Jaw pain is often a debilitating condition that affects your ability to eat and speak. Your pain can develop from your sinuses, ears, teeth or jaw itself. With so many avenues for jaw pain, it can be hard to determine if it is actually because of your jaw or something else. However, most jaw pain is due to an abnormality or injury to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If you are suffering from jaw pain, here are six ways to find relief.

Apply heat or ice packs

For immediate relief, place ice in a plastic bag, wrap it in a thin cloth and apply it to your jaw for 10 minutes. You can also use an ice pack wrapped in cloth if you have one. After 10 minutes, massage the area briefly and reapply the cold pack. You can also run warm water over a washcloth and apply it to your jaw. This moist heat can help to relax your overactive jaw muscles, resulting in pain relief. It is OK to rewet the washcloth several times to maintain the heat. 

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Look to ibuprofen or acetaminophen for over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce any discomfort or inflammation you are experiencing. If you are unsure if this is the best option, contact Dr. Patel to learn more about what you can do to find relief. While this is not a permanent solution, it can help for immediate relief until you can get further help and guidance. 

Massage your jaw

Another quick solution is to massage your jaw where the pain is. Using your index finger and middle finger, press the sore areas of your jaw. This might be the area right before your ear where your jaw joints meet. Rub in a circular motion for up to 10 rotations. Next, open your mouth and repeat this exercise. You can also try to massage the muscles on the side of your neck to relieve tension in your jaw.

Reduce stress

Try to perform stress relieving techniques to reduce jaw clenching. This might include yoga, journaling, reading, meditation or going on a walk. By performing these activities, you can often reduce your jaw pain if it is caused by stress. If there is another stress relieving activity that you enjoy, try that too.

Avoid chewy foods

We’ve talked about this before, but we cannot reiterate this enough: try to avoid chewy foods if you suffer from jaw pain. Foods that are chewy, tough or crunchy can place a significant amount of strain on your jaw joint. This can lead to pain and discomfort later. Try to avoid apples, beef jerky, chewing gum and ice. 

Skip the caffeine 

I know, I know, you need your morning coffee to get through the day. However, to what extent is it worth it? Is having your morning cup worth the muscle tension and jaw pain you will experience with caffeine? Probably not. If you can avoid large amounts of caffeinated coffee and tea, it may help to reduce jaw pain in the long run. While you might initially feel muscle tension from caffeine withdrawal, it will pass shortly after quitting or limiting your caffeine. 

To learn more about how you can reduce your jaw pain, contact Dr. Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information.