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bmcgovern - June 3

I have TMJ and for the past three weeks the left side of my jaw has been killing me. I have had a headache for 3 weeks now from it. It is causing me neck pain also. I have really had no relief. I am going to a Chiropractor and a massage therapist. Is there anything else i can do to relieve this pain? If anyone has any advice please let me know. Thanks.


tnichel - June 3

Try these exercises.

Open your mouth slowly, drop your draw as far as it will go. Stay in the position (imagine o shape) for 10 seconds. Then slowly close your mouth. Repeat but this time move your lower jaw to the right & down, then for 10 seconds. Then do the left side. You should feel a good stretch in your jaw.

Next one:
Open your jaw as far as it will go. make your hand into a fist then put your first 3 knuckles in your mouth. Gently bite down and release. do for 10 seconds.

These exercises will help stretch the jaw. The left side is always the worst for me too. If it's in that much pain that means the muscles in your neck are way to tight and you may not be able to release them yourself (thus the tension headaches). But back to what I was saying. Open your mouth as far as it will go. Right in front of your ear you will feel the jaw bone. It's probably tender and protrudes more than the other side. Try massaging it with your mouth open.

I also massage right under my jaw (where it meets your neck...dang i wish i had an etch-n-sketch. lol) down to the front of my chest and shoulders. I wouldn't recommend this if you're not familiar with where your lymph nodes are. But if I can get the muscles in the front and side of my neck to release if feels likes heaven. You can also joint pain cream to massage into your jaw or a warm wash cloth.

My number one suggestion would be a massage and if all else fails, see a pain doc and talk to them about doing injections to relax your muscles. about half-way down your neck is trigger causes the majority of jaw pain but if you can get it to release by yourself I think you'll have tremendous relief. If you have a massage chair or pillow you can try that. Apply heat to your neck first though to loosen your muscles. A massage after a warm epson salt bath can help to.

The stretches I suggested were given to me by a dentist so I know they are safe. You can also search the web for jaw exercises. Different ones work for different people. I have more so just let me know if you want them or have any questions. I know this pain well and have come up with all kinds of ways to get relief. Good luck!


lucky13 - June 4

Something that can make my jaw pain worse is at night (especially when stressed) when I'm asleep I will clamp my jaw shut really hard, so sleeping with a mouth piece helps me not have such bad pain so often. A sports mouthpiece will work just fine and is a lot cheaper then what your dentist would make, you can get them from anywhere for $1-$10, just get one that does not have a strap attached, follow the instructions on the package to shape it to your teeth. It's worth a try.


bbass - June 4

tnichel, thank you for the stretches, I have been trying them and they feel so good.


Fantod - June 4

Yes - See a dentist who specializes in TMJ and get a custom bite splint made to wear while you sleep. I have worn one for years and they do help quite a bit. The bite splint may be expensive but it is a lot less expensive than having to crown all of your teeth due to excessive wear and clenching. Take care.


bmcgovern - June 4

Thanks everyone for the advice. :) I will give those exercises a shot. I am getting a massage today also so hopefully that will help loosen my neck. I have a question about the trigger point injections tnichel? Do you know if there are any side effects to it and if they are expensive and how often do you need to get one?


moey - June 4

Hi everyone i am new to this forum and i have had pain in my right jaw now since December 2009 and my dentist made me a bite guard to fit my teeth and gave me the exercises but now they say i have a cyst above my wisdom tooth which may need to come out but just going to the dentist and holding my mouth open is painful - I have had RA for 6 years and FM for the past 3 years. I came on here for support as i am really down with my pain at the moment. thanks. Jean


Fantod - June 5

With all due respect to lucky13, a sports mouth guard may not address all of the problems caused by TMJ. There are a lot of variables with TMJ and it really boils down to geometry.

The things a dentist will be looking for are how you open and close your mouth. Do you tend to swivel to one side of another. Are your teeth level on all quandrants. Do you have fillings or crowns that are too high and are interfering with your natural bite. When someone has TMJ the slightest deviation in a filling, a crown or placement of teeth can make a huge difference. The bite guard that they design will take all of these factors into account. In addition, they will also determine what the best position is to completely relax the jaw muscles to keep them from spasms.

I certainly understand the financial aspect of what a bite guard can cost having been through several of them over the years. But, when it comes to preserving natural teeth and aleviating the pain and other problems caused by TMJ spending the money is better than the long term consequences. Take care.



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