Temporomandibular disorder (also known as TMJ or TMD) is a condition affecting many. However, it is incredibly difficult to diagnose, and there is no clear-cut approach to its treatment. As such, many experts agree that surgery should be the last resort.

There are plenty of therapeutic methods that can help with TMJ. In this article, we will go over a few of these methods to help you deal with the condition.

Understanding TMJ

TMJ is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint in the jaw. That joint connects your jawbone to your skull, acting like a sliding hinge. A person with TMJ can experience discomfort or pain in these areas. There are many possible circumstances and causes that can lead to TMJ, such as arthritis, injuries, genetics, and so on. Grinding your teeth or clenching can also cause TMJ, but it does not happen to everyone who does.

Most TMJ sufferers only experience minor symptoms without them developing into more serious conditions. For minor cases, symptoms can usually be relieved with easy at-home treatments. In some cases, the symptoms can go away entirely but can also return without warning.

Mitigating the Symptoms

Many dentists recommend a combination of treatments, but it begins with avoiding practices that could worsen your condition. This starts with developing better eating habits.

As such, the following should be avoided:

  • Food large enough to require you to open your mouth wide
  • Incredibly chewy food
  • Hard and crunchy foods, like pretzels and apples

And the following are recommended, as they do not require a lot of chewing:

  • Yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soup
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Smoothies
  • Cooked vegetables and fruits
  • Fish
  • Beans

It is also recommended that any food that needs to be chewed should be cut into smaller, more manageable pieces. Don’t hesitate to take your time with your food and rest between chewing should it become uncomfortable.

Other Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

If any pain does set in, many sufferers recommend a combination of ice packs, exercise, and moist heat to alleviate the symptoms. The ice pack, applied for ten minutes, can relax muscles in the face and temple.

Besides ice or heat, gentle stretching exercises can also help, such as the following stretching exercise:

  • Place your left thumb under your upper front teeth
  • Place your right index and middle fingers on top of your lower front teeth
  • Gently pull apart your jaw using your hands

Note that after this exercise, you should apply a warm towel or washcloth to the side of your face for five minutes. This whole process should be done several times a day.

These are just a few of the at-home treatments and exercises you can follow. Your dentist or physician will likely recommend others in addition. Your physician may also recommend treatments such as medications and splints, based on the severity of your condition.

Dry Needling Can Help

There are plenty of solutions and treatments to consider before surgery remains the only option. Among these many solutions is dry needling, a form of acupuncture used to treat a number of conditions, such as migraines, arthritis, and TMJ. Dry needling targets the areas of the body experiencing discomfort or pain.

Needle Treatment in Jacksonville, FL

If you’re looking for dry needling in Jacksonville, FL, send us a message at Dry Needle Pain Relief. We have the expertise needed to treat your aches and pains effectively!