5 Tips for Managing Jaw Discomfort
5 Tips for Managing Jaw Discomfort
Did you know that about 11 to 12 million adults in the United States alone had pain in their temporomandibular joint (TMJ)?
At least you know you’re not alone. Even for the least talkative lifestyles, TMJ is still frequently engaged on a daily basis. From eating to gossiping and grinding your teeth in frustration, all that stress can add up to cause jaw discomfort.
So what do you do when your jaw clenching turns to jaw pain? Keep reading!
1. Use Hot or Cold Compress Properly
The good old-fashioned frozen peas and microwaved rice socks are the decorated heroes of at-home treatment for pain. Of course, it’s always nice to keep an actual ice pack and warm compress in your cabinet too.
It’s no surprise that 65% of TMJ patients turn to heat and cold therapy in the face of jaw pain. Both are quick, easy, and inexpensive. However, picking the wrong treatment may make your condition worse.
Heat improves blood circulation leading to muscle flexibility and faster healing. It’s your best bet when dealing with muscle and joint stiffness. Although, it can backfire if your problem involves inflammation.
Turn to a cold compress for inflammation because it limits blood flow and nerve activity. This reduces swelling and provides pain relief by numbing the area.
2. Watch Your Diet
If you want to eat your pain away, or eat in general, do it softly. Switch to a soft food diet to reduce stress on your jaw.
When trying to find relief from jaw pain, it’s a no-brainer to avoid hard and chewy food. If you can hardly move your mouth, you likely won’t be reaching for a granola bar anytime soon.
3. Avoid Causing More Jaw Discomfort
Habits like jaw clenching, teeth grinding (bruxism), and biting objects could have caused the pain in the first place. Unnecessary jaw exertion won’t only cause discomfort but also worsens the damage and slows healing.
The same goes for big jaw movements like yawning or singing. So you might want to cancel your shower concerts for a while.
Although the pain is already a good deterrent, unconscious teeth grinding in your sleep poses problems for those with sleep bruxism. In this case, nighttime bite guards can help. They’re available over-the-counter, but you can visit a dentist to get a custom fit.
4. Practice Proper Jaw Exercises
If there are unnecessary jaw exertions, there are also necessary ones.
Exertion doesn’t always mean strain. Stress can cause actions like jaw clenching and grinding. If so, you can opt for relaxation exercises to release tension.
You can also do stretching exercises to reduce muscle tension or preventative strengthening exercises to stop future pain.
5. Seek Professional Help
For every health problem, at-home remedies can only take you so far.
When quick pain relief doesn’t cut it anymore, get in touch with a TMJ specialist for a more effective treatment plan. This could involve anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers or surgery for extreme cases. Especially for chronic TMJ pain, proper diagnosis is important in case the cause is more than just stress.
Take Back Your Comfort!
Do you want to reclaim your shampoo bottle mic or enjoy your granola bar again? Make sure you know which home remedy works for you, avoid stressing your jaw, watch what you eat, do some jaw exercises, and seek help. Follow these five tips, and you will surely beat jaw discomfort!
Did you find this guide helpful? Check out our other guides for more jaw-dropping tips and tricks.