Home remedies for TMJ dysfunction can be quite effective at helping to manage this painful condition. TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder is frequently caused by bruxism where people clench or grind their teeth subconsciously, often while asleep. This leads to wear and tear on the temporomandibular joint which can cause constant pain not just to the joint but also to the surrounding areas including the head and neck.
Remedies that can be used at home for TMJ are relatively simple and can work wonders once you find the remedy that suits you the best. They include:
- Having a warm bath before bedtime can be very effective for relaxing the whole body and giving a better quality of sleep.
- Ensuring that your bed and pillow are comfortable, especially if your TMJ is as a result of bruxism. This is because bruxism is associated with sleep disorders and stress, so anything that aids a better night’s sleep will be helpful. It’s possible to buy supportive pillows especially for bruxism, and it can be better to sleep on your back down on your side as it’s far more difficult to clench and grind your teeth in this position. Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to better health overall and a greater sense of relaxation.
- Having a relaxing massage is also good for relieving stress, even if it just involves gently massaging the area surrounding your temporomandibular joint.
- Using warm or cold compresses on your jaw area will help to relieve the pain, and will relax the muscles. This can also be helpful for headaches associated with TMJ.
- Using ready-made mouth guards can help people who haven’t been prescribed a custom-made mouth guard by their dentist. These can be purchased cheaply in many stores and are worn while sleeping. They help to prevent jaw clenching and grinding, protecting your teeth and temperament of the joint.
- Using over-the-counter pain relief to alleviate symptoms.
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine or sugar rich food and drink before bedtime can give a better quality of sleep. Alcohol in particular can have an adverse effect on the muscles while sleeping, and can aggravate TMJ, and it is a myth that it gives a better night sleep.
- Avoid smoking a few hours before bedtime as nicotine is also a stimulant.
- Perform simple facial stretching exercises several times a day to relax the muscles in the jaw and face. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete a simple exercise routine, and a lot of people find it useful to do this several times a day. Your dentist can recommend some exercises, and it can be helpful to use a warm compress to relax the muscles before beginning your routine. These exercises help to strengthen the jaw muscles as they tend to be weaker on one side in TMJ sufferers. Exercising can help align the jaw more correctly.
- Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or guided meditation. Deep breathing will help oxygenate the whole body enabling it to deal more efficiently with the healing process and pain management.