Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction is an issue where the muscles around your jaw begin to decay, which leads to difficulties opening and closing the mouth. There are numerous ways to treat TMJ disorder, but ultimately it boils down to pain relief and preservation.
What is TMJ?
There are many people not aware of this medical condition. So, what is TMJ disorder? This is a condition in the joints that begin at the front of your ears and attach the lower jaw to the skull. They can cause pain in the face around the jaw, problems within the joint and muscle problems that impact your ability to control mouth movement.
It’s a difficult condition to diagnose which is why it’s problematic trying to treat it.
What are the Options for TMJ Treatment?
Treatment for TMJ is a complicated subject. You have a choice between pain relief and jaw preservation. Ideally, your treatment plan will include both of these things.
Most conventional pharmaceutical doctors will always opt for pain relief. They will give you some temporary requiem from pain, but painkillers don’t stop it from getting worse. This is a degenerative condition that’s certain to get worse over time.
For jaw preservation and improving function, you must consider jaw exercises. These exercises are designed to work out your jaw, provide resistance training, and improve overall function. At the same time, they do offer some fantastic pain relief benefits.
There are also preventative options. These are essentially avoidance strategies. Through some changes to your daily life, you can avoid the pain altogether.
Give your jaw a rest a couple of days a week by changing your diet. It’s a matter of sticking to soft foods that don’t have to be chewed. For example, a lot of candy would be off the list. Soups and other drinkable meals are ideal.
You could even reduce the amount of time you spend talking to further increase the healing time for your jaw.
As already mentioned TMJ treatment primarily comes in the form of pain relief. Doctors will prescribe painkillers of various strengths depending on the severity of the condition. This will give you the chance to live a normal pain-free life.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop worsening of the condition, which will start to cause you real problems in time.
While doctors like Joshua Hong DDS recommend using pain relief; it shouldn’t serve as the only treatment option.
Jaw exercises are ideal because they take as little as 10 minutes and you can increase the function of your jaw, as well as contribute to preservation of the muscles.
A major part of jaw exercises involves improving your posture. Poor posture places an unnecessary amount of pressure on the face and head. This can irritate the jaw and cause the disorder to grow worse.
Here are three easy exercises you can perform anywhere:
- Chin tuck
- Jaw thrusts
- Jaw deviations
There are hundreds of ways to exercise your jaw, but these are the three basic ones. Take note, when performing these exercises, you shouldn’t feel any pain. If you feel any discomfort, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
The current trend in TMJ disorder is ultimately pain relief. Not enough doctors are promoting the benefits of regular jaw exercises. Pain relief is a helpful tool, but it only masks the problem. It doesn’t target the underlying problems of why TMJ occurs in the first place.
You don’t have to live with this sort of pain. By resting your jaw and promoting healing with jaw exercises, you can reclaim your life and reduce the amount of pain you feel on a daily basis.