Are you struggling with jaw pain? Do you have clicking or popping in your jaw when you eat? Do you have regular headaches or migraines?
When it comes to common joint and muscle pain, our jaw and the muscles we use to chew and open our mouths are often overlooked. It is said that jaw pain is second to low back pain in prevalence.
Here are some tips and suggestions to help:
• Massage the muscles around your jaw bone
• Massage the muscles on the inside of your mouth (slide finger on the outside of your top teeth all the way back to where it stops. Hold pressure, oscillate, sweep)
• Keep your jaw relaxed by remembering to keep your teeth slightly apart throughout your day
• Use heat to your jaw muscles. Put a heating pad or rice sock around your jaw and chin in a half circle. If large enough place around entire head and lie down. (do not burn yourself!)
• Eat smaller bites of food
• Avoid chewing gum
• Be aware of biting on straws of water bottles
• Be careful with how far you yawn (keep tongue on the roof of your mouth)
• Consider how you are sitting and/or sleeping
o Do not sleep with your arm as a pillow
o Do not sleep with your hand by your face
Did you know a physical therapist can help?
Your physical therapist may be able to offer additional insight and individualize treatment. This may include:
• Stretching exercises
• Strengthening exercises
• Advanced manual therapy techniques including dry needling
• Modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation
• Assessment of the joints and muscles of your neck
• Postural assessment – including sitting and sleeping
• Assessment of your oral appliance
• Behavioral modifications/relaxation strategies