Do you experience frequent headaches after you chew and talk? Do you have excessive pain in between your ears and jaw? If so, then you might be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) for short.
This is a disorder that can include pain within the jaw’s muscles, tendons, nerves, or ligaments. It’s caused by irregular usage or improper function of the jaw, thus causing pain when you chew or talk.
Luckily, there are several exercises that you can perform to help. See below for several TMJ exercises that can relieve the pain in your jaw and start to strengthen its functionality as well.
1. Goldfish Exercise
One thing that you’ll notice about most of the TMJ exercises on this list is that they’re easy to perform, not painful, and are actually quite fun to do!
Starting things off, you have the goldfish exercise, named after the open-mouthed face you’ll make at the peak of the exercise.
Start by putting your left pointer finger in your ear and your right pointer finger on the center of your chin.
Press your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and slowly drop your jaw halfway to its full extension (right before you feel your jaw joint stretch). Quickly close the jaw, then repeat.
Next, you’ll want to do the same exercise, this time bringing your jaw completely down and back. This variation strengthens the muscles and tendons in your jaw.
You’ll want to do each variation (both halfway and full extension) six separate times a day, performing 8 reps each time. If it starts to get too painful to do the full extension, then dial it back a bit.
2. Tongue Stretches
Bear in mind that these stretches are used to relieve the pain in your TMJ, not cure it. In order to cure your TMJ, you’ll need to search for who treats TMJ and take back control of your pain.
That said, this tongue stretch exercise can give you quick relief from TMJ pain. Start by opening up your mouth as long and wide as is comfortable for you.
Take your tongue and press it up against the roof of your mouth. Slowly drag it along the roof of your mouth towards the back of your throat. Once you feel a soft part in the roof of your mouth, stop and apply as much pressure as you can to that spot for 5 seconds.
Once that 5 seconds is up, stick your tongue out of your mouth as if you were a child teasing one of your friends.
You’ll want to repeat that cadence six separate times to experience quick relief from your TMJ pain.
3. Pencil Test Exercise
For this next exercise, you’ll want to have a pencil or pen ready to use. Start by grabbing the pencil and place it in between your top and bottom rows of teeth, as if you were going to bite down on it. Keep just enough pressure on the pencil to hold it in place.
While keeping the pencil in place, move your jaw from side to side. You should hear some cracking sounds as you do this. Start by going through each side ten times each.
If you find it too complicated to keep the pencil in place, then feel free to hold the pencil in your mouth with your hand.
To make this exercise more complicated, all you need to do is find a thicker item to place inside. You can repeat the same exercise while reducing the number of reps for each set. Perform this exercise two to three times a day for maximum relief.
4. Chin Tuck Exercise
To perform this exercise, you’ll want your entire body to be as upright as possible. So be sure to stand up, place your hands behind you while pulling your shoulders back and bringing your chest up.
All you have to do for this exercise, as the name would imply, is take your chin and tuck it into your neck, then back up again so that you’re looking straight ahead.
When you tuck your chin down, be sure to count to three Mississippis before you bring it back up. Perform ten to twelve reps of the exercise or until you feel relief from the pain.
It’s especially helpful when you’re experiencing a TMJ-related headache. Be sure to give it a try the next time you have one!
5. Open or Close Mouth With Resistance
Just to clarify, these should be performed as two separate exercises. However, they follow the same cadence, just with different ways to apply resistance.
The gist of the exercise is just to open and close your mouth as you naturally would. The resistance will apply more pressure and relieve your TMJ.
To perform resistance to opening your mouth, put your thumb underneath your chin, and gently push up on it while you try to open your mouth.
For resistance to closing your mouth, grab your chin with both hands and lightly pull down on your chin while you try to close your jaw.
Perform These TMJ Exercises Whenever You Feel Pain
Now, anytime that you’re experiencing pain from TMJ, you have a plethora of different TMJ exercises to try out.
Take the time to figure out what’s specifically causing your TMJ flare-ups. You can work with experienced professionals to find out the cause, symptoms, and how to cure the TMJ case that’s specific to you.
Be sure to browse our website for more articles relating to TMJ, as well as many other articles and topics that you will find helpful.