Is it possible that there are exercises that could ease the pain of TMJ?
Sometimes when the pain is caused by a jaw injury, discomfort can go away on its own with time. When the root cause of TMJ pain is less obvious, some people have found that TMJ exercises can help ease the pain.
TMJ pain symptoms are different between patients; some experience continuous pain, others have pain that comes and goes, some experience a locking, stiff jaw, or experience a popping when they open and close their mouth.
Related: TMJ Headache Treatments
Because of the various causes of TMJ and the symptoms people experience, there is no universal exercise for TMJ pain relief.
That doesn’t mean that TMJ exercises might not work for you. They do work for some patients at easing pain or helping build up strength in the jaw. They are also a good starting place for pain relief treatments. If exercises don’t work, then you can move on to other TMJ treatment methods.
Related: Botox for TMJ Migraine Treatment
Let’s review the most common TMJ exercises and how they work. They may just help ease your pain.
Types of TMJ Exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Stretching exercises
- Mobility exercises
- Relaxation exercises
The different types of TMJ exercises exist to achieve four basic goals: strengthen the jaw, stretch the temporomandibular joint, improve the mobility of the temporomandibular joint or provide relaxation to treat stress-induced TMJ pain.
TMJ exercises you can do at home
Relaxed jaw exercise
Rest your tongue gently on the top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth. Allow your teeth to come apart while relaxing your jaw muscles.
Goldfish exercises (partial opening)
Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and one finger in front of your ear where your TMJ is located. Put your middle or pointer finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw halfway and then close. There should be mild resistance but not pain. A variation of this exercise is to place one finger on each TMJ as you drop your lower jaw halfway and closed again. Do this exercise six times in one set. You should do one set six times daily.
Goldfish exercises (full opening)
Keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth, place one finger on your TMJ and another finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw completely and back. For a variation of this exercise, place one finger on each TMJ as you completely drop your lower jaw and back. Do this exercise six times to complete one set. You should complete one set six times daily.
With your shoulders back and chest up, pull your chin straight back, creating a “double chin.” Hold for three seconds and repeat 10 times.
Resisted opening of the mouth
Place your thumb under your chin. Open your mouth slowly, pushing gently against your chin for resistance. Hold for three to six seconds, and then close your mouth slowly.
Resisted closing of the mouth
Squeeze your chin with your index and thumb with one hand. Close your mouth as you place gently pressure on your chin. This will help strengthen your muscles that help you chew.
With your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, slowly open and close your mouth.
Side-to-side jaw movement
Put a ¼ inch object, such as stacked tongue depressors, between your front teeth, and slowly move your jaw from side to side. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth by stacking them one on top of each other.
Forward jaw movement
Put a 1/4 inch object between your front teeth. Move your bottom jaw forward so your bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth.
TMJ Exercises & Stretches to Relieve Jaw Pain
TMJ Pain Relief with Simple Exercises & Stretches
Disclaimer: These videos are not medical advice or a treatment plan and are intended for general education and demonstration purposes only. They should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, or physical condition. Do not use these videos to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they give you. Consult with your healthcare professional before doing anything contained in these videos. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless David Wilhite for any and all losses, injuries, or damages resulting from any and all claims that arise from your use or misuse of these videos.
Ready to learn TMJ Treatment Options in Plano, Texas area?
Contact us today to set up your free TMJ consultation. Dr. Wilhite has over 30 years experience testing and diagnosing TMJ Disorders. He will discuss possible treatments to decide which is right for you.
You can also discuss affordable financing and dental insurance options to make sure you get the dental care you need.
Call us at (972) 964-3774
David Wilhite is a Plano Texas Dentist who has helped hundreds of patients with TMJ treatment and relief. He has over 30 years experience in general and cosmetic dentistry.