How To Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Pain
It can be very difficult to live with the discomfort and/or pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). The reasons why people suffer the symptoms of TMJ can be many and varied.
A splint is recommended for many patients with TMJ discomfort. This is an orthodontic device that the patient should wear at all times. It causes the muscles in the face and jaw to relax and reduces the amount of pain the patient feels. Where patients have more complex problems, braces may be required, and even a surgical procedure eventually. A dentist, such as at BayView Dental Arts, can advise you.
There are several ways that the head, jaw, and neck pain linked to the temporomandibular joints can be managed. The following are some of the methods that are most commonly recommended:
- Some form of mild pain relief medication may help. A mild pain medicine should alleviate any joint pain and reduce swelling. Where a patient is suffering discomfort in areas other than their jaw, such as in the shoulder or neck for example, Acetaminophen, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen can have a positive effect. If you aren't sure what to take, ask your pharmacist or orthodontist, and they may be able to suggest a suitable product and advise on the dosage.
- Patients can benefit from massage and/or physiotherapy. You could also opt for one of these treatments to help relax your facial muscles, which should help reduce your pain levels as treatment progresses. Moreover, a physiotherapist can suggest exercises for you to do in your home environment. These can go a long way towards normalizing your jaw muscle movements and generally improve the way your joints and muscles work in tandem.
- Ice and heat treatments are another option. The use of ice or damp heat can relieve pain and reduce swellings. Many patients find that one option or the other is better at reducing pain, so it is often recommended they experiment a little with both—either an ice pack or a heated pad wrapped in a damp, warm cloth. The ice serves to bring any swellings down, while the heat has the effect of relaxing any muscles that are tense. Patients should swap between the ice and heat, applying each one for ten minutes in turn.
- Eat foods that are soft. This way you won't aggravate the symptoms or place additional strain on the joints. Of course it can be difficult and even frustrating to go without some of your favorite foods, but you will feel less pain by avoiding chewy, dense, or crunchy foods. But, look on the bright side—you might find lots of new foods to delight your palate. Soft foods like yogurt, cooked vegetables, rice, stews, and casseroles are good, but you should avoid bread, nuts, large vegetable chunks, steak, gum, oatmeal, or any food that is very chewy or requires the mouth to be opened wide.
11 December 2014