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Home > Dental Conditions > TMJ & TMD > TMJ & TMD Treatment > TMJ Exercises A Step-By-Step Guide To Relief
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TMJ Exercises: A Step-By-Step Guide To Relief

 

TMJ exercises can play an important role in relieving the jaw, neck, shoulder and back pain associated with temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome. It's important to visit the dentist before beginning jaw exercises for TMJ. Many of the symptoms of TMJ, including headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and ringing in the ears, could indicate other serious health conditions. A dentist's diagnosis is the only way to determine which exercises for TMJ are best for you.

Which TMJ Exercises Are Right for You?

Most exercises for TMJ focus on massaging and stretching the muscles of the face, shoulders, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and back of the neck. Always consult with your dentist before trying any jaw exercises for TMJ. While the following TMJ exercises are rather typical, your dentist may feel that another program is better suited to your condition.

TMJ Exercises – Jaw exercises for TMJ can help relieve pain.

TMJ Exercise #1: Total Body Relaxation -- Stress is a common cause of TMJ-related discomfort so it's not surprising that a key to relief is an exercise promoting total body relaxation. The following TMJ exercise is designed to decrease muscular tension in the jaw, neck and shoulders. It is the starting point for each exercise in this program. All the jaw exercises for TMJ outlined here should be performed in front of a mirror so you can monitor your performance.

1. Stand up straight. Clear your mind. Allow your body's tension in your to flow away.
2. Say the word "Emma" and let your mouth drop open slightly keeping your teeth apart.
3. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth just above the upper front teeth. Hold it there in the "clucking" position.
4. Breathe from the diaphragm (your abdominal area) not the chest.

TMJ Exercise #2: No More Snap, Crackle and Pop -- Many exercises for TMJ address specific TMJ symptoms. This TMJ exercise is designed to reduce the clicking noises by restoring proper tracking to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

1. Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth in the "clucking" position.
2. Place one index finger on the TMJ which is giving you the most trouble.
3. Place your other index finger on your chin.
4. Using the index finger on your chin as a guide, allow your lower jaw to drop down and back. This should be done in a straight up and down motion which brings your chin to your throat. Make sure your tongue remains on the roof of your mouth.
5. Repeat this exercise five times, five times per day.

TMJ Exercise #3: Get Back on Track -- This TMJ exercise is also geared to restoring proper tracking to the TMJ. It replaces the previous exercise after you complete the recommended five-day cycle.

1. Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth in the "clucking" position.
2. Place both index fingers on your TMJs.
3. Allow your lower jaw to drop down and back. This should be done in a straight up and down motion which brings your chin to your throat. Make sure your tongue remains on the roof of your mouth.
4. Repeat this exercise five times, five times per day.

TMJ Exercise #4: Improve Your Timing -- This jaw exercise focuses on restoring proper sequencing and timing to your TMJ. It replaces the previous exercise after you complete the recommended five-day cycle.

1. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth in the "clucking" position.
2. Put one index finger on the TMJ which is giving you the most trouble.
3. Place your other index finger on your chin.
4. Using the index finger on your chin as a guide, allow your lower jaw to drop down and back. This should be done in a straight up and down motion which brings your chin to your throat.
5. Allow your tongue to drop from the roof of your mouth.
6. Repeat this exercise five times, five times per day.

TMJ Exercise #5: Improve Your Tracking -- This jaw exercise will improve your TMJ tracking; basically, the way your mouth opens and closes. It replaces the previous exercise after you complete the recommended five-day cycle.

1. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth in the "clucking" position.
2. Put both index fingers on your TMJs.
3. Allow your lower jaw to drop down and back. This should be done in a straight up and down motion which brings your chin to your throat.
4. Allow your tongue to drop from the roof of your mouth.
5. Repeat this exercise five times, five times per day.

TMJ Exercise #6: Get Stronger -- In addition to strengthening your jaw muscles, this TMJ exercise will help you establish a normal jaw position at rest and in the open-mouth position. It can be done in conjunction with previously outlined jaw exercises.

1. Relax your jaw with your teeth apart.
2. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth in the "clucking" position.
3. Use your index finger to apply light pressure -- a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 -- to the left side of your jaw for two seconds. This action should be repeated on the right side of the jaw, and under the chin pushing toward the ceiling (use your thumb for this one).
4. Using your index finger again, apply two seconds of light pressure diagonally on the left side of the jay pushing toward your right ear. Repeat this step on the right side of the jaw now pushing toward your left ear.
5. Apply two seconds of light pressure to the front or your chin pushing in toward your neck.
6. Your lower jaw should not move during the application of pressure in steps 3 through 5.
7. Repeat this exercise five times, five times per day.

TMJ Exercise #7: Get Stronger, Part Two -- This exercise is virtually identical to TMJ Exercise #6. The only difference is that your mouth should be open slightly wider ... to the width of a knuckle. TMJ Exercise #7 builds on exercise #6 and should only be undertaken immediately following the aforementioned exercises for TMJ.

TMJ Exercise #8: Get Stronger, Part Three -- Just like TMJ Exercise #7, this exercise also builds on #6. The only difference his time is that your mouth should be open even wider ... to the width of two knuckles. TMJ Exercise #8 should only be undertaken immediately following #6 and #7. Do not attempt TMJ Exercise #8 if you experience jaw pain.

Remember, exercises for TMJ are not an instant fix. Time and repetition are necessary for a TMJ exercise program to be effective. Don't be discouraged if relief isn't immediate.

TMJ Exercises: Part of a Complete Treatment Plan

TMJ exercises are most effective when they're part of a comprehensive dental treatment plan that takes into consideration your diet, lifestyle and contributory health conditions. It's important to ask your dentist about which jaw exercises for TMJ are right for you and whether other options including medications and corrective dental treatments should be considered.

To find a local dentist specializing in the treatment of TMJ, search now or call 1-866-970-0441.

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