20 Home Remedies to Relieve Pain from TMJ Disorders

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tmj pain in ear

TMJ is a shortcut for temporomandibular joint and it is also known as lock jaw. This term is involving a lot of problems with the normal musculature and joint functions of the jaw. One of the most important structures of the joint is temporomandibular joint. It is made of hard and soft tissues which connect the lower jaw bone to the cranial bone in the skull. This joint allows for chewing, movements and other functions. The TMJ is causing any unusual pressure placed on the jawbone, such as misalignment of the teeth or jaw; grinding of the teeth and habitual gum chewing. If the TMJ is severe, then it can cause headache, pain in the neck and shoulder. This condition is frequently worse with stress where more clenching or grinding of the jaw can happen. The most common signs and symptoms of TMJ are muscles spasms and swelling around the jaw and face; joint pain; ringing in the ears; dizziness; trouble sleeping normally; headaches; clicking or popping sounds in the jaw when chewing; problems with chewing normally and pain when eating; pain and achiness around the jaw, neck face, ears and shoulders. The ability to open your mouth completely can be hampered and your jaw can stuck open or closed. The frequent symptom of TMJ is clicking each time when the mouth is opened. Those people who have stress jobs, people who have jaw surgery and people with jaw joint disease are having increased risk of getting TMJ. Talk with your doctor if you suffer from TMJ before you start using some of the below mentioned home remedies for this condition. Here are some home remedies for TMJ:

Exercise help TMJ

You should regularly strengthen and stretch your jaw but you should exercise your whole body because this will give you a relief from the stress. When you exercise, it will help you to sleep better, balance your blood sugar levels and it can lower the inflammation. You should aim to do at least thirty minutes to one hour per day in a period of one week. [1,2]

tmj symptoms

Meditation treat TMJ

It is known that the relaxation techniques, such as exercise, yoga and meditation can help in the treatment of TMJ. They can relax the muscles of the whole body, reduce the heart rate and blood pressure and also they can calm the autonomic nervous system. We know that the poor sleep is linked to increase pain experience so if you improve your sleep, then it can help you to get a relief from this symptom. [3]

Chamomile essential oil

This natural cure is a strong calming agent. It has analgesic properties which can help to reduce the pain in the joint, muscle and bone. Also it can give you a relief from the severe pain around the cranial nerve which is resulting from the pressure on the blood vessels.

Gentle massage

There are some doctors which are recommending doing gentle massage of the jaw and temple muscles. This massage should be done in a circular motion while you are opening and closing the jaw slowly for about thirty seconds every 4 to 6 hours. When you are opening and closing your jaw, then it will allow stretching and massaging of the most jaw muscle fibers. When you are stretching and massaging your jaws, then it benefits the jaw dysfunction by relaxing the jaw muscles and the repetition of the regimen can refrain the jaw muscles from tending up easily.

Grapefruit essential oil

This natural cure has immense soothing properties. It can help you to get a relief from the stress from daily activities. Also people who suffer from TMJ will benefit from this oil because they will feel less pain or stress due to its mild mood – lifting properties. Also it can help you to get a relief from the body relieving tension. It can be used to treat depression and alleviate the stress that is caused by TMJ. [4]

Anti – inflammatory teas and herbs

You should add anti – inflammatory herbs and teas in your diet, such as raw garlic, fresh herbs/spices, turmeric and green tea because they will help you in the natural treatment of TMJ symptoms.

Protein foods

If you have problems with chewing protein foods, then you should try adding protein shakes, raw dairy and eggs in your diet because they will give you enough protein.

B – complex help TMJ

This natural cure can help to get a relief from the effects of stress. It is recommended using 50 mg of B – complex two times per day.

Eucalyptus essential oil

This home remedy has antibacterial, antiviral and pain – relieving properties which can help to manage the pain that is associated with TMJ.

Eating soft food

You should eat a soft diet in a period of five to seven days because this can help to heal the TMJ symptoms and also it can reduce the forces within the joint structures. Some of the soft foods which you should consume are cooked/steamed vegetables, smoothies, stews and soups. They will add more nutrients in your body and you will not have to eat hard foods. [5]

Foods high in electrolytes

You should eat foods which are rich in electrolytes, such as pureed, steamed or blended vegetables and fruits. They have electrolytes, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium which can help to prevent the muscle spasms and other symptoms of deficiencies which are linked to the TMJ. Also mashed sweet potatoes, berries, cooked broccoli and other cruciferous veggies and leafy greens are rich in electrolytes and you can add them to your diet.

