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5 Common Ways You Can Manage TMJ

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where your skull meets your jawbone on both sides of your head, allows you to speak, chew, and yawn or do any other activity involving opening your mouth. Several factors can impact the joints on either side, affecting your ability to open and close your mouth or chew. The roles played by the TMJ are critical to your overall well-being, and it would be good to seek help as soon as possible. The Gaithersburg TMJ specialists at Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center can create a customized treatment plan for you, depending on your unique needs. Look at the following ways you can manage your condition.

Use Ice

You can quickly get an ice pack from the local stores to manage inflammation and pain and stimulate healing. However, avoid placing the ice directly on your skin. Instead, cover the pack with a thick dry cloth like a towel and put it in the aching joint. Repeat this about 5-10 days for every two to three hours, and remember not to use the ice for over fifteen minutes. You can also use iced vegetables such as peas if you do not have an ice pack.

Use Heat

Like ice, you can use a heating pad to help alleviate pain and improve the joint’s mobility. You can get a heating pad from the local stores or soak a cloth in hot water to apply it on your joint. If you do not have a heating pad, you can also use a hot water plastic bottle wrapped in a warm cloth. Be cautious not to burn your face by making sure that the fabric is not too hot.

You might have to try both to understand which works best for you for the heat and ice therapies. Also, consult your doctor for advice.

Minimize Pressure

When your TMJ is causing pain, it would be great to avoid any unnecessary pressure on the jaw, as it can make your pain worse. Relieving some stress from your jaw can also offer some degree of pain relief. Therefore, avoid any extreme jaw movements that may cause strain in your joint. Yawning, chewing, sleeping face down, and resting your jaw in your arms can exert extra pressure on your joints, causing pain and other symptoms.

Try Jaw Exercises

Some gentle jaw exercises can improve your jaw movement through stretching and relaxing, alleviating pain. Consult your doctor to get advice and instructions about how to do the exercises. Generally, open and close your mouth slowly, up and down for about five minutes and repeat it twice a day. You can also make a loose O with your lips while keeping your tongue on your mouth’s roof. Put one of your index fingers on your chin and the other on your TMJ, and allow the lower jaw to partially drop and bring it back with the finger on your chin. You can repeat this about 5-6 times a day.  If you experience any pain when doing these exercises, please stop and try later.

Medications

You can use some over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen to get pain relief. You can also consult your doctor and seek prescription medications to manage your symptoms. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to improve the effectiveness of the medicines and avoid complications. But note that drugs should come second as they only offer temporal relief. The primary treatment option should be lifestyle changes depending on the severity of the condition.

The CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center TMJ specialists can help you understand the best way to manage your condition. Book an appointment today to evaluate your options.

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