If you, or someone you know, suffers with jaw pain, TMD, difficulty opening the mouth straight or completely, jaw popping, or other issues with the jaw, this book explains the jaw, different conditions of the jaw, treatment options and more…
Do you slouch while sitting and/or standing? Slouching can strain your jaw and neck muscles throughout the day. If you slouch, check out my Combat Slouching to learn how better your posture.
Do you rest your chin in your hand? If so, your head likely tilts, and your jaw deviates from its normal straight up-and-down hinge action. This puts extra stress on your jaw, which may cause your jaw to pop and/or be in pain.
Do you hold your phone by lifting your shoulder to your ear? This also strains the neck and jaw. When you talk with your head in an abnormal position, the neck muscles aren’t in a neutral position, making it difficult for your jaw to glide open without pulling to one side. Repetitive pulling on the jaw during use eventually sprains it, causing pain.
Do you pull on your jaw to stretch your neck? This can sprain your jaw. You don’t want to injure your jaw while attempting to stretch your neck.
Do you talk with tension in your jaw? Make sure your jaw moves freely when you talk. If your mouth doesn’t move much during articulation, you are likely straining your jaw muscles.
When chewing your food, do you favor one side? Chewing on one side more than the other can lead to muscle imbalance and joint dysfunction.
Do you like chewy foods? Do you chew on ice? Excessive chewing can strain your jaw. Try avoiding chewy foods for a week. If your jaw is a lot of pain, avoid chewing for a week by eating soups and smoothies with a spoon. (Drinking a smoothie from a straw can irritate the jaw.) Resting your jaw for a week or two while doing the gentle massages and stretches in Chapter 6 should allow the jaw muscles to heal enough that you can reintroduce soft foods and eventually chewy foods. Just make sure you eat chewy foods sparingly (no more than a couple times a week) because it may cause your jaw symptoms to return.
Do you chew gum? If you do, you shouldn’t chew on a piece of gum for more than a minute and no more than three times a day. Preferably, you don’t chew gum at all.
Do you find yourself clenching your jaw? If you do, try pressing the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This should help you relax your jaw muscles.
Are your teeth crooked? Sometimes TMD results from a misalignment of your teeth. If you cannot close your jaw completely because of crooked teeth, or if your jawbone has to shift so your teeth can touch, this misalignment puts abnormal stress on the jaw, causing pain. Your dentist or an orthodontist can determine if your teeth are affecting your bite; in such cases, straightening your teeth can help alleviate your jaw pain.
Jaw clicking is a sign of TMD, even if it does not hurt
You may be diagnosed with temporomandibular joint dysfunction, shortened to the much easier to read and remember TMD, when you have recurring pain or clicking in one or both of your jaw joints. TMD can also be the root cause of headaches, tooth pain and more.
To learn more about TMD and how to treat it, check out my book, Combat Jaw Pain.
Wishing you wellness,
Dr. Karin Drummond