TMJ, or Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder, is a progressively painful condition affecting the muscles, ligaments, and tissues surrounding the jaw joint. Over time, if left untreated, TMJ pain can extend down to your neck, shoulder and back.
This neck pain cheat sheet will give you handy exercises to ease TMJ neck pain.
Cold and Warm Compresses
Starting with alternating cold and warm compresses at the area where you feel pain can help to ease inflammation and reduce pain. The ice eases the inflammation and numbs the pain, and then the warmth prepares your ligaments and muscles for therapeutic movement.
“X” Marks the Spot
With this exercise, you can cross your arms over your chest, so that (as best you can) each hand reaches toward the shoulder joints. Then alternately move your head back (taking care to keep your spine aligned), from side to side, and forward, holding each position for 10 seconds.
Chin to Chest
With this exercise, you simply bring your chin as far forward as you can towards your chest (again, taking care to keep your spine aligned and avoid pain) and press your chin into your chest – all while keeping your eyes facing forward. Do this for 10 seconds, then rest, and repeat two or three more times as is comfortable.
Since your jaw, neck, shoulders, and back are all interconnected through your spinal column, often relieving tight muscles in the back can help relieve tmj neck pain as well (and vice versa). If you can do so without additional pain, bend forward like you were going to touch your toes. If you cannot stretch further, just hang there and slowly inch down as you are able. If you can touch your toes without pain, do so. Repeat several times.
Lie on your back, then bring your knees forward to your chest. Clasp your arms around your knees and “hug” your knees to your chest. Next, flatten out your back again and release your arms, then lift your hips up to the ceiling while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Bring your arms under your shoulder blades and tuck in your chin (do not squeeze shoulder blades). This will release upper back and neck tension.
Learn more about TMJ
With this cheat sheet, you can alleviate neck pain even while undergoing TMJ treatment. If you would like to learn more about TMJ, download my free e-book, “Do I Have TMJ?”