So many people in this world suffer from displaced discs in their jaw joints and have a hard enough time going about their daily lives that it’s time to give a little more perspective on what can be done to make their lives easier. One of the most helpful tools in dealing with TMJ disorders is so simple yet can be so difficult to master. This little tool is called ‘exercise’, but ONLY when done carefully and methodically. Just going to the gym would likely make things worse because most lifting would cause a ‘pull’ on the neck muscles which would in turn pull upon the slipped discs. The gym exercises that are considered ‘allowable’ would include using the elliptical (because of the zero impact) and doing things like light curls- 5 pounds maximum- and ab crunches. All these are considered acceptable to loosen up the muscles and get things moving a little better.
Another helpful hint for TMJ disorders involves the use of the time-honored hot bath regimen. The usual recommendation is to put a cup of Epsom salts in the bath and just soak right up to the neck area to get the whole body covered as much as possible with the salty water. This has the effect of reducing whole body inflammation and just plain feels good. And feeling good reduces stress in general, and that is what your body wants. Stress reduction allows the body’s natural healing processes to kick in.
Let’s go over another technique that you can use at home, or work, to help get through TMJ problems. There are these wonderful little devices called IR (Infra Red) magnets that have a very good therapeutic effect on the body. Just look them up on, you guessed it, Amazon. They come in all shapes and sizes but one of the more effective types for TMJ disorders is the small circular magnet that can be placed right over the joint, the masseter muscle, and even on the neck. This will have the effect of clearing out toxins and relaxing that area- again, reducing inflammation to help the area heal more effectively. Many patients who suffer TMJ disorders also have back problems and you will also see a back belt with the IR magnet. This can be easily worn at work to reduce the back pain caused by TMJ disorders. (Wearing magnetic stickers on your face might be a bit awkward in the workplace.)
And just to wrap up some easy home therapies, go back to Amazon and look for something called a TENS unit. Get the $30 version- they are all so similar. Place the magnetic pads on the masseter (jaw muscle) on both sides and just ramp up the pulsing ever so slowly. It feels like having a massage done on those tight muscles and you can just place the pads and walk around with the unit in your pocket.
So here we have a few ideas on how to manage your TMJ discomfort. There are many more things that can be done, and perhaps a future blog will get into those.