Should I Try TMJ Exercises?

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re suffering from pain related to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), you will likely try anything to alleviate your pain. Taking over-the-counter pain medications can only go so far and so does an ice pack. Maybe you’re avoiding hard-to-chew foods. One TMD treatment option you’ve likely come across are TMJ exercises. But do they really work?

woman with curly, black hair suffering from jaw pain

Signs and Symptoms of TMD

Before you start a new exercise regimen, it’s important to understand if you have TMD. The only way to find out for sure is by visiting a TMJ dentist for an examination. Watch for these signs and symptoms of TMD to know whether it’s worth a trip to the dentist for a diagnosis.

  • Jaw, neck, face, and back pain
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Lockjaw
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Tinnitus
  • Clogged/muffled ear
  • Ear pain
  • Worn and/or chipped teeth
  • Clenching and grinding

If any of those symptoms sound familiar, please schedule an appointment with Dr. White.

Different Types of TMJ Exercises

At this point, you think you have TMD or you’ve visited a dentist who told you that you have it. If you visited the dentist, they will recommend different treatment options. Maybe these treatments didn’t help you, or maybe you don’t want to pay for them. Whatever the reason, you’re now considering TMJ exercises. These exercises might temporarily help alleviate your pain, but they won’t provide you with long-term relief.

Strengthening

One of the first types of TMJ exercises to try is strengthening exercises. Strengthening exercises are most effective when performed between TMD flare-ups. If you do these during times of severe pain, it can make the pain worse.

One exercise involves placing your thumb under your chin and then pushing your chin downward against it. Open your mouth against the pressure of your thumb and hold your mouth open for 5 to 10 seconds at a time.

For the second exercise, open your mouth as wide as comfortably possible. Then, place your index finger between your lower lip and chin. Push in as you close your mouth against the resistance.

Relaxation

TMD pain is often a result of tension and stress. Relaxation exercises can help relax the jaw and provide relief.

Try taking deep breaths slowly as one way to relax. Another way is to lie down in a comfortable position and then tense and relax each muscle of your body.

Stretching

The last form of exercise that can help relieve TMD pain is stretching exercises. Start by placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth and then open your mouth as wide as possible. Hold it open for 5 to 10 seconds.

You can also place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and then extend your lower jaw out as far as possible, holding for 5 to 10 seconds.

woman suffering from TMJ, Jaw pain

Get TMD Treatment in Nashville

Although the exercises listed above might provide you with some relief, it isn’t a long-term solution. They also might make your condition feel worse. The same is true for patients who wear a night guard at night. Though that will prevent damage from clenching and grinding, the TMD flare-ups will still happen and the root cause won’t be addressed.

When you visit the Center for Advanced Dentistry in Nashville, Dr. White will use advanced dental technology to accurately diagnose your condition. These involve 3D jaw tracking, joint vibration analysis, electromyography, and Transcutaneous Electro Neural Stimulation.

The advanced technology provides Dr. White with as many details as possible about your jaw and surrounding muscles, nerves, and tissues. With this information, he will create a treatment plan that uses a neuromuscular approach. Our ultimate goal is to help your jaw relax in a comfortable, balanced position at all times.

If you’re suffering from TMD pain, skip the exercises and treatment options you find online and come visit our neuromuscular dentist instead. Dr. White can provide you with long-term relief. Contact us at (615) 383-6787 to book an appointment today.