What Should You Do When You Have TMJ?
If you have been experiencing discomfort in your head or temples over a long period of time, you could have temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. It can be a painful, stressful experience to have this disorder, but there are a few things you can do to ensure that you start to experience relief.
The first thing you can do is to consult a specialist. While there is no particular kind of doctor who focuses only on TMJ disorder, you can still find a TMJ specialist who can help fix your problem. Oral surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and many dentists address TMJ disorders. Before going to an appointment, inquire about the specialist’s background and experience with TMJ symptoms.
When you meet with a dentist or a surgeon, they will give you a battery of tests to isolate the problem. They will take x-rays and measure your bone density, for instance. With the test results in hand, they can then recommend medication, surgery or other treatments to help your discomfort come to an end.
In addition to what you learn from the TMJ specialist you’re working with, there are also some natural measures you can take in order to soothe your pain. Some things you can do include:
1. Jaw Exercises
Just as you exercise other parts of your body and make them stronger than before, you can do that for your jaw to ease discomfort. One exercise to do is to simulate yawning, which will allow you to stretch out the muscles in your jaw. You can also open your mouth as wide as possible and then slowly move your jaw from the right to the left. This will work the jaw muscles as well. As you strengthen these muscles, you may start to feel better.
2. Massage Your Joints
For more immediate relief, it’s a good idea to use your fingers to massage the joints of your jaw just below and in front of your ears. Gently rubbing those areas in a circular motion will feel good and ease some of the pain.
3. Consume Magnesium-Rich Foods
A diet lacking in important nutrients can start to give you physical problems. There is some evidence to support the theory that a lack of sufficient magnesium can lead to TMJ pain. In one study, almost a quarter of those with TMJ disorder were found to be deficient in this vital nutrient. Supplements are good to take to help sleep and lessen clenching and grinding.
Therefore, one way to feel better is to eat foods that contain magnesium, such as leafy dark greens, dark chocolate, almonds and rice. You might also want to discuss supplements with your TMJ specialist.
4. Be a Back Sleeper
It might surprise you to discover that your sleeping position could at all be related to your TMJ disorder. However, sometimes the jaw can go slack on one side and put additional pressure on the other side if you sleep on your side or stomach. Back sleeping might be something to try to see if that helps.
With the information detailed in this article, you have the tools you need to start handling your TMJ symptoms and start to feel better. Work with your TMJ specialist to determine the best course of action for your particular health.