How to Fix Jaw Pain? Relief for TMD sufferers
Below is a list of easy strategies to help reduce and prevent pain of the Jaw or what we Physios call the TMJ (Temperomandinbular Joint).
To read more about Jaw pain disorders or TMD check out our Jaw Problems page. For now let's talk about self help!
Why is my Jaw sore?
There are numerous factors that can cause pain in the Jaw, for many people they will have more than one of the below:
Recent Major Dental Procedure i.e. removal of Wisdom Teeth
Stress and Anxiety
Parafunction (Clenching and/or Grinding teeth)
History of fascial or head or neck trauma
Muscle stiffness and spasm
Uneven occlusion (where the teeth meet together) or bite due to removal of teeth
Referral from the neck/cervical spine
Those who regularly need to project their voice (Teachers, Singers etc)
What can I do to Improve my Jaw Pain?
First Things First book in to see a specialist TMJ Physiotherapist - Click here to book with us.
When your pain is severe, avoid eating food that requires heavy chewing such as steak, nuts and crunchy apples.
Avoid biting your nails as this places a lot of stress on your jaw joint.
Improve your neck and back posture, avoiding slouched positions. Make sure your work space is correctly set up, see Good Posture - Computer Use.
Avoid holding your phone between your head and your shoulder. If you are on the phone a lot, consider using a headset.
Avoid resting your chin on your hand when you are sitting.
Make sure your tongue is in the correct resting position. Having your jaw and tongue in the correct position will improve your neck posture and make breathing, swallowing and relaxing easier. The tip of your tongue should sit on the little ridge just behind your top teeth, not against your teeth, and then the rest of your tongue should flatten out across the roof of your mouth. Keep your teeth just slightly apart and your lips together. Your tongue should create a small amount of suction which will help to keep you in the correct position. Relax and breathe through your nose. To help you remember this, think “TLC” “T” for tongue position, “L” for lip position, “C” for calm and relaxed.
Breath deeply through your nose, using your diaphragm and stop letting your neck muscles do all the work. If you always breathe through your mouth or you have a blocked nose, you may find nose breathing quite challenging to begin with, but practice regularly and it will start to feel more normal.
Do deep breathing exercises throughout the day.
When yawning, only open your jaw as far as you feel comfortable. Try placing your hand under your chin gently to remind yourself not to open too far.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this can put your jaw in an awkward position.
Make sure your pillow is comfortable. If you are waking in the morning with more pain than you had going to bed then chances are your pillow is causing you problems. See Advice for Buying a New Pillow for more information on pillows.
Reduce clenching and grinding with relaxation, improved posture and stress management. Discuss with your dentist whether a night splint would be appropriate for you.
It is important to try to identify your stresses so you can plan to reduce or eliminate them. Some situations can be changed or improved. Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation that is not able to be changed, however, you can change how you respond to these situations.
Seek help. There is a lot that can be done to manage your pain. You don't have to put up with it!
So there you have it! Strategies to manage your Jaw pain and TMD. For personalised advice and a management plan see one of our qualified TMJ Physiotherapists at Sutherland Shire Physiotherapy Centre in Miranda, Sydney.