What Activites Shouldn’t You Do With TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that attaches your jaw to your skull (TMJ). TMJ refers to jaw pain caused by this joint; medically, it’s known as a temporomandibular joint condition (TMD).

This disorder will make it difficult to enjoy everyday activities like eating, drinking, or conversing.

Your physical therapist (PT) will work with you to reduce pain and change the way your jaw functions if you have TMJ. They’ll even tell you which habits to stop and how staying away from them will help you heal completely.

Jaw Function

The movable portion between your mandible and the temporal bone of your skull is your temporomandibular joint. It’s something you use every day when dining, drinking, and conversing. The bones of your jaw will slip and slide normally thanks to a small disk in the joint.

It may also cause pain in your jaw and face, as well as soreness or spasms in the muscles around your jaw.

Treatment for TMJ involves:

  • Exercises to re-establish natural jaw movement
  • Treatments for inflammation
  • Mobilizations in collaboration
  • Treatments to keep the muscles in tip-top shape

A night guard or splint can also help with bruxism (teeth grinding at night), which can cause muscle soreness and TMJ.

In extreme cases, surgery can be required to correct the problem. It is, however, only seen as a last resort. The aim of your first treatment should be to relieve pain and improve the way your jaw opens and closes. Avoiding those things will assist you in completing this mission.

What Activities You Need To Avoid

Parafunctional activities are activities that should be avoided if you have TMJ. That is, the task isn’t needed to get through your daily routine. It’s something you could do for fun or even unconsciously when doing other things.

You will help limit the tension on your temporomandibular joint by avoiding parafunctional movements. This will allow things to heal properly. If you have TMJ, the physical therapist will help you figure out what you can avoid.

  1. Avoid Chewing Gum

You may enjoy chewing gum, but you should stop it if you have TMJ. What is the reason for this?

The most used joint in your body is your jaw. Excessive use of the joint and muscles relieves pressure and provides time for them to relax. Resting sore muscles and joints is the first step toward alleviating TMJ symptoms.

  1. Stop Eating Hard Foods for a While

Bagels are delicious, but they can be hard on the jaw. Hard foods such as bagels and apples should be avoided if you have TMJ pain in your jaw.

These foods can put an unnecessary amount of stress on your jaw, preventing it from getting the rest it needs to heal properly.

  1. Avoid Non-Functional Jaw Activities

We also do something with our jaws unintentionally or out of habit as we go about our daily lives.

  • You can chew on a pen carelessly while reading or writing.
  • While watching TV or surfing the internet, you may bite your fingernails or chew on small bits of clothing.
  • Thumb sucking is common among children.

These non-functional behaviors can put strain on your TMJ, slowing the healing process.

  1. Limit or Avoid Resting on Your Chin

When studying, searching social media, or watching TV, many people rest their jaw in their hands. While this position is comfortable, it may cause your jaw to become misaligned.

This pressure against the side of your jaw can cause the disc to move out of position, causing problems with how your jaw opens and closes.

By breaking the habit of leaning your head on your palm, you can help your joint heal properly.

  1. Avoid Chewing Only on One Side

Humans are creatures of habit, and many of us chew our food on one side of our mouth or the other. This can stress out one side of your temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles, leading to pain and joint dysfunction.4

Try to be aware of your chewing habits and make sure you consume food on both sides of your mouth. If you have dental problems or tooth pain on one side, see your dentist to get it fixed so you can chew evenly and comfortably.

  1. Try to Stop Clenching Your Teeth

The medical word for clenching your teeth together is bruxism. This can happen at any time of day or night. When you have TMJ, teeth clenching will put a lot of tension on your jaw muscles, which can be a real problem.

Teeth clenching can be caused by stress, so learning to control the stress can help. Your dentist will also recommend that you wear a mouth guard when sleeping to prevent your teeth from clenching excessively.

  1. Stop Slouching

When your head is above your cervical spine and your posture is straight, your jaw works best. When you slouch, your jaw muscles and the way your jaw opens and closes are affected.

Your physical therapist can work with you to improve your posture as part of your TMJ treatment. This can include strengthening your back and shoulder muscles as well as reminding yourself to sit up straight on a regular basis.

A slouch-overcorrect exercise is an excellent way to improve your posture awareness. Maintaining proper jaw function requires sitting and standing straight and preventing slouching.

  1. Stop Waiting to Get Treatment

Many people who suffer from musculoskeletal issues simply wait for the discomfort and restricted motion to go away. However, if you are experiencing issues with your jaw joint (the most frequently used joint in the body), you can seek care right away.

TMJ is often self-limiting (i.e., it goes away on its own) and non-progressive, with a high rate of recovery with traditional care —all the more incentive to seek support as soon as possible.

If you suspect TMJ, see your doctor or dentist for a proper diagnosis. A physical therapist will teach you exercises and techniques to help you self-treat the illness. A dental surgeon who specializes in orofacial pain is another choice.

Are You Looking for Relief From TMJ Dysfunction? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies for TMJ Dysfunction.  Physical therapy is probably one of the most common interventions for TMJ disorder if you choose to stop taking pain-relieving drugs and use a more holistic method. A thorough examination will be performed on your neck, shoulder girdle, and thoracic spine at your initial consultation with Pace Physical Therapy to decide whether those structures are triggering your symptoms. One of our dedicated physical therapists from San Jose, CA, will then develop a care plan based on the extent of your symptoms and your particular needs. Our physical therapists are patient-centric and committed to your health, working hard to help you manage and eliminate symptoms. If you are in San Jose, CA suffering from the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction, request an appointment at Pace Physical Therapy. Don’t suffer from jaw pain and stiffness any longer.