Jaw Problems: Exercise and Relaxation - Topic Overview
To help prevent or treat a
temporomandibular disorder (TMD), you can try gentle jaw exercises. You can also try techniques that help you relax your jaw muscles.
Try a gentle exercise
to restore normal range of motion, improve flexibility, and strengthen the jaw
muscles. Your doctor, dentist, or physical therapist can recommend additional
Do not do this exercise when your pain is severe or if it makes
your pain worse.
- While watching yourself in a mirror, gently open
and close your mouth, dropping your jaw straight up and
- Repeat for a few minutes each morning and
- Look for small improvements in the jaw's range of motion as
you practice this exercise from day to day.
Paying attention to how you use your jaw can both prevent and help relieve
Good habits that help relax and
rest your jaw include:
- Keep your teeth apart and your lips closed.
- Keep your tongue on
the roof of your mouth, not between your teeth.
Avoid things that make your jaw tense:
- Cradling the telephone receiver between your
shoulder and jaw.
- Opening your mouth all the way, as when singing
loudly or yawning (try dropping your head to your chest to stifle a yawn).
- Clenching or grinding your teeth, biting your lips, or chewing
your fingernails. Try to recognize when you are clenching your teeth, then
relax your jaw and separate your teeth.
- Clenching things such as
pens, pipes, or cigars between your teeth.
For more tips, see Jaw Problems: Changing Your Diet and Temporomandibular Disorders: Ways to Ease Pain.