Written By Sierra Powell / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction refers to pain or limited movement in the jaw, or both. Many people with TMJ have only mild symptoms that respond well to over-the-counter treatments and self-care measures. If your symptoms don’t improve within two weeks, consult a dentist or doctor. You may have a more serious problem, such as an infection or a fracture, and you should receive appropriate care as soon as possible.
Treating TMJ at Home
If you’re struggling with jaw pain or difficulty in closing your mouth, you may benefit from certain at-home TMJ treatments. Try the following three solutions to see if they ease your joint pain:
1. Improve Your Posture
One of the best things you can do for your TMJ is to improve your posture. Improving your posture does wonders for reducing tension in your jaw muscles, which can relieve the pain. If you currently slouch often or bend your neck, now is the time to practice better posture.
By focusing on properly aligning your spine, you’ll be able to better improve your overall posture while reducing the pain in your jaw. Moreover, with better posture, you’ll appear less tired and stressed out simply by standing up straight.
Getting into the habit of sitting or walking straight isn’t easy, but it’s important. For example, if you have an office job, do your best to remember to sit straight when using the computer or phone. The same is true when you walk, run, or drive a car. Over time, you'll get into the habit of creating your posture without thinking about it.
2. Get Quality Sleep
Your jaw is likely to hurt more if you’re not getting enough quality sleep. Sleep deprivation can increase sensitivity to pain and decrease your tolerance for it, according to certain studies. To treat sleep-related back pain, try non-medicinal remedies for insomnia to manage TMJ your symptoms.
Similarly, make sure you're getting quality sleep by limiting your interaction with electronics before bed. In doing this, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster and sleep soundly through the night.
3. Use Cold or Hot Compresses
According to TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre, which specializes in TMJ treatment in Raleigh, NC, using cold therapy like a cold compress or ice pack is a great way to reduce pain and swelling due to your TMJ.
To take advantage of this treatment, place an ice pack wrapped in a towel on your face. Relax for 20 minutes before bed, then remove it for at least an hour before going to sleep. Alternatively, if you prefer warm compresses, soak a washcloth with warm water and keep it over your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you experience frequent discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking OTC pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen as well as prescription medication like Tylenol 3. It’s best to stay away from aspirin as it can cause stomach problems and interactions with other medications you might be taking.
4. Essential Oils
Rosemary oil with its soothing properties is a popular and effective treatment for TMJ. The smell of the oil is calming, and it provides pain relief by its anti-inflammatory properties. You can steam your face with rosemary oil or apply a drop or two to your temples before you go to bed,
Another way to manage TMJ is to pack a hot compress. Dampen a cloth with warm water and a few drops of lemon or lavender essential oil. Apply it to the sore area and press gently.
6. Mouth Guard
If you wear dentures and grind your teeth at night, you may want to consider wearing a mouth guard during the day as well. This thin plastic cover applies pressure to the back of your mouth to stop grinding. You can wear a mouth guard during the day and night, or only at night. If you wear a mouth guard for short periods during your sleeping hours, it can help to relieve discomfort from TMJ.
When to See a Doctor
While certain at-home treatments for TMJ are successful, they aren’t effective for everyone. If you find that your efforts to treat this condition on your own are inconclusive, it’s time to try the next step: seeing a doctor. If the tenderness or pain in your jaw is overwhelming or persistent, get medical attention.
Similarly, if you are unable to completely close your jaw, you should seek professional help. Working with a TMJ specialist, dentist, or doctor can help you identify the best treatment for this issue.
TMJ is very common in the general population but is often overlooked or misdiagnosed by medical professionals due to its mild symptoms. If left untreated, TMJ can result in chronic pain and possible long-term issues with your jaw and muscles. Be sure to speak with a doctor about the best ways to treat TMJ on your own and with their help.
Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral care, skincare, body care and foot care. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Sierra Powell graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing. When she's not writing, she loves to cook, sew, and go hiking with her dogs.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.
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