TMJ Pain And Chewing Muscle Pain: At-Home Temporary Care Measures
These temporary measures should NOT be considered substitutes for professional dental treatment. It's imperative to visit a dentist as soon as possible for proper care.
Consider the following steps:
- Soft Diet: Eat soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing and avoid sticky or chewy foods that may exacerbate the pain.
- Ice Packs: Apply an ice pack to the side of your face for 10 minutes to reduce inflammation. Wrap the ice pack in a cloth to protect your skin.
- Heat Therapy: After the initial 48 hours of using an ice pack, you can apply moist heat to enhance blood circulation and relax your jaw muscles.
- Jaw Exercises: Perform gentle jaw-stretching exercises to improve jaw movement. Your dentist or physical therapist can provide specific exercises.
- Avoid Extreme Jaw Movements: Limit wide yawning, loud singing, and gum chewing to prevent further strain on the jaw muscles.
- Stress Reduction: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, as stress can contribute to TMJ pain.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can help relieve muscle pain and swelling. Avoid using any pain medication that has previously caused side effects or adverse reactions or that your doctor has advised against due to potential side effects or adverse reactions.
- Massage: Gently massage the jaw muscles to relieve tension.
- Mouth Guards: If you clench or grind your teeth at night, consider getting a night guard to reduce strain on your jaw.
- Good Posture: Maintain good posture to reduce neck and facial tension.