How To Alleviate Jaw Pain
The good news is that there are things you can do at home that can reduce the TMJ pain you’re experiencing.
Hot and Cold Pressure
If you’re experiencing sharp pain in your jaw joints, apply a pair of cold packs. The cold numbs your nerves, which can dull pain messages that go to your brain. If instead you’re experiencing a dull, steady ache rather than sharp pain, soak a couple of washcloths in warm water and hold them to your face for about 20 minutes. The heat will increase blood circulation to the area and relax jaw muscles.
By massaging the areas around your jaws, you can enhance blood flow to the area and relieve muscle tightness. Open your mouth, then rub the muscles by the ears near your jaw joints. Place your forefingers on the sore areas, and move them around, pressing gently, until the muscle relaxes. Close your mouth and repeat the massage. It can also be beneficial to massage the muscles on the side of your neck, which reduces tension that can contribute to TMJ pain
That’s not to say you should be lying down, but rather that you want to avoid leaning forward if you sit in a chair all day long. When you’re angled forward, you’re putting strain on your neck and back, which can create jaw pain. If you find yourself cradling a phone between your shoulder and cheek, get a headset so that you’re not aggravating the TMJ joint.
Watch What You Eat
When possible, avoid extremely crunchy and chewy foods like apples, carrots, beef jerky, and chewing gum. This will spare your jaws from overwork, particularly when the aching and clicking are severe. It can also help to cut your food into smaller portions, so you don’t have to overwork your jaw.
Put Your Guard Up
Or rather, put your guard in. If nightly teeth grinding or clenching is contributing to your TMD, talk to your dentist about getting a custom-made night bite guard that will reduce improper sensory input, help alleviate symptoms, and protect the teeth from uncontrollable destructive habits.