The clicking you hear coming from the back of your jaw or the painful sensation felt when chewing a hard piece of food may indicate an issue with the joints and muscles located in the jaw region. Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders (TMJDs) can affect your ability to talk, eat, swallow, chew, make facial expressions, and even draw a breath . Home remedies for TMJ can help you place less stress on your jaw and ease painful symptoms.
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Causes and Symptoms
One of the most complex joints in your body is the temporomandibular joint, which blends a hinge action with sliding movements. When you talk, chew, or yawn, the lower jaw uses rounded ends to glide in and out of the joint socket. Cartilage covers the other parts of the bone associated with the joint and a small shock-absorbing disk provides separation.
In some people, the cause of TMJ symptoms remains unknown, but common factors include the misalignment or erosion of the disk; damaged joint cartilage due to arthritis; injury or impact to the joint; overworked jaw muscles; and habitual clenching or grinding of the teeth. The signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include :
• Pain or tenderness of your jaw
• Aches in or around your ear
• Difficult or painful chewing
• Facial pain that aches
• Joint locking – issues closing or opening your mouth
• Uncomfortable or uneven bite
TMJ Home Remedies
It doesn’t matter if you are experiencing TMJ due to growth issues, arthritis, or whiplash – this condition is quite common. While occasional jaw pain is expected, some people wake up with earaches and mysterious headaches – making home remedies for TMJ a sought-after approach for easing discomfort and other symptoms:
a) Warm Compress:
Apply a warm, wet washcloth to the side of your face to relax muscles plagued by TMJ pain.
b) Scarf and Hat:
During the winter season, cover up with a scarf and hat to keep the head and neck as warm as possible. This will promote beneficial blood flow that leads to reduced inflammation and less muscle pain associated with TMJ.
Learn stretches and exercises that help improve your head, neck and shoulder posture.
With the power to ease many symptoms of muscle and joint problems (like TMJ), take aspirin or ibuprofen on a consistent basis three or four times a day for a period of 10 to 20 days.
TMJ pain has a way of emerging when you sleep on your side or stomach – positions that place pressure on one side of your jaw. Use an extra thick pillow that helps keep you sleeping on your back.
Since sleeping on your back lessens pressure placed on a jaw, fold a bath towel several times and place behind the bend of your knees. This practice keeps your knees in a bent position and helps encourage you to sleep on your back.
g) Soft Foods:
Avoid chewy, crunchy or hard foods when battling a TMJ flare-up for six to 12 weeks. Get in the habit of cooking or baking all of your meals. Choose extremely ripe fruits and vegetables to add to your diet. Stay away from the foods that place pressure on your jaw, such as pizza, bagels, rolls, steak, nuts, and chewing gum. You should notice relief within ten days.
h) Heating Pad:
Ease the pain of TMJ-related jaw, head and neck aches by applying a heating pad. Helping to break up muscle pain, the heat increases the flow of blood to affected areas.
Sometimes, TMJ pain is accompanied by intense spasms. Calm this response by placing a couple of ice cubes in a Ziploc bag wrapped up in a hand towel. Apply the bag for ten minutes, and then remove for ten minutes. Continue this process for one hour.
When muscle spasms are present, massage the jaw joints located directly in front of the ears to relax tightness.
k) Relaxation Techniques:
Since stress greatly contributes to TMJ symptoms, become familiar with techniques that promote relaxation, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and aromatherapy.
l) Practice Good Jaw Posture:
One way to keep jaw muscles relaxed is to hold your teeth slightly apart while the tongue lightly touches the roof of your mouth and rests directly behind your upper teeth.
m) Lifestyle Changes:
Lessen your muscle use and reduce pain by adopting new lifestyle changes, such as not opening your mouth as wide when yawning and cutting your food into small pieces to decrease your need to chew.