Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)is a fairly common condition that you might mistake for a normal headache.
It occurs when your jaw, either on one side or both sides of your mouth, are not functioning properly.
You may experience a sharp pain radiating from the back of your neck to your head, followed by stiffness in your jaw.
Painful headaches and migraines are common symptoms of TMJ. Find relief at home with these five tips for treating and preventing painful TMJ headaches.
1. Massage Your Jaw
When TMJ headaches hit you, gently knead your jaw to increase the blood flow on that part of your face.
When you massage your jaw, you do away with some of the pain and reduce the chances of having a swollen jaw.
This is how you should massage your jaw: Place three fingers on the mandibular joint and gently massage in a circular motion. Continue until you start feeling some relief.
2. Avoid Stressful Situations
Stress and anxiety are some of the major cause of headaches. TMJ headaches are no exception.
You might be wondering how stress and anxiety can cause TMJ headaches. Well, whenever you’re stressed, you tense your jaw.
If your jaw remains stiff for prolonged periods, you might develop TMJ headaches. The best remedy for this is to avoid stressful situations, conflicts and confrontations.
Whenever you’ve had a stressful day at work, take some time off and relax by doing yoga or taking a hot bubble bath.
3. Perform Jaw Exercises to Relieve TMJ Pain
This simple relaxation exercise can provide relief from TMJ pain:
First, rest your tongue on the upper part of your mouth behind your front teeth. Next, relax your jaw muscles and let your teeth and your tongue move slightly apart. You should feel relief from tension within minutes.
There are other exercises that may help you find TMJ pain relief, such as the goldfish exercises, chin tucks, and side-to-side jaw movement exercises.
4. Incorporate Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Pain is a natural way that our body communicates to us. When you start experiencing TMJ headaches, it’s time to examine your lifestyle and identify changes you should make.
For instance, avoid chewing gum and other hard foods, such as carrots, that require repetitive stressful jaw movement.
Give your jaw a break by adding some soft foods into your diet such as mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, fruits, whole grains such as beans, among others.
Proper posture can go a long way in pain prevention, so sit up straight!
Incorporating daily meditation and yoga can also help with TMJ headaches by allowing the body to relax naturally and restore balance.
5. Take Over the Counter Medication
If the pain becomes intolerable, try taking over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, to relieve the pain. Be mindful that over-use of these medications can be hard on your organs, so it’s not advisable to rely on them for daily pain relief.
If TMJ Headaches Persist, Consult an Expert
If left untreated, TMJ headaches can be very unpleasant. You don’t have to struggle with persistent symptoms every day, there are excellent ways TMJ headaches can be treated.
When home remedies don’t provide the pain relief you need it’s time to explore other treatment options, such as Botox Injections, Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT) and AmnioBoost.
Every provider at the Head Pain Insititute® is a highly qualified professional specializing in TMJ flare-ups. Call the Head Pain Institute® at 480-945-3629 for a consultation today!