Health experts estimate over 10 million adults are affected by temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, otherwise known as TMJ. This painful condition can make daily tasks like eating and speaking extremely difficult. Rajendra Desai, DDS PA, in Columbia, MD, has been treating this disorder for over 35 years. Below, she provides five of the best practices you can use to ease your symptoms and supplement professional treatment.
5 Ways to Manage Your TMJ Symptoms
1. Implement Relaxation Exercises
Many patients experience TMJ symptoms due to stress. Practicing your personal relaxation techniques can prevent painful flare-ups. Consider taking a yoga class for guided relaxation each week. If you like to draw, spend a few hours sketching outside to escape the daily grind.
2. Perform Daily Jaw Exercises
Jaw exercises will prevent the stiffness that accompanies TMJ and promote the joint’s overall healing. For a simple exercise, hold your hand underneath your chin, and open your mouth for three to five seconds with slight resistance. This technique strengthens the muscles to support the jaw joint. You can also move your jaw from side to side to stretch the muscle and reduce pain.
3. Use Ice & Heat Therapies
A combination of cold and hot therapies can greatly reduce TMJ pain. Place a towel-wrapped ice pack on the area for 15 minutes once per hour to reduce inflammation. A warm cloth, on the other hand, will stimulate blood flow and improve the jaw’s range of motion.
4. Avoid Certain Foods
Eating chewy and crunchy foods on a regular basis can overwork the jaw and trigger TMJ soreness. Focusing on a soft-food diet provides the nutrients you need while giving your jaw a physical break.
5. Keep Over-the-Counter Medications Handy
Visit your local drugstore for an over-the-counter pain medicine that also reduces inflammation for quick relief. You can also invest in a numbing cream to lessen discomfort while you work out the soreness. Just check with your health care provider before beginning any new regimen.
TMJ pain can be frustrating and difficult, but utilizing the tips above will help you mitigate the discomfort. Combine these techniques with professional care from Rajendra Desai, DDS PA, to maximize your pain-management efforts. Call (410) 997-7412 to schedule a consultation, and visit their website for more information on the services this practice offers.