TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint at the right and left of your jaw, just under your ears. When people say they have “TMJ,” they mean pain and stiffness in the jaw joints and in the jaw itself. What causes this pain? Commonly, when people are very stressed, their muscles tend to become tense and tight. In addition to jaw pain, this muscle tension can cause chronic muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders and lead to headaches. Usually, a tense neck and shoulders accompanies jaw pain. It is common to tense up the neck and shoulder muscles without realizing it! Teeth grinding and clenching is another unconscious stress reaction. Is this you? Being intentional helps to recognize stress and let it go.
You can manage TMJ and jaw pain at home with the use of heating pads, warm compresses, deep breathing, acupuncture, meditation, stretches and self-massage.
Here are 3 stretches you can do for relief.
One thing to not do is chew gum. Chewing gum can exacerbate the pain and discomfort felt in the jaw.
What difference does this make for you? Please comment below because I would love to know.
Meaghan Massella, M.Ac, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac (NCCAOM) is an acupuncturist, business owner and mother of 2.