10 Natural Remedies for TMJ Pain Relief and Treatment

natural remedies and treatment for tmj

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can cause a lot of discomfort to those who suffer from it. The condition causes pain and discomfort in the jaw and surrounding muscles, making it difficult to eat or speak properly. While there are medical treatments available for TMJ, many people prefer natural remedies that don’t involve medication. In this article, we’ll explore 10 natural remedies for TMJ pain that you can try, including some home remedies, to find relief from your symptoms.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ is a condition that affects the hinge connecting the jawbone to the skull. This joint allows us to talk, chew and yawn, but when it malfunctions, it can cause a range of painful symptoms in the jaw, face, neck, or head. TMJ disorders are more common than you might think, affecting millions of Americans each year.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Here are five common causes of TMJ:

  1. Teeth grinding or clenching: This habit puts pressure on the jaw muscles and joints, leading to inflammation and pain. It can also cause teeth misalignment.
  2. Jaw injury or trauma: A blow to the jaw or face can damage the TMJ, causing pain and discomfort.
  3. Arthritis: Degenerative arthritis like osteoarthritis can affect the TMJ over time, leading to wear and tear in the joint.
  4. Stress/anxiety: Emotional stress can cause tension in the jaw muscles, leading to pain and discomfort.
  5. Poor posture: Holding your head forward for extended periods while working on a computer or phone can strain your neck and shoulders, which may lead to TMJ symptoms.

It’s important to identify and address these underlying causes of TMJ in order to effectively manage symptoms.

What are Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

Here are five common symptoms of TMJ:

  1. Jaw pain: Pain in the jaw is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ. The pain may be constant or intermittent and often worsens when you chew food or talk.
  2. Clicking or popping sounds: You may hear clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when moving your jaw. These noises are caused by the displacement of the disc that cushions the joint.
  3. Headaches: TMJ can also cause headaches that originate from the temples, forehead, or behind the eyes.
  4. Earache: Some people with TMJ experience ear-related problems such as ringing in ears (tinnitus), fullness in their ears, or even hearing loss.
  5. Neck pain: Pain in the neck area is another symptom associated with TMJ due to its close proximity to your jaw muscles and nerves.

10 Natural Pain Relief Remedies for TMJ

TMJ affects the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. It can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, stiffness, clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth, and difficulty chewing or speaking. 

While there are medical treatments available for TMJ, many people prefer natural remedies to manage their symptoms. Here are 10 natural treatments for TMJ:

1. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is an effective non-invasive treatment option for TMJ. Chiropractors focus on restoring proper alignment of the spine and other joints in the body which is one of the best ways to improve nerve function and reduce inflammation.

During a chiropractic exam for TMJ, your chiropractor will evaluate your posture, range of motion in your neck and jaw, muscle tension in the face and neck area, and any misalignments in the spine that may be contributing to your symptoms.

Chiropractic adjustments can help realign the joints in the jaw as well as those in the cervical spine which can lead to a reduction of inflammation around affected nerves. Additionally soft tissue therapies such as massage therapy or dry needling may also be employed to assist with reducing muscle tension around affected areas

In addition to adjustments and soft tissue therapies many chiropractors will prescribe exercises aimed at strengthening key muscles surrounding this area which are intended to improve overall function of these structures.

Overall if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms associated with TMJ, booking an appointment with our trusted chiropractors could be a great way to get started on treating this issue naturally without needing surgery or medication.

2. Jaw Exercises

Here are four facial exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine:

Jaw stretching: Open your mouth as wide as possible without causing any pain or discomfort. Hold this position for 5 seconds before closing your mouth slowly.

Tongue-to-roof-of-mouth exercise: Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth while keeping your teeth slightly apart. Slowly move your tongue back and forth across the roof of your mouth.

Resistance training: Use your hand to provide resistance against the movement of opening and closing your jaw. Place one hand on top of each other under chin area when you open up.

Chin tucks: While sitting upright with good posture, gently pull chin down towards neck until a comfortable stretch is felt at backside of neck then return to starting position.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Herbs

Before taking anti-inflammatory prescribed medications, try herbal remedies first like turmeric, ginger, and garlic, and chamomile. These all produce calming and anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce inflammation and swelling in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.

4. Massage

Massage therapy helps to relax tight muscles in the jaw, neck, and shoulders that may be contributing to TMJ pain. 

Increased blood flow to the affected area through massage can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Stress is a common contributor to TMJ pain. Massage therapy can help lower stress levels by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

5. Warm Compress or Ice Packs

Hot and cold packs work by reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, and relaxing the muscles around the jaw joint.

To promote jaw muscle relaxation, place a warm towel on both sides of your face for about 10 minutes to relax the muscles in your jaw.

6. Bite Guard

If you are experiencing TMJ pain as a result of grinding your teeth, a bite guard may be what you need. A bite guard is a type of mouth guard that fits over your teeth, providing cushioning and support to your jaw muscles and joints.

Bite guards work by redistributing the forces exerted on your jaw during clenching or grinding of teeth while you sleep. You can also wear them during stressful times in your life for similar benefits.

7. Acupuncture

Studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective natural treatment for TMJ pain. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. When the needles are inserted into specific points on the skin, they trigger a release of endorphins, acting as natural painkillers, which can help alleviate discomfort.

8. Aromatherapy

Essential oils can help alleviate pain when applied topically or put in a diffuser.

You can add a few drops of essential oil into hot water or diffuser and inhale deeply for 10-15 minutes.

Alternatively, you can use it on your skin through massage by mixing 3-5 drops of essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut.

Here are four essential oils that may help alleviate symptoms of TMJ:

  1. Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil has a cooling effect on the skin and helps to reduce inflammation. Applying peppermint oil topically on the jaw area can provide relief from TMJ pain.
  2. Lavender oil: Lavender oil has calming properties that can help relieve stress-induced muscle tension around the jaw area.
  3. Eucalyptus oil: This essential oil has analgesic properties which makes it useful in reducing pain caused by TMJ disorder.
  4. Chamomile oil: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties similar to lavender oil which helps reduce inflammation of tissues surrounding the affected area.

9. Diet Changes

If you’re suffering with TMJ pain, you will want to steer clear of crunchy foods that require excessive pressure and lots of chewing with your jaw. Choose soft foods instead for easier chewing and less pressure on your jaw joints. 

Be sure you’re also including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. A great way to ensure you’re eating these kinds of foods is to focus on whole, real foods in their purest forms. Include Omega 3s and healthy fats in your diet as well. 

10. Lifestyle Changes

TMJ issues can sometimes be caused by lifestyle factors such as low quality sleep, poor posture, high stress levels, and a poor diet.

Examine your life and look for ways you can incorporate stress relief techniques through regular chiropractic adjustments, yoga, relaxation exercises, deep breathing techniques, meditation, and quality sleep. 

Check your mattress to ensure you’re sleeping posture is optimal so you get the best sleep possible.

If you have questions about your mattress or sleep posture,  make an appointment at Greater Orlando Chiropractic & Wellness and speak to one of our experienced chiropractors about sleep posture and mattress types.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle through natural remedies like regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent painful symptoms associated with TMJ disorder while avoiding invasive treatments like surgery or medication. 

At Greater Orlando Chiropractic & Wellness, our team can help you navigate natural treatment options like regular chiropractic adjustments to help manage your symptoms and get to the root of your TMJ pain. Give us a call today at (407) 395-8632 or make an appointment today by clicking here and filling out the short form. 

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