Your temporomandibular joints are located where your skull connects with your lower jawbone, also called the mandible. You rely on these joints to open and close your mouth, to talk and chew, and to move your jawbone from side to side .
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a common cause of jaw pain. TMJ pain can become chronic, and the issue may even start to negatively affect your ability to move your jaw. Clicking and locking are possible in the joint, in addition to headaches and neck pain associated with the condition.
TMJ is a common condition in patients that have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).
Trust Dr. Nichelle Renk and the team of interventional pain management specialists at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness to address your TMJ pain and dysfunction. Dr. Renk supports patients from around the Anchorage, Alaska, area who are dealing with jaw pain.
You have lots of treatment options for TMJ that don’t involve surgery. Are you ready to relieve your jaw pain?
Jaw pain and positioning problems
Often, TMJ results from problems with the way you position or use your jaw. If you don’t want to explore surgery at this point, you’ll need to make changes in the way you treat your jaw muscles.
To avoid jaw pain, let your jaw muscles remain loose and relaxed most of the time. Make sure the resting position of your jaw is relaxed. Therapeutic Botox® injections can lessen chronic tension in your jaw.
The rest of your posture matters, as well. When you’re sitting for long periods, make sure you’re in a position that supports your spine and upright posture. You might also benefit from regular stretch breaks!
One stretch that can be helpful is to raise your chest and pull back your shoulders, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Holding and repeating this stretch can improve your posture.
Dr. Renk can also recommend jaw exercises to stretch, strengthen, and relax the tendons and muscles in that area of your head and neck.
Improving your habits to end jaw pain
Part of relieving your jaw pain may mean unlearning the bad habits that have contributed to your TMJ problem.
As a rule, your goal is to minimize wide movements of your jaw. You may need to pay attention to your jaw motion when chewing, singing, yelling, or playing a musical instrument. Controlled yawns are better than wide ones for patients with jaw pain.
Your habits around stress are another major driver of regular or chronic jaw pain. You might clench your jaw or grind your teeth in moments of stress. If you’re dealing with TMJ, you need to figure out other approaches to stress management, and take the pressure off your jaw.
Also, you need to get enough rest at night, and do so in a position that won’t put too much stress on your jaw. Sleep on your back, with good support for your head and neck. Additionally, a night guard worn at night may help relieve your jaw pain during the day.
Relieving your jaw pain
You can use hot or cold compresses to relieve jaw pain.
Bad habits like biting your nails, chewing your cheeks, and holding tension in your jaw all contribute to jaw pain. If you don’t want to undergo surgery for TMJ, work on improving your habits.
To learn more about surgical and nonsurgical treatments for jaw pain, contact Dr. Renk at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness today. Schedule your initial consultation with online booking or over the phone now.