Do you suffer from reoccurring headaches? Are you struggling to find relief? If you’ve been dealing with chronic headaches, the source of your pain may be TMJ. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition that affects the joints and muscles in your head and neck. TMJ can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, but fortunately, there are some things you can do to get relief. Keep reading to learn about the best ways to deal with TMJ headaches.
1. Get Checked
Before you can start treating your TMJ headaches, you need to ensure that’s what’s causing the pain. See a doctor or dentist and get checked out to rule out other potential sources of pain like sinus infections or eye issues. Because TMJ can be caused by various things, your doctor may suggest getting a CT scan or an MRI to look into the source.
Once diagnosed, your doctor or dentist can create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. This may include lifestyle changes and physical therapy. If the issue is severe, you may be asked to see a local oral surgeon who specializes in TMJ problems. They can provide more intensive treatment options like splints and oral appliances to help reduce pain and inflammation.
2. Massage Therapy
One of the best ways to reduce TMJ pain is through massage therapy. Massaging the area around your jaw can help relax the muscles and relieve tension headaches. A massage treatment may also help to reduce swelling and decrease inflammation. Make sure to bring this up with your doctor or dentist, as they may be able to refer you to a massage therapist who specializes in treating TMJ.
If you don’t want to book a professional massage, you can try massaging the area yourself using your fingers. To do this, place your fingers in front of your ears and gently move them in a circular motion. Do this for about five minutes each day to help relax the muscles and reduce pain. Just be careful not to massage too hard or put too much pressure on your jaws.
3. Heat and Cold Therapy
Another effective way to deal with TMJ headaches is by using heat and cold therapy. Applying a hot pack to the area around your jaw for 15-20 minutes can help to reduce inflammation and ease the pain. You can also try using an ice pack for 10-15 minutes. Be sure not to apply ice directly to your skin, though – wrap it in a thin cloth first.
Depending on the type of pain, you may find that one therapy is more effective than the other. Experiment with both heat and cold to see which works best for you. You can also alternate between the two if needed to help reduce pain and swelling.
4. Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
If you’re struggling with severe pain, over-the-counter medication may be necessary. Ibuprofen is a type of anti-inflammatory medication that can be effective in treating TMJ headaches. Just be sure not to take more than the recommended dosage, as this could cause gastrointestinal problems like ulcers. Acetaminophen is another option that can help to relieve pain without causing stomach issues.
As always, consult with your doctor before taking any medication – they’ll be able to advise you on what’s best for your individual situation. Some conditions may require prescription medication, so it’s important to discuss this with your doctor first. You may also need to take muscle relaxants to reduce tension in the jaw area and further relieve TMJ headache symptoms.
5. Jaw Exercises
Certain exercises can also help relieve TMJ headache pain by stretching and strengthening the muscles in your jaw. One simple exercise is called “jaw opening and closing.” To do this exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your head level and eyes looking forward. Slowly open your mouth as wide as you can without causing pain, then close it gently. Repeat this 10 times at least once per day.
Check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you’re in pain. They’ll be able to give you specific exercises that are safe for you to do based on the severity of your symptoms. You may also find relief with yoga, which can help improve posture and reduce tension in the neck and jaw.
If you’re struggling with chronic headaches, there’s a chance that TMJ could be the cause of your pain. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may be able to help diagnose the source and provide treatments. Try some of these tips to help reduce TMJ headaches and start feeling better soon. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments, and never hesitate to seek professional help if the pain persists. With the right care, you can start to feel better and get back to living an active, pain-free life!