What is TMJ?
TMJ (or sometimes called TMD) is when the joint that connects your lower and upper jaw is out of alignment or damaged. Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders (TMJ) can have many causes, such as malocclusion (bite problem), stress that causes teeth grinding, trauma to the head due to an accident, and more.
This dysfunction can cause numerous symptoms that make life miserable, like clicking and popping noises when chewing, headaches, dizziness, toothaches, pain in the jaw that radiates from the face down to the neck and shoulders, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and even the difficulty of opening and closing the jaw itself.
Do I Really Have TMJ?
There is a simple self-test you can do to see if you have this disorder. Place your little (pinkie) fingers into your ears so you cannot hear. Then slowly open and close your jaw.
Do you hear a clicking, popping, or grinding sound?
If so, your jaw joints may be out of alignment and an examination by your dentist and x-rays would be advisable. From there, your dentist may make you a simply customized acrylic mouthpiece.
It will help release the stress in the jaws, stabilizing the bite and preventing tooth-grinding.
Home Remedies for TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders
There are some simple remedies to try at home to relax the jaw joints and hopefully provide relief. The foods you eat make a difference between pain and comfort.
Try eating a diet of soft foods such as
- Steamed vegetables,
- Homemade soups,
- Mashed potatoes,
- Tender poultry, just to name a few.
Also eat more sulfur-rich foods, like garlic, onions, eggs, and asparagus. Sulfur is needed to repair and rebuild cartilage and connective tissues. It also aids in the absorption of calcium, which you need to rebuild and keep the bones and joints strong.
Add fresh pineapple to your diet, as bromelain, an enzyme found in this fruit, helps reduce inflammation. Avoid chewy foods like bagels, caramels and gum.
Ice and Hot packs
Try using a combination of ice and hot packs as therapy for pain and inflammation. TMJ affects the entire body. Use this palliative therapy not only on your jaw but down the neck and shoulders too. Massage is also a useful therapy for pain relief.
Sleeping on your back helps relax the back, shoulders, and neck muscles. Avoid sleeping on your side, especially the side of your jaw pain. Stomach sleeping is not advisable as well.
Ibuprofen And Magnesium
Ibuprofen can be taken in 200-milligram tablets, usually two to three tablets at one dosing. In addition to ibuprofen, take magnesium as well, with dosing at 500 milligrams per day.
While other natural treatments, including hypnosis, acupuncture, and massage therapy may be recommended, these treatments are going to be costly and often not provide the same results as the treatments you may have had in the simple home remedies already mentioned.
As with any form of home remedy treatment, be sure to speak with your doctor about the specific treatments that are appropriate for your TMJ syndrome.
Many jaws and facial pain complications can be alleviated using home remedies but complex conditions often need more diligent treatment. If you have complications with TMJ syndrome, be sure to consider these home remedies in addition to your traditional medical care.
Just like home remedies you can use for brain tumor headaches, the key to success lies in the careful balance with traditional medical treatment as well.
The Bottom Line
If you have TMJ dysfunction, you may need to use a combination of therapies. Doctors and therapists who use the whole body, or musculoskeletal, approach can offer natural TMJ relief with craniosacral release techniques that place the head and body into alignment using soft touch maneuvers.
Other effective treatments can include acupuncture, biofeedback for stress management, hypnosis, yoga and other exercises of the head and neck.