Have you ever had excruciating jaw pain? It is not something that you would experience regularly and therefore when jaw pain is difficult to handle. To some people, jaw pain may seem normal as they do not know that it could be a warning sign of a serious problem. TMJ disorder is a condition related to joints of the jaw that can badly affect jaw movements. You may search for painkillers to get relief but that isn’t a long-term solution. It is better to go for natural remedies for jaw pain relief to deal with it safely. Read safe and effective home remedies for jaw pain in this article.
What is TMJ?
The full form of TMJ is temporomandibular joint which is below the jaw connecting it to the skull. Jaw pain is sometimes normal and goes away within a few hours. If it doesn’t, it could be a temporomandibular disorder(problems related to temporomandibular joint). This is a very complex and most-used joint in the body. The unique thing about this joint is that it a gliding joint and it can move in any direction whether up or down, right or left due to the hinge that opens & close. This problem is classified into three types:
- Muscular issues that affect jaw movement
- Issues with temporomandibular joint including dislocation and injury to its parts
- Arthritis in the joint due to degeneration or inflammation
If someone has two or more of these conditions, it is extremely painful. As per research, women get TMJ disorders more than men. Problem moving the jaw, acute jaw pain, stiffness and clicking sounds are some common symptoms of temporomandibular disorder.
How To Reduce Jaw Pain?
Doctors believe that home remedies or natural therapies are more effective in handling jaw pain as compared to medical therapies. Here are some remedies for jaw pain.
One of the first remedies to ease jaw pain is applying a heat pack or moist hot towel. Make sure that it is not extremely hot that may burn the skin. Heat should be apt for relaxation. To use it, apply the heat pack on the jaw and keep it for a couple of minutes. This would ease the pain and improve TMJ functions to get rid of the pain faster.
Ice therapy for jaw pain relief
This is also a proven remedy for joint pain relief. Ice is known to create numbness that helps in reducing the painful sensations. If you aren’t comfortable with heat therapy, you can use ice therapy. For this, apply an ice pack to the affected area. Alternatively, you can also place some ice cubes in a clean cloth and place it on the jaw. This would lessen the pain and inflammation. It helps in faster healing. Keep the ice on the skin for 10-15 minutes only. Also, make sure that it is not very cold as it might irritate the skin.
Consume soft foods
Since you have jaw pain, you won’t be able to eat comfortably especially chew. Thus, it is better to avoid hard foods or foods that may require excessive chewing. Experts recommend consuming soft foods during jaw pain to allow the joint to rest. You should have something that requires the least chewing and stretching of the jaws. You can have soft foods like cooked lentils, juices, etc. Also, avoid fruits that require proper eating.
If you are not in a state to exercise home remedies, you can reach out for over-the-counter medicines. These include analgesics like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, etc. Pop a pill to get immediate relief from pain. However, you should avoid consuming medicines as much as you can as they do have certain side-effects. You can consult a dentist to prescribe you some best medications, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, etc. to combat the pain and ease its symptoms.
Massaging is one of the easiest and effective ways to ease any kind of pain including jaw pain. To get rid of pain and ease muscle movement, gently massage your jaw and temple muscles. Do this in circular motions for a minute every two to three hours. Besides, open and close your jaws to promote stretching and allowing the muscles to open up and lessen the pain. This exercise may affect you for a bit but it would eventually promote relaxation. This exercise also helps in strengthening the muscles to prevent them from tending up easily.
Along with massaging the jaws, you can also perform some jaw exercises to promote healing and mobility. However, if you have excessive jaw pain, you must take the help of a professional physical therapist to do jaw exercises. They can suggest you the best appropriate exercises according to your condition.
Pain can be easily managed through various relaxation techniques. These reduce the stress that decreases muscle tension and helps in controlling the pain. The best relaxation therapies for jaw pain relief are yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, deep breathing, etc. By doing these, you relax your muscles and your blood pressure & heart rate decrease. This strengthens your nervous system and you experience a dip in pain. Along with these therapies, one should also sleep well. Good sleep is great for reducing pain.
Jaw pain can worsen if the muscles are compressed and stressed. Thus, one should sleep on the side and place a pillow between the neck & shoulder. This step relaxes facial muscles and prevents unnecessary strain on the jaw joint. If you experience discomfort, you can change the position as per your comfort level. The aim is to reduce pressure on the jaw.
You are supposed to act like yawning. Yes, this is an exercise that would stretch your muscles and open the joint. To prevent damage to the joint, place your fist below your chin to provide support. Do this once every 3-4 hours to get relief.
What To Avoid If You Have Jaw Pain?
We have talked about how to relieve TMJ pain in the previous section. Now, we will tell you certain things that you need to strictly avoid in order to provide relief to your paining jaw along with exercising the home remedies. You are required to avoid these things and actions if you want your jaw pain to go away sooner.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods as they exercise the jaws and increase the pain.
- Avoid crunchy foods because they require extensive movement and may hurt the tender muscles.
- Avoid meat with tough cuts.
- Avoid foods that are difficult to eat including fruits, vegetables and snacks.
- Avoid taking large bites and take smaller bites to eat easily without stressing the joint.
- Avoid pressing the jaw as it would trigger the pain.
Jaw pain is quite common but temporomandibular joint pain is not common. This indicates a serious problem that needs to be addressed on time. Relieving jaw pain at the initial stage is recommend or else it may aggravate. If you are experiencing acute and unbearable pain, you must consult a dentist. Sometimes, the pain can only be treated with medical intervention. A doctor can best tell the reason behind the pain and natural treatment for jaw pain.
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