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If you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your jaw joints, you may have an injury to the temporomandibular joint which connects your jaw to your skull. Other signs that you may have temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ syndrome, are:

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome or TMJ Syndrome Signs:

–clicking of the jaw
–ear pain
–popping sounds in your ears
–headaches
–sore jaw muscles
–pain in your temples
–locking of the jaw

There are some temporary things you can do to relieve the pain due to inflammation of the joints. Here are some ways you can help relieve your pain, in addition to taking anti-inflammatory medications available over the counter.

Massaging the jaw joints as well as gentle jaw and neck stretches can help with TMJ symptoms. Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum reduces stress on the joints. Speaking of stress, one of the causes of TMJ is clenching or grinding teeth excessively, and this is aggravated by stress. Finding ways to relax and reduce your stress or anxiety will help your jaw recover.

You can use an ice pack to relieve inflammation and promote healing as well. If you do use an ice pack, be careful to wrap it in a cloth and keep in on your jaw for no more than 15 minutes at a time.

If you sleep on your back or stomach habitually, sleep on your side instead and support yourself using a pillow between your neck and shoulder.

If you are tired and sleepy throughout the day, and find yourself yawning persistently, support your chin by using your fist when you yawn to prevent joint damage and keep your jaw from locking open.

If you are on the phone frequently, avoid cradling your phone with your face and shoulder as it can irritate the muscles in your jaw and neck.

TMJ, while painful, can be managed. Try these tips to help you relieve TMJ symptoms and come in to see us if it persists. Give our office a call at 714-557-0882 if you have any further questions or concerns. Our dentists in Santa Ana are here to help your oral health in any way we can!