Pain related to TMJ disorder can flair up at any time; late at night, weekends, holidays or while traveling. So, it is good to have a few solutions to deal with the discomfort until you can see a professional for long-term relief.
Pain from an injured, damaged or over-used TMJ is often musculoskeletal in nature; the muscles tighten and cause pain such as headache, face pain or neck pain.
Home remedies to try in the initial stages of new pain, or a flare-up of pain include:
- Rest the tired muscle or joint. Switch to soft foods to lessen the muscle or joint work for a few days.
- Ice is often helpful in alleviating muscle pain caused from injury or cramping. Place a thick towel over a zip lock bag filled with ice, a bag of frozen vegetables or a gel pack, so as not to damage your skin and apply the cold pack to the painful muscle for approximately 10 minutes. After cooling the muscle, SLOWLY move the jaw to stretch and gently move the muscles. This can be done in sets of “3” (ice-stretch- repeat) every few hours.
- Moist heat, in some cases, may relieve the pain better than ice. Moist head pads are available in the pharmacy of most major retailers. Be certain to read the directions for use to avoid burns. Use the same method as cold therapy; apply the moist heat source for approximately 10 minutes and then gently move the jaw or neck slowly to see if it can relive or stretch the tight, painful muscle.
- Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication can be used as directed to lessen muscle pain and joint pain. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve can be used as directed in addition to ice or moist heat to help reduce pain and swelling. Use only as directed and only for the recommended duration on the package.
- Over-the-counter night guards can help reduce the pressure of “clenching” or bruxing and sometimes lessen pain. If it causes more pain, bite changes, or other symptoms, discontinue use of it. Changes in the bite or your symptoms usually indicate a problem more complex that can be addressed with a generic nightguard. You should seek help from a dentist specializing in TMJ.
- Some essential oils are capable in relaxing painful muscles. There are a variety of products available containing natural ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, muscle calming/cooling, and provide pain relief.
If the symptoms appeared due to an acute stressful situation, be mindful of clenching your muscles and seek professional help if necessary.
We can evaluate your condition and we have solutions that go beyond temporary pain relief. If your pain is recurring or is impacting your quality of life, schedule an appointment today.