TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint disease is a medical disorder that influences the connective joint at the jaw. TMJ is usually caused by clenching the teeth or as a cause of jaw injury or arthritis. TMJ usually leads to stiffness and extreme pain in the jaw. With proper treatment and physical therapy for TMJ, its symptoms and severity may be controlled.
Importance Of Physical Therapy For TMJ
- Besides the extreme pain, if TMJ disease is not treated immediately, it may cause lockjaw, which will make it harder to close and open the mouth. More so, it may also affect the proper alignment of the jaw, which causes the uneven bite.
Medication To Use
TMJ is usually treated with a mixture of proper medications for extreme pains. Pain may commonly be treated with OTC or over-the-counter medicines. However, if the pain does not decrease after taking medicines, your doctor may prescribe another pain reliever with the proper dosage. Patients with extreme situations of TMJ may take a muscle relaxer, to aid in loosening the muscles on the jaw and prevent it from labored movement and lockjaw.
More so, your doctor may suggest that you undergo physical therapy for TMJ to regain the strength of the jaw muscles and enhance its flexibility. Exercises like “Max Opening” are usually suggested for TMJ sufferers. To do this exercise, you just simply open your mouth as wide as your mouth can.
Put your hand over your chin and slowly push it down to add more to the opening. Hold that position for 30 seconds and slowly release. You will be able to feel a slight pull; however, you must not feel pain at all. If in case you do, let go of the stretch and make sure to rest your jaw.
You may also do the “lateral movement routine”. For your left lateral movement, begin by slowly sliding your jaw to your left. Put your right hand on top of your right face and slowly push your jaw to your left for that enhanced stretch. Hold for half a minute and slowly release. You must feel a pull or stretch; however, you must not feel pain at all.
Self-Care For TMJ
Supplement your medical care with some self-care tips. Slowly massage your jaw during the day to avoid it from causing stiffness. Jaw massage may act as two essential purposes such as therapeutic for the jaw muscles and joints, and at the same time may also relax your facial muscles. Make use of your fingertips to massage the muscles in the front and below your ears to loosen stiff muscles. Putting a warm washcloth may also help in eliminating discomfort and pain.
Some professionals may indicate that patients may have developed their TMJ symptoms because of anxiety and stress. When patients are stressed, they may grind their teeth and clench their jaw unconsciously. Controlling your everyday stress and avoiding these bad and unhealthy habits may aid in preventing further development of TMJ.