What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Tempero Mandibular Joint Disorder, and THAT stands for a giant pain in the jaw. It can come about because of jaw misalignment, uneven or misplaced teeth, or the stress of tooth clenching during the night.
TMJ can have mild to extreme cases, and sometimes a slight adjustment at home can do wonders for curing the pain that comes with it.
Symptoms of TMJ
- Do your jaw muscles feel sore and tender?
- Is your jaw making popping or clicking sounds when you flex it open and closed?
- Does your jaw ever get stuck open or closed?
- Are you experiencing frequent headaches in the mornings?
- Are you experiencing frequent dizziness?
Simple Treatments for TMJ
A simple massage can do wonders for TMJ pain. The muscles in your jaw are inflamed and tender from staying tight for too long. Massaging the tender areas around the jaw could help them to relax, relieving the pain over time.
Alternating hot and cold is another easy home treatment. Use a hot water bottle, or electric blanket, and hold the heat against the outside of your jaw, and around the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. Use an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel in between heat treatments to reduce swelling by holding it in the same location for 20 minutes.
Bad habits can cause TMJ, adjusting our habits can alleviate the pain over time. If you are prone to resting your head in your hands, or holding the phone between your shoulder and your jaw while you talk, this can stress your jaw. Avoid these things whenever possible. If you require both hands while talking on the phone, it is a good idea to invest in a hands free headset that will allow you to do so without clenching.
Relax! Stress makes TMJ worse! Many people will experience their first symptoms of TMJ during a period of high stress. Taking some time to relax your mind can have just as great an effect on your jaw muscles as any medicine. So breathe in, breathe out, think about the things that make you happy and let the stress melt away from you.
Of course, home therapy can only take you so far. If symptoms persist, it would wise to see your dentist as soon as you can. If the alignment issue is serious enough, you may need orthodontic treatment or a splint/mouthguard to sleep with for correcting issues with your bite.
If you have more questions about TMJ and treatments, contact us directly, and we can arrange an appointment for you.