For the majority of people, laughing, eating and talking are things we can do without thinking, but for other people, those who have TMJ disorders, using the mouth and jaw joint can cause pain. In some cases, TMJ pain will go away on its own and without intervention, but for other people, TMJ pain can linger and cause chronic discomfort. Fortunately, there are a lot of different things you can try to relieve yourself of pain from temporomandibular disorders. Let’s take a look at how you may be able to get TMJ pain relief. 


How Does The Temporomandibular Joint Work?

When you use your mouth to speak or eat, it requires the interplay between various muscles and joints that are connected to your temporomandibular joints. The temporomandibular joint is the point at which the skull and the lower jaw come together.

Some of the more common temporomandibular disorders include infection, injury, arthritis and dislocation. These disorders can cause a clicking sound, locking in the jaw, ringing in the ears as well as neck pain.


How To Get TMJ Pain Relief Nonsurgically

Some patients may experience initial symptoms that may improve on their own over a course of days or weeks. Other people may experience chronic pain and discomfort that is exacerbated when they eat, swallow, speak or grind their teeth.

If you have TMJ pain, here is a checklist to help you

  • Make sure your jaw is always in its correct resting position
  • Get good sleep
  • Maintain the correct posture
  • Use hot or cold therapy for TMJ pain relief
  • Apply stress management techniques to your life
  • Identify and eliminate bad habits
  • Avoid certain foods and activities



How To Get Pain Relief From TMJ Disorders?


Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

Your doctor or dentist can help in diagnosing TMJ disorders during a check up. During your consultation he or she will:

  • Feel and listen to your jaw when you open and close your mouth
  • Evaluate your jaw’s range of motion
  • Apply pressure on different parts of your jaw to see where it is painful or uncomfortable


Your dentist or GP may also order the following investigations:

  • X-rays of your teeth and jaw
  • An MRI to get a closer look at the disk of your temporomandibular joint or the soft tissue surrounding it
  • A CT scan to get a closer look at the bones

In some cases, a TMJ arthroscopy may be ordered. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a thin tube into your TMJ and use a small camera to have a look inside the joint.


How To Get TMJ Pain Relief?


Maintaining The Correct Resting Position Of Your Jaw

This means avoiding movements that open your jaw too wide. Examples include yelling and yawning. You also need to make a conscious effort to keep your jaw muscles relaxed.


Maintaining Correct Posture

If you sit or stand in the wrong posture for extended periods of time, it can cause TMJ pain too.  When you are working, driving your car and watching TV it’s important that you keep your spine in a straight and upright position. 


Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is the foundation of good general health and even more so if you experience TMJ pain. Sleeping on your back is a good way to ensure there is no pressure exerted on your jaw.


Using Hot And Cold Compresses For Pain Relief From TMJ Disorders

Using hot and cold compresses works well to alleviate pain from TMJ disorders. Ice can help with pain and swelling, while heat is good to relax muscles. Apply a compress for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Sometimes swapping between hot and cold therapy is required.


Practice Stress Reduction Techniques

We all carry a lot of stress in the jaw, and most of the time we are not even aware of it. Make sure you are not grinding your teeth throughout the day by opening your jaws wide enough to fit the tip of your tongue between them.


Jaw Exercises

Jaw exercises are effective at treating TMJ pain from some TMJ disorders. Some of the most common jaw exercises include 

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Stretch exercises
  • Relaxation exercises


Eliminating Bad Habits

There are plenty of bad habits that we all tend to do, and eliminating them could improve your TMJ pain:

  • Biting nails
  • Chewing the inside of your lips and teeth
  • Grinding your jaw and clenching your teeth
  • Avoiding Certain Foods And Activities

Experiencing temporomandibular disorders may show you that certain foods and activities can exacerbate your TMJ pain.


lessen discomfort tmj melbourneAvoid these activities, which have been known to cause jaw pain:

  • Avoiding very hard and crunchy food
  • Taking big bites out of your food
  • Avoiding very chewy food that tires out your jaw muscles
  • Chewing gum


Address Teeth Grinding And Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Some patients suffer from conditions that can worsen pain in the temporomandibular joint. One of these is teeth grinding. Many patients aren’t aware of it but they grind their teeth at night when asleep. This causes strain to the temporomandibular joint and can interfere with your efforts at getting pain relief. 

A portion of patients who grind their teeth at night have a condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). If you have OSA your airways collapse while you are asleep, blocking off your air supply and causing you to wake up countless times at night. It is a potentially dangerous condition and is often accompanied by teeth grinding. 

Wearing a mouthguard at night can protect your teeth and provide a cushion for your jaw. A custom-fitted mouthguard offers your jaw the highest level of protection against tooth grinding. 


For help with TMJ pain relief or for further investigations into your temporomandibular disorders, please contact us

Armadale: (03) 9068 5355
Footscray: (03) 9068 5357
Niddrie: (03) 9068 5316

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