TMJ disorders are painful disorders that cause symptoms such as headaches and facial pain, and we will discuss the treatment of TMJ symptoms with exercises and all methods in tedious detail.
TMJ disorders, are a painful disorders that cause symptoms such as headache, migraine, dizziness, earache, jaw and facial pain, and this results when excessive pressure is placed on the joints that connect the jaw to the lower part of the jaw. The skull becomes inflamed and painful.
The good news is that there are treatments that are proven to relieve this condition, so those who suffer from it just need to find the TMJ treatment that works best for them.
Treatments for TMJ vary from easy and non-invasive to more complex and intrusive procedures that a health care professional should perform. It is usually recommended to start with the easy treatments first. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation and keep the joints from deteriorating. The easiest treatments can be done at home.
Making changes in one’s diet has been shown to be beneficial in improving TMJ symptoms. Not eating hard foods that put pressure on the jaw is beneficial and also reduces the amount of caffeine one takes in because it can increase tension and pressure in the jaw. It has been observed that increasing calcium intake helps reduce pain since it acts as a natural muscle relaxant.
What about The Cure of TMJ Disorders?
Some easy home remedies, such as heat and jaw exercises, provide pain relief for many sufferers. Placing a washcloth soaked in warm water over the affected joint at the beginning of the spasm can be soothing and keep the pain away.
There are also TMJ exercises that can be beneficial if performed every day; It simply involves opening and closing the mouth and extending the jaw from side to side.
Teeth grinding is one of the preventable TMJ causes. This usually happens while people sleep so they don’t realize they are doing it until they are in pain the next day. It can be prevented by wearing a mouth guard while sleeping, which can be prescribed by a dentist. Sometimes another device called an intraoral orthosis is used which is a splint that improves jaw alignment and prevents strain.
Invasive and Non-invasive options
There are also more invasive options for those who haven’t worked out than the simpler ones. These include injections and surgery. Surgery is usually done if the condition is severe and all other treatment methods have failed. The injections are done selectively and may either be with Lidocaine to relieve pain for some time, or with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Chiropractic care has been found to be beneficial for patients as well. By making adjustments to the neck, shoulders and, less commonly, to the actual joint in the jaw, pain can be reduced. Sometimes massage and other means are used in the treatment as well.
Those who suffer from TMJ pain should seek out a TMJ treatment that will successfully put an end to the pain.
One can try simple home remedies first and if they cannot subdue the discomfort, then specialist treatment can be sought.
One or more of these treatments is usually effective for most people. We will discuss the treatment of TMJ pain in boring detail in this article, but let’s now talk about Botox injection for relief pain of TMJ disorders.
How does Botox treat jaw tension and TMJ disorder?
Botox relieves tension in the jaw, making the muscles unable to participate in the powerful and often unconscious jaw movement that causes headaches and pain.
An alternative treatment for Botox for TMJ disorders and jaw tension is often quick, simple and effective. A non-surgical procedure, Botox injections are given in a doctor’s office and the treatment does not require a hospital stay. Most patients feel noticeable improvement within a day or two of the first treatment, although relief may last up to a week.
Video For TMJ Pain with Botox Injection
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Symptoms For TMJ: What To Look Out For
Many people are quite familiar with the common symptoms of TMJ disorders, a jawbone disorder that can cause a person headache and ear pain.
There is no consensus as to what causes this jaw based disorder, but many dentists believe that the problem is based in the temporal bone of the skull. There are many people who are looking for relief from this troubling disorder.
Most people with this jaw bone disorder will report that they experience headache, either mild or moderate, many times each week. The headaches come and go, but will be triggered in some cases by cold air or excessive chewing or speaking. The problem that accompanies earache is that equilibrium can be affected which can lead to dizziness.
The feeling as if one is taking off in a jet airliner can accompany this jaw bone disorder. When the jawbone becomes oversensitive to stimulation, such as chewing or speaking, the ears will develop a fullness feeling. Even though the sufferer tries to work his jaw to eliminate the pressure, the fullness feeling can last for hours.
Top 7 Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
The most often reported symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder include a few that may not initially seem to be related to the disorder. They include:
1- Ear pain
This symptom has been reported along with pain in the face and jaw area and occurs more when the person tries to speak or chew.
Most people with TMJ disorders experience frequent headaches on the side of the head. This pain has even progressed into pain behind the eyes in some cases. Any movement of the jaw seems to worsen the pain.
3- Locked jaw
The joint of the jaw may get locked while moving to open or close.
Many people hear popping noises while opening or closing their mouths. Others complain of crunching or grinding noises during the same movement. Those who experience noise in the jaw, but have no pain or are not limited in movement may not have the disorder.
5- Impaired hearing
A small percentage of people with TMJ disorders have reported hearing problems. Experts feel that this may be caused by muscle spasms in the eustachian tube that interfere with its opening and closing movement. Other sufferers complain of ringing in their ears.
