Don’t talk, laugh, cry, sing, chew gum, or eat any chewy food or candy, and don’t grind your teeth, or clench your jaw. Take it easy and stay away from stress.
This was the advice one of my well-intentioned friends offered when I told them of my TMJ disorders. Well, do you think she could have covered any other human action — like maybe breathing?
If you’re like I was, and are experiencing the pain of temporomandibular jaw disorders, then you already know just how intense it can be. You’re also well aware that this painful condition can not only disrupt your daily life, but it can wreak havoc with your sleep as well.
Waking or sleeping (or just trying to!), you carry with you the constant ache of TMJ Disorders. If you’re experiencing the pain just in your jaw, believe it or not, you’re one of the “lucky” ones with TMJ. Don’t think so? Well, read on.
Unexplained pain? Undiagnosed TMJ?
There are thousands of people in the United States alone who live with undiagnosed TMJ disorders. Their aches and pains aren’t reflected in the jaw. Instead, they complain of unexplained headaches, backaches, difficulty swallowing, and/ or an uncomfortable or uneven bite. In some cases, these individuals visit doctor after doctor only to be told that nothing is wrong.
Consider this staggering statistic for a moment: The average individual with a TMJ disorder visits a minimum of seven specialists before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Some individuals need to visit 13 professionals before uncovering the problem. In fact, one of those who had to see that many doctors was the well-known actor Burt Reynolds.
Faced with this continued response, my first reaction was to believe them. But, then I realized that no one knew my body better than myself. And it was about time, I decided, to take control of my health. It was time for me to examine my habits – all of them – to see if I could discern what was wrong with me.
It took me literally months to finally discover that the underlying cause of my pain was due to TMJ. During these months I spent hours on end searching the web, seeking out books at the library and at all the area bookstores.
First Step to TMJ Relief is Knowledge
When I eventually learned that the problems I experienced actually originated in my jaw… well, my jaw did drop! And with focus and determination I was able to help my body heal itself, without the use of prescription drugs with all their harsh, unwanted and even potentially dangerous side effects.
A friend, who witnessed my journey through this period, urged me to write my experience so that others who are battling unexplained health problems could discover for themselves if TMJ was the real cause. She told me that even individuals who were already diagnosed could benefit from the vast amount of information I had gathered.
At first I dismissed the idea. But the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded. After all, who is better to help you with your TMJ disorders than someone who has “been there and done that”?
The intention of this website is not to replace any advice your personal health care provider has given you. It’s not meant to diagnose your problem. And it’s definitely not meant as a prescription for a miracle cure.
Have TMJ Disorder or Not
If you suspect you do suffer from TMJ disorders, visit a health care provider you trust. Talk about the issues you’ve read in here with her. Together you’ll be able to determine the exact causes of your pain.
In the meantime, you may want to try some of the natural remedies in this website. Go ahead. Did you find any relief? You may just be surprised.
If there’s one thing I learned early on in my search for answers: never discount anything. I learned that if the supposed remedy carried no unwanted side effects, I needed to maintain an open mind.
I was able to overcome and beat the relentless, overwhelming pain of TMJ disorders. And so can you. The articles of this website do not only explain what TMJ disorders are, how they manifest in your body, and why they so often are woefully under-diagnosed; I’ve also included your potential options if you decide conventional medicine is the route you choose to take. And I’ve included potential answers to your pain, through behavioral and nutritional changes, as well.
What are we waiting for? Let’s make this journey of discovery together. It’s time you received some answers to your questions and some TMJ relief to that pain.
The Healing Power of TMJ Exercises
It may not sound like a quick and easy “fix” to TMJ problems, but you’d be surprised at what type of exercise actually qualifies as beneficial.
“Exercise? Really! Come on! You’ve got to be kidding me,” I heard myself saying to my naturopath physician. “What in the world does my level of activity have to do with a pain that starts in my jaw?”
“Quite a bit, actually.” My physician reacted calmly to my tirade. Apparently, I wasn’t his first patient to react incredulously at his strong recommendation.
Yes! As much as you may not want to hear it, various types of exercise can go a long way to alleviating your pain. Among the most effective ones are those which directly affect your jaw.
