Commonly known as TMJ, temporomandibular joint pain affects over 10 million Americans and can involve difficulty chewing, jaw muscle stiffness and painful popping or clicking, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Although for some people the pain of TMJ goes away on its own, others develop long-term problems and need treatment to help their pain.
Here are five tips you can practice at home to help your TMJ symptoms.
- Try opening your mouth as wide as you can without feeling pain, move your jaw to the right and hold for 10 seconds, do the same to the left and repeat five times.
- Massage the muscles around your jaw hinge in a downward motion.
Stress and anxiety are very common inducers of TMJ. Some people tend to clench their jaw when feeling stressed or anxious, which results in TMJ symptoms. Acupuncture can effectively treat both conditions.
- Practice deep breathing. The best way to do this is to lie on your back, place your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest. Count to five to inhale, hold your inhale for two seconds, and exhale for five seconds.
- Stretch your spine. Sit erect and bend your head forward so that the chin touches your chest. Interlock fingers of both your hands and place it behind your head. Push your head back while your hands resist this backward movement. Don’t press too hard. Stay in this position for at least ten seconds accompanied with awareness to breathing. Repeat this 3-5 times twice a day to stretch and relax your entire spinal cord and reduce TMJ pain.
Vitamins and Minerals
Deficiencies in calcium and magnesium are found to be common in people suffering from TMJ. The International Dental Association conducted a study on 50 TMJ sufferers who added calcium and magnesium supplements to their routine and found pain relief in 70 percent of the participants.
- Magnesium rich food: Cashews, avocados, almonds soybeans, sesame butter, spinach, squash, sunflower seeds, rice, flaxseed.
- Calcium rich food: milk, banana, almond, spinach, coconut, yogurt.
- Rhus Toxicodendron: This herb can help relieve jaw stiffness.
- Kava Root: If your TMJ is due to stress or anxiety, Kava can be used to calm your nervous system and in turn, reduce TMJ symptoms caused by anxiety like a stiff jaw.
- Magnesia Phosphorica: This homeopathic remedy can ease muscle stiffness and has an antispasmodic effect.
Acupuncture has proven to be effective in treating TMJ in a number of ways, including stress reduction. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, TMJ often represents an imbalance in the energy pathways associated with TMJ pain. Acupuncture points focused on these and other areas can stimulate the healing process relaxing both your mind and muscles and reducing inflammation and pain.