People who experience pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can actually have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). If you have pain during chewing or yawning or even when you talk, you know the discomfort of TMD. 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint that connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone at the side of your head. Problems arise when the muscles and ligaments around the temporomandibular joint tighten and get inflamed. This results in TMD.

Symptoms of TMD include pain in the temporomandibular joints, a clicking or popping noise when using the mouth, frequent headaches, and pain in the neck and shoulders.

There are lots of culprits of TMD. It could occur due to grinding and clenching of teeth or an acute traumatic event to the jaw. Less often, people develop the disorder as a result of arthritis.

If the pain is not frequent or severe, several home remedies can help you reduce or even eliminate the pain. Let’s look at some steps you can take to ease joint pain:

1. Try using a mouthguard 

If teeth grinding or clenching is the cause of your TMD, consider wearing the type of inexpensive mouth guard that you can buy in any sports store. 

Over the counter mouth guards are effective at lowering pressure on the teeth. Though this isn’t as effective as a custom-designed mouth guard, this product can improve jaw pain. Follow the package directions to make it fit your mouth.

2. Resist yawning 

If you see someone yawning, resist the temptation to do this. Although it can be difficult to stifle a yawn, that’s exactly what you need to do if you suffer from TMD. A big, wide yawn can provoke intense pain.

3. Apply ice or try warm water 

If you experience occasional sharp jaw pain, try applying a cold pack. The application of cold will help numb pain and lower inflammation. Hold a couple of soft packs on both sides of your face for 10 minutes. Repeat it every two hours as needed. 

If your pain is dull and steady, try using something warm as it improves blood circulation to the area and relaxes jaw muscles. Soak a couple of washcloths in warm water and hold them to your face for 20 minutes. But if your pain is too severe, visit your healthcare provider to get appropriate TMJ treatment

4. Avoid slouching 

If you have sedentary work, it’s essential to sit up straight. Your back should be supported properly. Make sure your chin doesn’t jut out in front of your body. If you are angled forward, you’re straining your neck and back which results in jaw pain.

5. Consider taking calcium, along with magnesium 

Add 500 milligrams of powdered calcium and 250 milligrams of powdered magnesium to water or juice to promote muscle relaxation. You can also take capsules.

It’s important to note that magnesium and calcium interact with several medications, herbs, and supplements, so if you’re taking medications currently, talk to your doctor before consuming calcium and magnesium. 

6. Watch what you chew 

It’s essential to stay away from too crunchy and chewy foods like apples, gum, carrots, beef jerky, and hard dinner rolls. These foods can overload your jaw muscles and promote pain. 

Eat more soups, pasta, and other easy-to-eat foods instead. Try cutting your meals into smaller portions, this will also help avoid muscle overload.

7. Try massage 

Massage the areas around your jaws to alleviate muscle tightness and improve blood flow to the area. Open your mouth and rub the muscles by the ears near your temporomandibular joints three to four times a day.

Try also massaging the muscles at the sides of your neck. These muscles don’t directly control your jaw, but by massaging them you will help to lower the tension that leads to jaw pain. 

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