TMJ symptoms include pain around your jaw and towards your ear. You may also experience lockjaw or difficulty chewing. Luckily, there are several things you can do at home to reduce your TMJ symptoms.
Try Moist Heat
Heat can help to relax tight muscles, but rather than just putting a heating pad on your jaw, you may want to try moist heat. Simply dampen a hand towel and wrap it around a hot water bottle. Then, place it against your face. Be careful about using too much heat — you don’t want to accidentally burn your face.
For optimal relief, you may want to rotate hot and cold on your face. While heat relaxes muscles, cold numbs the area so you don’t have to feel the pain. You can buy ice packs, or you can make your own by filling a plastic bag with ice and placing it in a sock. Don’t put the ice pack directly on your face. That can make it too cold.
Give Your Jaw a Break
When your jaw is busy all the time, it can intensify your TMJ symptoms. To give yourself some relief, consider giving your jaw a break. When you start to yawn, put your hand under your chin. That stops your mouth from opening too wide and can help to prevent lockjaw.
If possible, also reduce how much you talk in a day. This can be challenging, but to inspire yourself, keep in mind that people pay a lot of money to go to silent retreats and try to imagine that you’re giving yourself a similar experience.
Also, try a soft diet for a few days. Soups and smoothies are a great place to start, but even foods such as mashed potatoes, bananas, or pasta don’t require a lot of chewing. Your temporomandibular joint will appreciate the break.
Relax Your Facial Muscles
To further reduce your TMJ symptoms, try to consciously relax your face muscles. You may want to do a guided meditation that helps you to focus on all the muscles of your body, one by one so that you relax each of them. This takes practice. Most people are used to carrying tension in certain parts of their body. But over time, with practice, you can reverse this trend and learn to keep your facial muscles a bit more relaxed.
Consider Pain Medication
You may also want to use anti-inflammatory meds to alleviate your TMJ symptoms. Start with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or whatever your dentist recommends. If the pain is too intense for this type of medication to be effective, you may want to talk with your dentist or doctor about prescription pain medication.
However, these treatments aren’t a permanent solution for TMJ symptoms. If you are having trouble speaking or if your pain is getting in the way of your day-to-day existence, you should see a dentist. At Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery, we can help you with your TMJ by performing surgery, fitting you for an oral appliance or Botox injections for TMJ. To learn more or to make an appointment, contact us today. We look forward to treating you.