If you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you know how painful and frustrating a flareup can be. TMJ disorders affect the jaw joint and the muscles that control its movement. As a result, it can cause pain, discomfort and difficulty eating and speaking. Here are five tips for preventing a TMJ flare-up and managing your symptoms.
Practice Good Posture
Poor posture can place a lot of strain on your neck and jaw muscles, leading to TMJ pain. To prevent a flareup:
- Practice good posture throughout the day.
- Keep your head up, shoulders back and spine straight.
- When sitting, ensure your feet are flat on the floor and your back is supported.
Avoid Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth, especially at night, can worsen TMJ symptoms. To prevent this, try to be aware of when you are clenching or grinding and consciously try to relax your jaw muscles. Consider also wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent teeth grinding.
Stretch and Massage Your Jaw Muscles
Stretching and massaging your jaw muscles can help reduce tension and improve TMJ symptoms. Try gentle jaw exercises, such as opening and closing your mouth slowly, moving your jaw from side to side and stretching your jaw by placing your fingers on your bottom teeth and gently pulling down. You can also use your fingers to massage the muscles around your jaw joint.
Eat Soft Foods
Chewing tough foods can aggravate TMJ symptoms. To prevent a flareup, stick to soft foods that are easy to chew. Examples include cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and yogurt. Avoid hard candies, nuts and chewy foods like bagels and steak.
Stress can cause muscle tension, which can worsen TMJ symptoms. To prevent a flareup, you can reduce stress levels through relaxing activities like meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises. You could also see a therapist or counselor to help manage your stress.
TMJ Treatment Options in Malibu
If you suffer from TMJ disorder, these tips can help prevent a flareup and manage your symptoms. If you need more help, Dr. Bob Perkins, DDS, at Southern California TMJ and Sleep Center offers a range of treatment options for TMJ disorder, including oral appliances, physical therapy and medication. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Malibu office and learn more about how we can help you find relief from TMJ pain.
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24955 Pacific Coast Highway, Ste. C100
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 456-5700