TMJ pain can result from a number of conditions and underlying issues. Therefore, it is a very common problem. The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is also a very unique joint. Most joints offer one form of movement. For example, your knuckles are a hinge joint and your shoulders are a ball and socket joint. The TMJ is unique in that it functions as both a hinge joint and a sliding joint. That means you can open and close your mouth but also slide your jaw from side to side. Unfortunately, that extra mobility comes with a price – there are more things that can go wrong with such a complicated joint.
Here’s the good news. TMJ pain rarely needs intervention with medication, injections, or surgery. In fact, there are many ways you can treat your own TMJ pain at home. We’re going to look at 9 home remedies for TMJ pain. At the end of our article, we’ll consider an alternative but still natural solution for stubborn TMJ issues.
Home Remedies for TMJ Pain
If you are suffering from a TMJ problem, try these suggestions:
- Give your jaw a break – Sometimes it is just a matter of overuse. Try a soft diet for a few days and avoid things like gum chewing. You may need to keep from singing and fight the urge to yawn while your jaw heals. The pain may resolve itself if was simply a matter of overuse.
- Ice – TMJ is usually an issue of inflammation. Ice can help to reduce inflammation. Remember to apply ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time and never have the ice in direct contact with your skin.
- Massage – If you do decide to go to the doctor, ask if there are any massage patterns you can use to provide long-term relief. Alternatively, you may be able to find some videos on the web to teach you a good jaw massage.
- Stretching – A chiropractor or dentist may be able to show you some jaw stretches that can help. Again, to keep this a home remedy, you may be able to find some videos online that demonstrate the proper stretches.
- Mouthguard – If your jaw pain comes from grinding your teeth while you sleep, a mouthguard may help. You can get a cheap one at the store, but if you want a more comfortable and custom fit one you may have to see a dentist.
- Stress management – Whether you go for a walk, take a hot bath, or read a good book, stress management is another way to relieve tension in the jaw and to prevent nighttime grinding of the teeth which is usually a stress response.
- Use good posture – If your neck is out of alignment, your jaw will follow. Using proper posture at the office, while driving, or even when binge-watching your favorite show is vital when it comes to reducing or even eliminating jaw pain naturally.
- Proper phone use – This goes back to posture again, ultimately, but be sure to avoid bad habits with phone use such as holding the phone between your shoulder and ear so you can multitask. If you need your hands while you are on your phone, invest in a headset. Your neck and jaw will thank you.
- Reduce caffeine intake – Caffeine can make a person agitated and increase muscle tension and anxiety. If your jaw problems are stress related or tension related, walking back the amount of coffee you drink in a day may provide some help.
You may have heard of many of these home remedies for jaw pain before, but what if you just can’t get the pain to go away. We’d like to introduce you to another natural way to get some relief.
A Better Way to Naturally Relieve TMJ Pain
If you suffer from chronic TMJ pain, you may be surprised to learn a possible underlying cause could be in your neck. As we’ve already discussed, posture can play a key role in the onset of TMJ pain. In fact, many cases of TMJ pain present with pain that radiates toward the neck. This is because the top bone in the neck, the atlas, is located between the jaw joints. Even the slightest misalignment can throw off the position of the jaw. This, in turn, can cause pain.
But how do misalignments of that atlas occur? The answer is often trauma. A car accident, a sports injury, or even a slip and fall can cause minute misalignments to occur. At some points in the spine, fractions of a millimeter don’t make much of a difference. When the atlas is off by even the tiniest of margins, it can have far-reaching effects on the body. It will especially affect nearby body parts like the jaw and ears. This may account for why ear issues often accompany TMJ dysfunction as well.
An upper cervical chiropractor will use diagnostic imaging techniques to precisely locate an atlas misalignment. Then, a low force correction is applied. These gentle adjustments are designed to be safe for those of all ages and health conditions and also to be long-lasting so your body has the time it needs to heal. To learn more, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your local area and schedule a no-obligation consultation. You may have just found the natural solution to your TMJ problems.
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