6- Changes in teeth
TMJ disorder can cause the upper and lower teeth not to fit together the way they should. This is considered an abnormal bite. Abnormal bite can sometimes be caused simply by misaligned teeth, but it can also be the result of missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw.
If the top teeth don’t meet the bottom teeth properly when a person bites down on something, the jaw joint will eventually be damaged. This will obviously make eating very difficult for the person.
Close to half of the people diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder complain of feeling dizzy or off balance. It has not been determined what causes this symptom to occur in conjunction with TMJ.
8- Others Symptoms
A common indicator of jaw bone disorder is teeth grinding in one’s sleep. A person who grinds his teeth at night is usually not aware of the problem. The physiotherapist is quick to spot this problem which is why it is important to visit the physical therapy clinic regularly so that the physiotherapist can diagnose problems before the problems cause permanent damage.
Common symptoms of jaw disorder is crackling made during the day when one is speaking or eating. This might not seem serious, but it could indicate that the cartilage in the jaw is being dissolved. Once the cartilage erodes the bone will grind against bone without cushioning.
Bloodshot eyes are a common indicator that a person is suffering from a jaw disorder because the jaw disorder affects the eyes and causes eye pain.
The exact cause of TMJ disorder has not been determined. Additional names for the disorder include Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Costen’s Syndrome and Imposter Disease. It can vary from one case to another, but there are a number of habits and issues that can lead to the disorder.
TMJ disorders symptoms can be caused by fractures in any of the facial bones, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chewing gum on a regular basis, biting fingernails, misaligned teeth, grinding of the teeth and holding the jaws together tightly.
It has also been discovered that temporomandibular joint disorder often accompanies other disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and endometriosis. Certain medical issues such as scleroderma, dystonia and Lyme Disease may in turn cause problems with the temporomandibular joint as well.
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TMJ Treatment Options
Many people suffer from an inflammatory condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. Bridging the gap between the skull and mandible, problems with the joint can manifest as pain in the jaw, headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing impairment and issues with the teeth. Bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and connective tissue are all involved. Often, there is a popping or clicking sound heard when the mouth is opened.
The disorders of TMJ can be caused by factors such as teeth grinding, nail biting, trauma to the area or a degenerative condition such as arthritis.
TMJ treatment varies and depends on the severity of the symptoms. Some people find relief with something as simple as a mouth guard, to prevent grinding of the teeth, while others must resort to long term solutions involving dentistry or surgery on the temporomandibular joint itself.
Some of the more common TMJ treatment options are outlined in the following list:
1- Occlusal Splint
Also know as a mouth guard, an occlusal splint can reduce or even prevent involuntary jaw clenching and teeth grinding issues that can result in TMJ. This method does not work for all sufferers. Some people encounter a worsening of symptoms over time.
2- Biofeedback Device
Worn as a headband, a biofeedback device can interrupt the cycle of teeth grinding and lead to relief of symptoms.
3- Corrective Dentistry
One cause of TMJ disorders is improper occlusal surfaces or discrepancies in the bite, on teeth. This results in the person chewing incorrectly, leading to muscle spasms and pain.
Those with crowns or bridges are especially vulnerable to this problem. If a dental restorations are causing a problem, they will need to be adjusted or even replaced to bring relief to the patient.
Longer term dentistry treatments can include splints that reposition the jaw and its muscles, orthodontic procedures, irrigation of the joint and surgical correction of a malformed jaw. A drastic and last resort approach is the replacement of jaw discs and joints with implants.
4- Pain Management
An unfortunate fact of TMJ is that since it is neurological in origin, it does not respond too well to conventional medications such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen. Tri-cyclic antidepressants in low doses have been found to be effective, due to their anti-muscarinic actions.
As TMJ is a result of an imbalance in muscles, biofeedback using a mirror can be of help. A vertical line drawn on the mirror can show the patient exactly how the jaw muscles are working and when they are relaxed. This can lead to a reduction or elimination of pain.
5- Changing Bad Habits
TMJ often results from what is known as para-functional habits. Para-functional means using something in a way it was not meant to be used.
Anyone in TMJ disorders treatment will need to be assessed for habits such as jaw clenching, teeth grinding, biting the cheeks or lips or placing the jaw in an otherwise unnatural position. Any of these situations will cause pain and inflammation.
Changing mouth habits and applying physical therapy to chewing muscles, as well as to improving head and neck posture, will help the patient get on the right track again.
6- Exercises for TMJ Disorders
Sometimes, the pain may spread to your back, neck, or ear. Sometimes the whole body may ache. In the event of this disorder, you should search for the nearest specialized physiotherapy clinic immediately. If left untreated, its severity may increase gradually, from the mild to the chronic stage.
