What should you do when you can’t talk, smile, laugh, or chew? When you can’t even sip from a glass of water or drink coffee, or when yawning has become so painful? How can you get rid of the pain?
These are typical concerns of people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This ailment causes pain, stiffness, and a burning sensation around the jaw. These unpleasant sensations also exist near the ears and around the neck.
The TMJ or temporomandibular joint links the jaw to the skull. A heavy trauma or injury to the TMJ causes a painful and disruptive disorder to one’s daily routine or life.
TMJ Pain Relief Strategies
No need to fret, though. There are at least five tried-and-tested strategies to get TMJ pain relief. Read about these TMJ remedies and learn how to cope with this achy ailment:
1. Dental Intervention
The dentist is your best bet to deal with a painful TMJ disorder that may stem from several serious dental conditions like:
- Bruxism – This condition refers to the grinding of their teeth at night while sleeping. The harsh grinding causes the jaw to bear too much pressure. Teeth are also slowly cracked or chipped by the grinding action. Some dentists recommend to patients with bruxism to wear mouth guards. These guards serve as barriers against tooth-to-tooth contact.
- Jaw Structural Anomalies – Any deformity or misalignment in the jaw causes pain and difficulties in speech. A dentist may conduct the initial evaluation of the teeth in relation to the jaw. However, a more detailed examination may be done by a speech therapist and an orthodontist. They can collaborate to determine ways to correct the anomaly either through dental intervention or through speech therapy, or both.
- Wearing of Braces – Any person who has experienced wearing braces would say that it is painful. However, the braces may be necessary to correct teeth malformations that cause speech problems or poor teeth appearance. Over time, the person with braces learns to cope with the implement installed on their teeth. The pain caused by the braces will subside in a matter of days or weeks.
By working closely with a dental care provider, a person with TMJ disorder can get appropriate help dealing with these conditions that cause additional pain in the teeth, gums, and jaws.
2. Stress Management
Stress causes a person to have increased tension in the head, face, and the rest of the body. In fact, really tense individuals even experience a compression-like feeling in their chest and stomach. Any additional tension in parts of the body only adds to the already painful condition of TMJ disorder.
To relieve stress and pain from TMJ disorder, consider being active in:
- Stretching and other types of workouts to make your body limber and strong
- A new hobby to pick up new skills while getting entertained
- Art, whether it be visual like painting or acting as a performance art
- Reconnecting with family and friends
- Meditation, prayer, and other spiritual practices
3. Home Remedies
There are several TMJ remedies that you can do right inside your very home:
- Apply ice on painful spots – Use an ice pack to make sore spots less painful.
- Massage – Do some gentle rubbing and circular massage strokes on your cheek and jawline to promote relaxation and pain relief.
- Soft Food Diet – To give your jaw a break, spend time eating only soft foods like soup, soft bread, oatmeal, or porridge to avoid teeth grinding and jaw pressure.
4. Medical Interventions
Conventional western medicine is necessary to lessen the pain caused by serious cases of TMJ disorder. These interventions may include:
- Pain-Relieving Medications – These drugs help promote relaxation in the jaw while reducing pain and anxiety. Doctor-prescribed painkillers are effective as long as the dosage is strictly followed.
- Injections – Injecting the body with some pain-killing substances that also promote relaxation, such as Botox, a person may find a level of relief that certain medications cannot give.
- Surgeries – If musculoskeletal issues are related to the TMJ disorder, surgery may very well be the best option to take.
5. Alternative Therapies
- Physical therapy – A physical therapist applies stretches and other corrective exercises to promote relaxation in the jaw and neck.
- Massage therapy – This is also a set of techniques that help promote stress and pain relief in the head, jaw, and other body parts.
- Acupuncture – This is an ancient Eastern method of restoring health. The goal of acupuncture is to improve the body’s energy flow by placing sterilized needles on specific spots in the head, face, and body.
- Upper Cervical Chiropractic – This is another safe, natural pain relief method that focuses on restoring the upper cervical spine’s alignment. The upper cervical region has two significant bone parts: the atlas and the axis. The atlas and axis are bones that help provide stability to the head and neck, protect the brainstem, and enable a person to move the head in different directions.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic for TMJ Pain Relief
Every adjustment facilitated by an upper cervical chiropractor is gentle and precise. It focuses on restoring balance and symmetry to the atlas and axis bones. Upper cervical chiropractors assist a person with TMJ disorder in gradually letting go of stress and tension in the jaw. Adjustments in the head, neck, and spine help create a state of relaxation and good energy flow in the body.
If you want to experience upper cervical chiropractic and the benefits it can bring, visit an upper cervical doctor near your area.