Do you find your jaw bothers you throughout the day? Do you want to reach up and rub away the constant ache? Do you find you can't open your mouth as far as you once did? If this describes you, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
To get a proper diagnosis of this, you should see your dentist or doctor. Once you know what you're up against, you have a number of things you can do to give yourself the upper hand. Check out these 7 home remedies for easing TMJ.
1. Massage. Your jaw uses muscles to work the joint just like every other part of your body. Reader's Digest recommends giving those joints a massage to help alleviate the tension. Gently rub the joints in a circular motion for about 30 seconds. Besides relaxing muscles, the rubbing will help stimulate blood flow.
2. Hot and cold. The TMJA Association recommends using cold packs for 10 minutes at a time to help take down inflammation and reduce pain. You can use heat packs to help with movement through the joints too. You'll know which you need by what feels good.
3. Exercise. If your jaw is hurting, you don't normally think of doing aerobics or running, but The TMJA Association recommends exercise for dealing with TMJ. The endorphins released through exercise help will all sorts of pain, including jaw pain. It will also help you deal with your stress and hopefully keep you from clenching your jaw.
4. Relax. The Mayo Clinic reminds you to take time to relax. Stress may be part of the reason for your jaw pain, so developing some relaxation techniques, finding new hobbies, and practicing some deep breathing can all help reduce your discomfort.
5. Mouth guard. The TMJA Association recommends getting a tooth guard made for night. Often, people work their stress out while sleeping, clenching their jaw and grinding their teeth. The tooth guard keeps you from damaging your teeth and helps reduce the wear on your jaw. You can get ones that you mold yourself at the store or have a custom one made by your dentist.
6. Diet. When your jaw is really bothering you, altering your diet is a good idea. Reader's Digest reminds TMJ sufferers to eat soft foods. Avoid hard, chewy items and use breath mints instead of gum for freshening your breath. The repetitive motion of chewing hard substances is just extra wear-and-tear. To give your body extra help, eat a diet of food high in magnesium and omega-3 fats.
7. Acupuncture. Definitely not the typical home remedy, the Mayo Clinic says that acupuncture has been shown to help reduce the chronic pain that comes with TMJ. You still want to work on managing stress and diet, but you may find relief from the discomfort through this ancient Chinese practice.
Just putting up with pain doesn't have to be your way of life. You can reduce your discomfort by employing some of these simple remedies and can get back a pain-free life.