Basic exercises can treat and sometimes eliminate the TMJ completely. Although the exercises seem simple, they should be performed with the advice of your doctor.
Successful exercises, as shown below, will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of this disease.
7- Other Treatments
A mandibular repositioning device or MORA can reduce TMJ clicking and popping symptoms, but only in the short term. The drawback is the device forces teeth into a new position which may make overall treatment more difficult. It should be noted that the MORA device has not been proven effective by science.
Exercise has been shown to reduce levels of stress chemicals in the body and alleviate symptoms such as teeth grinding. It has to be kept up on a regular basis or the problem may return.
Some sufferers have to resort to oral surgery to find relief. Based on CAT scans and MRIs, these surgical techniques are only recommended in the most stubborn of cases where traditional therapies have failed.
One such procedure is the arthrocentesis, where the jaw is cleaned with saline solution. This can reduce the inflammation, but is considered to be a drastic procedure.
Exercises For TMJ Disorders
TMJ is a disorder which causes dislocation between the upper and lower jaws. Little known TMJ exercises are very effective in reversing this condition.
It suffices to say that the temporamandibular joint is the in-between link between the brain skull and the jaw.
The reason behind disjointed jaws continues to be a subject under research. However, medical experts believe that continuous exposure of the jaws to stress could be the cradle of the problem. Teeth abrasion, or bruxism, while someone is asleep, has also been advanced as possible reason.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 1:
- To start with range of motion, the first of the TMJ exercises is a stretch for the temporomandibular joint.
- Sit straight-backed in a supportive chair, looking directly ahead.
- Then, raise your tongue to the roof of your mouth; it will remain there for the entire exercise.
- Slowly open your mouth, maintaining steady breathing, and stop just before stretching meets pain.
- Count for five seconds at that spot, then slowly close your mouth.
- Complete 10 repetitions.
It’s important to begin with this exercise because it defines the threshold of pain while preparing the joint for strength exercises.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 2:
- The next exercise incorporates resistance into the same motion to strengthen the neck and jaw muscles.
- Place your elbow on a surface at around diaphragm height, such as a low table.
- Rest your head on your fist.
- Repeat exercise 1, making sure to move slowly and with control against the resistance of your fist.
- Using a chair’s armrest is discouraged because you will slouch and exert extra downward force on your elbow, which may slip and result in injury.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 3:
This exercise uses mandibular protraction, or the thrusting out of the lower jaw to strengthen the muscles that support the temporomandibular joint.
- After establishing strong posture, slowly glide the lower jaw muscle forward, making an underbite.
- Hold for 2 seconds, and then bring your chin back.
- Make sure that the first repetition is very slow and controlled.
- If there is no pain at all, do 15 repetitions.
- To provide light resistance, push against your chin steadily with your fist.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 4:
Mandibular retraction is the opposite of exercise 3, and may seem awkward or uncomfortable the first time through your TMJ exercises.
- With the same posture and positioning, move the mandible backwards this time so that you have a large overbite.
- It won’t move very far, probably an inch.
- Hold for 2 seconds and bring the mandible forward again.
- It’s even more important than with exercise 3 to do this exercise slowly, as too much pressure on the nerves behind the temporal mandibular joint can create problems.
- This is why boxers aim for the chin.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 5:
To increase lateral stabilization of the jaw, you must change the axis from “front and back” exercises to “side to side” exercises.
- For this one, which incorporates mouth opening as well, begin by opening your mouth about one inch.
- Upon first opening your mouth, choose a side to move your jaw towards.
- On the next repetition, go the other direction.
- Continue alternating left and right until you have completed 10 repetitions.
- Always alternate to avoid overworking the TMJ side.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 6:
After having stretched the jaw laterally, it’s time to incorporate resistance. For this exercise, don’t actively move your jaw at all.
- Place your fist against a cheek so that your knuckles are just under your cheekbone.
- Depending on your strength and pain level, apply anywhere between 3 to 8 pounds of steady resistance.
- Only let your jaw move an inch to the side.
- Hold for five seconds and repeat ten times.
- It’s still a good idea to conduct this exercise on both sides of the jaw to support proper biomechanics and symmetry.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 7:
- Let your chin rest on your palm.
- Clench your fist to provide firm rest position for the chin and ensure enough pressure is exerted.
- Maintain the pressure while you open your mouth slowly.
- Repeat opening and closing of the mouth at intervals of ten seconds after each break.
- Should you notice increase in the popping sound, abandon the routine.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 8:
- This requires you to place two of your fingers atop your lower teeth.
- Press hard against your teeth as you open your mouth wide.
- Close it again and perform repeat operations as many times as you can until ten minutes elapses.
- Take due care while carrying out the above sequence.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 9:
- There is another cheap but effective sequence.
- Place the tip of your tongue underneath the upper roof of your mouth.
- Do this before you open the mouth.