Right now, what we’re talking about here are mild, but effective jaw exercises. These are designed with the aim of rehabilitating and strengthening this area.
CLick Here To Learn How!
Battling the Dreaded Clench
Yes, there is a simple way to help stop clenching your teeth. But you have to be conscious first that the clenching is actually occurring. Once you’ve identified this, then here’s what you can do:
First, make a “clucking” sound with your tongue. (Yeah, it sounds a little off the wall, but give it a try!) Maintain this pose with a slight pressure. Ensure your tongue isn’t touching your teeth.
Next, keep your lips together, while at the same time make sure your teeth are slightly set apart. Make sure your lower jaw is relaxed. The next step in this practice is to breathe in deeply through your nose.
Every time you feel yourself clenching your teeth, perform this exercise.
Knuckling Your Way To De-Clenching
Take one of your knuckles and place it between your teeth. Rest for 50 seconds. Then gradually increase your comfortable jaw opening, take two knuckles, eventually building to three knuckles. Do this twice a day.
Make a Move to the Right
The infamous “cluck” position is used again in this simple exercise. Hold your tongue in this pose, placing your index fingers over your TMJ. This would be directly in front of the middle of your ears. Now you’ll open and close your mouth. Stop if you begin to feel the ball of the joint moving forward. Don’t allow your tongue leave your palate during this.
The Healing Stretching Of Your Shoulder
This works, believe me. Pull your shoulder blades together and downward. Hold this pose for approximately 30 seconds. This helps you relax by improving your lung capacity and stretching your chest muscles.
Stretch Your Neck: Alleviate Your Pain
Take your hands and clasp them behind your neck. Keeping your head straight, nod your head forward. The purpose of this movement is to stretch your tense neck and back muscles.
Let’s start with what many consider a gentle form of exercise to ease you into the concept. What‟s that, you ask skeptically? Yoga.
Yes, yoga. It may be infamous for its reputation of twisting you like a pretzel, but it‟s also an excellent method of reducing stress. Indeed, it offers you a way to de-stress your entire body, and to improve the flow of blood, and breath, into your life.
Yoga expert explains on this tutorial Introduction for Yoga that even general yoga poses can help relax your body. And there are specific poses that seem to be especially good at relieving stress.
For example, when you sign up for a yoga class at your local YMCA, one of the poses you may be doing is called the Downward Facing Dog. This pose specifically brings blood flow to your head. In the process, it bathes the TMJ not only in a glorious and well needed, flow of blood, but also in the lymph flow too. Basically, this pose literally flushes blood both in and out of your jaw and face.
The shoulder stand and the legs-up-the-wall poses are also two excellent methods to jumpstart the flow of blood and lymph fluid to your jaw.
But more than anything else, the key to de-stressing your body — and that’s what yoga helps you do — is to breathe. This, more than anything, relaxes your jaw. Every move you learn in this ancient form has specific breathing instructions that are every bit as important to the proper execution of the activity as the physical postures themselves.
A good video or instruction book can help you learn these. But the best way, of course, is to discover a good instructor. The effort expended in the search, as well as the class itself, are both well worth the effort in clearing your TMJ symptoms.
De-stressing with Tai Chi
No, I’m not talking about the popular tea that Chai Tea (although it is an excellent drink!). Tai Chi is an ancient Eastern form of exercise that, like yoga, is carried out slowly and deliberately. At one time, it was hard for many individuals – especially those living in small towns – to experience it. But thankfully it’s gaining popularity and you can probably find classes right along side the yoga course you’re already taking.
Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise (it really is!), and has been called by some “meditation in motion.” The Harvard Public Health publication Health Beat, though, says it could very easily be called “medication in motion.”
Scientific evidence is now proving what thousands of years of practice already shown : This practice has great therapeutic value in not only treating, but also preventing many health problems – including TMJ pain and symptoms.
But the real beauty of this activity: You can start today without needing to be in top physical form.
Tai chi is not only low impact, but it is a ”slow movement” activity. The concept here is that you travel through a series of motions, many of them former martial arts movements, breathing deeply and naturally. Your attention is focused on the bodily sensations created during this activity.
The movements you perform are overwhelmingly circular in nature and never forced. Your muscles, additionally, are relaxed, not tight, and your joints are never fully extended.