Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD) comes from a wide variety of causes and it can be difficult to find a single treatment that works well all of the time. TMJ pain can develop over gradually, but it can also be the result of trauma such as a Motor Vehicle Accident. Most TMJ disorder cases will resolve on their own, but some people may develop significant, long-term symptoms.
How can I help my TMJ at home?
Heat and Ice – Majority of TMJ cases are caused by muscle tension in the chewing muscles. Applying heat or ice (no more than 12 minutes at a time) can help muscles relax and decrease inflammation.
Avoid hard foods – Your jaw is already under a lot of stress if you have TMJ disorder. Adding extra pressure and exerting the muscles will lead to pain and discomfort. Cut food into smaller pieces, cook vegetables so they are tender, and add softer foods like eggs or fish into your diet.
Watch your posture – Resting your jaw in your hand or leaning to the side with a phone will increase the pressure on the temporomandibular joint. Also be careful of your posture when sitting to make sure you are not tensing your neck and shoulder muscles. Poor sitting posture leads to muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders, and this can cause a host of problems as seen here.
Relaxation – Take time to reduce stress so your muscles can relax. Self-massage or therapy to help with the trigger points around your jaw can also help relieve TMJ symptoms.
If symptoms do not resolve on their own, or TMJ symptoms continue to return again and again, then it means there is an underlying cause to the TMJ symptoms. Chiropractors are able to accurately examine and treat TMJ disorders with safe and gentle treatments.
Here are the best techniques we have found that work for TMJ:
Needle-less Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a 5,000 year old system of healing and there are specific skin points that help relieve TMJ symptoms. We utilize electrical acupuncture, which is painless and effective for helping with these types of chronic pain conditions.
Gentle Chiropractic Care – The TMJ is a small, delicate joint and requires a specific and gentle adjustment. Because tight muscles in the neck can affect the muscles surrounding your temporomandibular joint, it is important to make sure the neck is not causing your TMJ disorder.
Exercises and Trigger Points – Part of a long-term solution is teaching your jaw muscles how to function properly. Exercises may be given if they will help correct imbalances, and trigger point therapy can relieve tight muscles that are causing the pain.
If you have TMJ but also have either neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or dizziness then it would be very beneficial to have your spine checked by a chiropractor. The odds are in your favor that not only will your TMJ improve, but so will your other symptoms!