With the advanced treatment methods emerging up for temporomandibular joint (TMJ), patients have reported self-care like jaw exercises and relaxation techniques as a better alternative for treating muscle related TMD. The study was published in journal Clinical Oral Investigations.
TMJ is a joint that allows your jaw to close and open. It connects the mandible or lower jaw to temple. The jaw acts as a hinge and at the joint there is a small disc that sits between upper and lower jaw bone. There are several ligaments that surround the disc and attach it to the bone, however, the disc moves with lower jaw bone once you open your mouth. Similarly, the lower jaw and disc slide forward together.
Myofascial temporomandibular joint affects over 10% of women. People with TMD have other pain conditions too. Dentists use different treatment options to manage pain. This includes oral appliances like splints and bite guards, pain medications and other self-care techniques.
In order to treat TMD, oral appliances have proven to be beneficial. Similarly oral splints have also proven their worth but they have not been found as effective for patients who have widespread pain in the treatment of Myofascial temporomandibular joint (mTMD). In this research, 84% of patients reported the maximum positive impact in their pain from self-care activities, as discussed above. In comparison to it, only 64% used oral appliances and said it helped at least a little.
So, the results from the report says self care management as the first line of defense for treating mTMD. However, the use of alternative treatment methods like acupuncture and seeing a chiropractor was seen frequently among women with fibromyalgia and mTMD. The results were not very outstanding. Physical therapy was adopted equally by women with and without fibromyalgia.
Jaw exercises help strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles to train them to move correctly without causing pain. It is advisable to practice them daily for sometime, preferably while you are sitting down and relaxed. Make sure whatever exercise you do on one side, repeat it on the other.
The key is to start slowly and understand that you may experience some pain in the beginning. As long as the pain is tolerable and keeps improving, you should move ahead. If the pain becomes unbearable, you should stop and look for dentist’s approval.
If you are ready to get started, let our dentists know so that we can recommend the apt exercises based on your severity.