Valor essential oil

It can be applied to the neck and jaw as natural treatment for TMJ. You can use it in a combination with blue tansy, spruce and frankincense because it can help to treat muscle and bone aches.

Calcium

This mineral works with the magnesium and it aids in the muscle relaxation [6]. It is recommended consuming 500 mg of calcium, two times per day.

Collagen protein

This protein can help to rebuild the tissue and cartilage is also included in it.

Omega – 3 foods

You should consume foods that have Omega – 3 fatty acids because they can help to fight the inflammation and also they will improve the circulation. You should consume mackerel, sardines and salmon because they are rich in Omega – 3 fatty acids.

Magnesium

There are some cases when TMJ can be caused by spasms and muscle tension in the jaw so if you consume foods that are rich in magnesium, they will help to relax the tension [7]. Some foods which are rich in magnesium are bananas, dark chocolate, figs, avocado, black beans, almonds, kefir, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, chard and spinach. You should have a diet rich in these foods because it can help you in the treatment of TMJ.

Kava

This home remedy can help to reduce the anxiety and also it will relax the muscles. It is recommending consuming 70 mg of kava three times per day but talk with your doctor about the best dosage.

Hot and cold compresses

There are some doctors who are recommending warm compresses over the jaw, temples and neck region for ten to twelve minutes about two times per day because this can allow the muscles to relax and symptoms to reduce. You should do the warm compress as a preventative measure in a period of one week. This is better than doing it when the pain is at its peak. The warm application can decrease the jaw pain and stiffness by increasing the blood supply to the affected region and it will give you a soothing distraction from the pain [8]. If the warm compress has not helped you in a period of one to two days, then you should switch to ice application. The ice application can help to reduce the muscle spasms. Ice and cold have a numbing effect on the pain.

What you should avoid

You should avoid sugar because it can increase the inflammation and it lowers the immune response. You should avoid the caffeine because it can increase the muscle tension by dehydrating your muscles. You should avoid drinking alcohol because it can increase the teeth grinding at night. You should avoid gum or caramels or any hard food because when you chew them, then it can worsen the symptoms of TMJ. Also you should avoid tough foods. You should be careful with any food that is difficult to chew, such as meat or dry cuts.

Essential oils

Lavender oil, frankincense oil and peppermint oil are the best essential oils which you can use as your natural treatment for TMJ symptoms. The lavender essential oil will relax the tense muscles. The frankincense oil will reduce the inflammation. The peppermint oil will give you a relief from the pain. You should mix one drop of each oil with ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil and you should rub it on the affected area. [9]

References:

[1] Moraes AR, Sanches ML, Ribeiro EC, Guimares AS. Therapeutic exercises for the control of temporomandibular disorders. Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics. 2013;18(5).

[2] Armijo-Olivo S, Pitance L, Singh V, et al. Effectiveness of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise for temporomandibular disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Physical Therapy. 2016;96(1):9–25.

[3] Bachani L, Ashok L, Singh M. Conservative management of temporomandibular disorders: A review. Acta Scientific Dental Sciences. 2019;3(4):99-109.

[4] Deng W, Liu K, Cao S, et al. Chemical composition, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiproliferative properties of grapefruit essential oil prepared by molecular distillation. Molecules. 2020;25(1):217.

[5] Kato T, Takahashi S, Domon T. Effects of a liquid diet on the temporomandibular joint of growing rats. Medical Principles and Practice. 2015;24(3):257–62.

[6] Szent-Gyorgyi AG. Calcium regulation of muscle contraction. Biophysical Journal. 1975;15(7):707-23.

[7] Altura BM, Altura BT. Tension headaches and muscle tension: is there a role for magnesium? Medical Hypotheses. 2001;57(6):705-13.

[8] Furlan RMMM, Giovanardi RS, e Britto ATB, e Britto DB. The use of superficial heat for treatment of temporomandibular disorders: an integrative review. CoDAS. 2015;27(2).

[9] Berry K. Essential oils might offer temporary TMJ pain relief. TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado. 2020.

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