Temporomandibular Joint, TMJ, is the jaw joint that connects lower jaw bone to temporal skull bones on either side of the head. TMJ is not commonly mentioned, but the truth is that it would be impossible for you to open or even close the mouth without this joint. It is what makes it possible for you to move the jaw sideways, backwards or forwards. When something is wrong with the joint, then you are likely to develop a disorder.
If you experience pain in the jaws or near your ears, then it is most likely that you have TMJ disorder. Other symptoms include jaw locking, jaw muscle stiffness and clicking or grinding of the jaw. The disorder can be a slight nuisance to severe debilitating that affects breathing, sleeping, talking and eating. Some of the causes include stress, forms of arthritis, jaw area injuries, infections, gum chewing and dental procedures among others.
The discomfort may go away without necessarily doing anything but a few exercises can help ease irritation and pain. You can perform strengthening, stretching and relaxation exercises to enjoy some relief from the TMJ disorder. Below are the top 3 TMJ exercises you can try from the comfort of your home to improve the situation.
1. Strengthening exercise
The exercises are best when the pain has subscribed and they help in reducing the risks of the same problem returning. The best exercises involve closing and opening the mouth with some resistance to the chin. Try to perform resisted mouth opening exercise by placing thumbs under the chin and the pushing downwards gently against them. Push the thumb and slowly open the mouth, keep it open for several seconds and then slowly close the mouth. For a closing exercise that is resistant, place thumb under the chin and the index finger on the ridge between lower lip and chin then push gently when closing the mouth.
2. Stretching exercise
Stretching joint area and jaw is also a good exercise for TMJ. Simply press the tongue tip on mouth roof and slowly open the mouth as wide as possible as long as it is not painful. The other good stretching exercise involves moving the jaw on its own ensuring that you do not feel uncomfortable. Close the mouth and relax the jaw, then with the teeth slightly open open the mouth slowly to widest possible and eyes looking up. Hold the open position for a few seconds before closing it. Once closed, move jaw leftwards with eyes looking opposite and without turning head and neck, hold and the move to the right side in the same manner.
3. Relaxation exercise
The exercise will help relieve the pain that comes with TMJ disorder. It is especially good for stress related causes. Exercise some breathing to ease jaw muscle tension. Inhale for up to 10 seconds and slowly exhale. To increase the success rates of relieving stress related TMJ disorder, make sure that you also take care of life issues that are stressing you out.