- Keep it in position and slowly but steady open the mouth to maximum.
- Close it again and repeat the sequence severally.
- Every time, maintain the position and pressure on your jaw-tongue contact.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 10:
- Press your jaw on the right and left sides, with your fingers.
- Apply equivalent force on each side, as if to align them using a clamp. This is meant to achieve alignment of the jaws.
- As many times as comfortably possible, open and close the mouth.
- Should you feel pain, then you should terminate the exercise.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 11:
While on the topic of proper biomechanics, it’s important to “re-educate” your jaw to work properly, as it probably opens crooked because of the TMJ.
- To remedy this, stand in front of a mirror and face directly ahead, focusing on your jaw.
- Open your mouth and, observing the bias, correct your jaw so that it opens and closes straight.
- Repeat this ten times.
- This exercise will directly target and strengthen the muscles that need it most.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 12:
- Reassessing your flexibility and strength after a regiment of TMJ exercises helps you track progress and set goals.
- Roll your tongue back and then open.
- Holding for 2 seconds at the top.
If a physical therapist or friend with a goniometer is nearby, measure your progress.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 12:
Neck muscles that attach near the temporomandibular joint are often damaged with TMJ patients, and tend to radiate pain downwards. Whether you feel any pain in the neck or not, keeping your neck flexible and strong is a must.
- Start with slowly bend your neck in each of the cardinal directions until you feel a strong but comfortable pull.
- Gently assist with your hand on your head if necessary.
- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
TMJ Disorders Exercises 14:
- Finally, to eliminate all possibility of neck pain, do some neck isometrics.
- Place your fist against your forehead, applying steady pressure, and push your neck against it.
- Neither your fist nor your head should move.
- Do the same for side bends, and neck extension, placing your fist on each temple and the back of your head, respectively.
- Complete 10 repetitions of 5-second holds for all four directions.
TMJ Therapy – How to Manage The Pain of TMJ Disorders
It is important to know how to manage your TMJ with therapy. The pain that is associated by this condition is very intense.
Therapy should therefore be the first alternative in trying to manage this disorder. The therapy will effectively manage the condition and better results will be seen.
As we mentioned before TMJ disorders occurs due to many reasons. An injury to the jaw can cause this problem. Also not having enough nutrients in the body causes the onset of the development of TMJ. This is caused by the amount of strain that the body goes through as a result of not having sufficient nutrients which in turn leads to the muscles in the jaw tightening.
Therapy For TMJ Disorders
It is essential to note that stress is in fact an element that contributes to this condition. Learning how to avoid stress is one way of ensuring that the condition is being managed well.
Whenever we experience a nervous tension, we find ourselves tightening our jaw muscles and also the facial muscles. It is therefore vital to learn how to avoid pressure. This can be done by enrolling for classes which offer stress management lessons.
Yoga is good for managing pressure. One will be taught various ways to relax and this includes how to breathe well.
Exercises that can stretch the jaw muscles gently are advised. Squeezing the jaw will eventually lead to a lot of pain. One can slowly open their mouth as wide as they can and when they start to feel some pain, it is advised to stop then open the mouth again. This will make the muscles relax. It is a good form of work out for the jaw.
It is crucial to practice good posture positions. Whenever one stays on the same position for a long time, it is likely to put a lot of stress on specific muscles. It is therefore advised to change postures frequently. This will have a great impact on curbing the pain.
Diet Is important
A change of the diet will also reduce the pain associated with this disorder. It is imperative to avoid foods which are rich in sugar as well as those with a lot of yeast.
A doctor will be in a good position of listing all the food that you should avoid and those which are good for you. It is, however, advised to take foods which have a positive impact on the jaws when chewing them.
Warm towels can also be used to alienate pain. For some, they may prefer to use ice instead. The warm towel is placed on the face for a few minutes at a time.
When using ice, rub it on the painful area for a few minutes until you begin to feel some lack of sensation in that area and easing of the pain.
When one is equipped with the above knowledge on how to manage pain with TMJ therapy, they will be at ease in realizing that the condition can be managed effectively. There is a solution; just find the right one for you.
It is also vital that one should frequently consult with the doctor when using therapy. The medical practitioner will be able to check the progress.
Video For Massage For TMJ disorders Pain Relief
At this juncture, you should appreciate that some simple TMJ exercises are easy to accomplish. All of them may be administered while at home. However, it is always important to seek professional advice from the relevant medical practitioners. Consult one to provide you with proper direction. Advanced exercises for TMJ disorders also exist but can only be executed with the correct advice for your own particular TMJ symptoms from your doctor.
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I’m Kyrillos Mina, CEO and founder of Fitoont. I work as a physiotherapist, I created this platform to treat people with all the diseases and symptoms that physical therapy treats. In addition, I will provide tips to lose weight through diet and exercise plans.