins by touching your tongue to the roof of your mouth, keeping your teeth gently apart and your jaw completely relaxed. While keeping your tongue to the roof of your mouth, slowly open your jaw as wide as you can before you feel any pain. Hold and close your mouth gently. And, with all good exercises, repeat.
Another simple exercise you can do is open your mouth wide, but very slowly. After closing your mouth, move your jaw to the left and then to the right. Remember to perform this exercise slowly and relaxed, otherwise further pain might develop. Repeat this exercise as you see fit.
Massage Your Jaw
A relaxing way to find relief is to massage your jaw. For those with TMD, the most effective jaw massage appears to be a kneading massage. You can perform this massage by using your knuckles or fingertips, start at the corners of your mouth and work your way back toward your jaw. As you do this you will be kneading your jaw. Once you find a flat, hard surface, that is the joint–stay here and knead the area to your desired level of intensity.
Contact Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on what you can do to relieve your jaw pain.