If you’ve never had TMJ, you may not have ever heard of it before. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joints. TMJ disorder can cause clicking and popping in your jaw joint and jaw soreness in the mornings. TMJ can also cause headaches. If you’re having trouble opening your mouth to take a bite of an apple because your jaw is sore, you may have TMJ.
How Do I Know If I Have TMJ?
TMJ disorders occur when something goes wrong with your jaw joints and jaw muscles. This can be related to a jaw injury, arthritis pain, or can come just from overusing the jaw muscles.
TMJ disorders can cause mild to severe symptoms, such as:
- Pain while chewing
- Pain in the ear, face, jaw, and neck, and pressure/pain behind the eye
- Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw when you open or close your mouth
- Locking of the jaw joint
- Sensitivity of teeth
What Can I Do At Home?
Over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen can be used for temporary pain relief. Looking for a more natural remedy? A 2010 study demonstrated that therapeutic exercise brings earlier recovery of jaw function compared with splints alone.
- Place your tongue flush with the top of your mouth. This signals the brain to relax the jaw muscles. You can do this exercise any time of day; even while relaxing or watching television.
- Place your hands on the sides of your face and gently pull downward to relax the tissue. Keep your mouth slightly open. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Perform this stretch 2 or 3 times per day.
Need TMJ Treatment?
Sometimes home exercises aren’t enough to get pain relief quickly. For more rapid healing, schedule an at home consultation and treatment session where I’ll evaluate your TMJ condition and determine the best course of treatment for your case.
My proven, advanced, non drug therapies for TMJ disorders may include:
- Oral splints or mouth guards (occlusal appliances). Many of my patients experience relief from wearing a soft or firm device inserted over their teeth.
- Physical therapy. Along with exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, treatments might include ultrasound, tens, moist heat and ice.
- Counseling. Education and counseling can help you understand the factors and behaviors that may aggravate your pain, so you can avoid them. Examples include teeth clenching or grinding, leaning on your chin, or biting fingernails.
TMJ Pain Gone!
Dr. Vera is a miracle worker. I’ve never experienced TMJ pain before. She took her time to explain my condition and was able to treat me at home. In less than 2 weeks my pain was gone and the popping I was experiencing in my jaw stopped. I highly recommend Dr. Vera.