Rest Your Jaw Joint
Sometimes, TMJ symptoms flare up because your jaw is overworked. Relief might be as simple as resting your jaw. You might avoid unnecessary talking, and speak quietly when you do have to talk.
A soft diet is a great way to rest your jaw joint. Choose and prepare soft foods so your jaw doesn’t have to work as hard. You can still enjoy a variety of healthy foods, you just have to be careful what you eat.
Avoid habits like chewing gum or biting on nonfoods such as your fingernails or pens.
Over-the-counter medications are often people’s first step in dealing with discomfort at home. They can work well for treating jaw pain or headaches linked to TMJ as well. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories can work well for dealing with joint pain.
However, always make sure you comply with the dosing instructions on the label unless specifically instructed by a doctor.
Heat or Cold Compress
If you are experiencing joint pain, neck pain, or other types of discomfort linked to TMJ, a hot or cold compress can help a lot. Heat is more effective for relieving discomfort from tense muscles. Cold is more effective for overall pain relief and reducing inflammation.
It’s often good to alternate heat and cold in 20-minute cycles. Make sure you don’t burn yourself or cause damage tissue with too much cold.
For many people, TMJ flare-ups are linked to stress. If this is the case for you, trying to reduce your stress levels can help control TMJ symptoms. For some people, mediation and mindfulness techniques can be very effective.
If you find you can’t control your stress on your own, sometimes counseling can help.
When to Seek Professional Care
While home care works for some cases of TMJ, it’s important to seek professional care if you need it. For TMJ, you should seek professional care if symptoms:
- Are severe and interfere with daily life
- Don’t respond to home care or worsen under care
- Persist for more than seven (7) days
- Go away but then recur
- Include a locked jaw
In these cases, it’s time to get help for your TMJ symptoms. Persisting with home care in these circumstances can be damaging and lead to worse TMJ that might be harder to treat.
TMJ Treatment in Fort Atkinson, WI
If home care is not helping with your TMJ and you need professional care, we can help. We see patients from across Jefferson County at Bite Align in Fort Atkinson. Please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with Dr. Stafford.