What Are the Best TMJ Exercises for Pain Relief?

TMJ can cause extensive pain and luckily there are some good exercises available which can help alleviate these symptoms.  The best TMJ exercises for pain relief are quite simple to do.

Try warming up your muscles before exercising

Warming up your muscles before exercising is standard advice, and while it’s not strictly necessary for TMJ exercises it may make it more comfortable.  Using warm compresses on the afflicted area will not only help to ease the pain but will also make it more comfortable for your muscles to move.  If you have time you can apply warm compresses for about 20 minutes.

Opening and closing your mouth in front of your bathroom mirror

In this exercise stand in front of your bathroom mirror and watch as you open and close your mouth.  You are looking for any slight deviations in your jaw where the jaw shifts to one side, and which are almost always present in TMJ sufferers.  The jaw generally shifts towards the side that is most damaged, and without treatment the good side will become overused and will develop problems.

Once you have identified this slight deviation in your jaw try opening your mouth completely straight, which may be difficult as the muscles will be weak on the more damaged side.  You should try and open and close correctly 10 times and then rest.  Repeat this twice more and try to do this exercise three or four times a day.

Stretching your muscles

TMJ pain is generally caused by tight muscles, and gentle stretching can help to relax these muscles.  This can be done by opening your mouth as wide as you can without causing discomfort and then very slowly closing your mouth again.  Now try to do it by opening up to the left side and then slowly closing, and then repeating on the right side.  You should repeat this exercise until your muscles feel more relaxed.

Once you have become used to doing this exercise try using your hand to make the stretches bigger.  Only stretch your muscles as far as is comfortable as the idea is not to cause any additional pain.  Some people find that using hot compresses during this exercise is beneficial as it helps to increase blood flow to the area.

Additional exercises

Other best TMJ exercises for pain relief include relaxation exercises.  This can be as simple as breathing exercises way you use your diaphragm to breathe in and out.  Your diaphragm is located at the base of your ribs and you should feel it contracting and relaxing as you breathe. This is called conscious breathing and helps to relax the central nervous system.

In order to do it properly you need to sit or stand up straight and as you breathe in you should feel your ribs moving outwards as your diaphragm expands.  Your breathing should be slow and steady and continuous, and that should give you a feeling of relaxation.  As TMJ is closely related to stress taking the time out to do some breathing exercises, or any kind of relaxation exercises can be very beneficial.  It will also ensure that your muscles are fully oxygenated and able to function optimally.

All these exercises are worth a go whenever you feel pain from TMJ.  Try experimenting to find out which one has the most beneficial effect for you.

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