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Home Remedies for TMJ. Top 10 Secrets

Updated on January 31, 2014


So you've been diagnosed to have a temporomandibular joint disorder and you want to know about treatment options. Where do you go to find TMJ cure information? For best results, you may want to combine alternative TMJ treatments like yoga, biofeedback, acupuncture, and massage therapy as a complement to medication that your TMJ specialist may prescribe.

Most Common Symptoms of TMJ
Most Common Symptoms of TMJ

SECRET #1: What are the Most Common Symptoms of TMJ?

Several things may attribute to the pain and symptoms of TMJ. Temporomandibular joint disorder usually involves several complex problems that are all related to the jaw. Because the temporomandibular joint involves bone and muscles, each case of TMJ is different and may experience different symptoms.

With muscles and joints working together, you may have a problem with either of these in the jaw area causing a host of seemingly unrelated problems.

  • Clicking Sounds - Some individuals may hear a clicking sound occurs when they open and close their mouth. It is sometimes heard when they chew as well. Many people experience this without any pain at all. Hearing this sound alone is not an indication that you have a health concern. Only those who experience pain along with the sound would be diagnosed as having TMJ disorders.

  • Headache - Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of TMJ. Nearly 80% of TMJ patients complain of this. The pain is made even worse when you open or close your jaw or are exposed to the cold, which increases facial pain and muscle contraction.

  • Ear Pain and Problems - Many times what may feel like an ear infection can actually be TMJ. The pain may be felt in front or below the ear. Tinnitus, or noise or ringing in the ears, is also one of the symptoms for TMJ. Luckily this feeling usually goes away when your TMJ is treated. Ear problems may also include fullness in the ear. Sometimes TMJ suffers feel like their ears are clogged or full. This feeling of ear fullness and pain can become more noticeable during airplane takeoffs and landings.

  • Eye and Jaw Pain - TMJ suffers observe pain and eye problem like bloodshot eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, pressure behind the eyes, and pain above, below, and behind the eyes. Pain or tenderness in the jaw is also associated with TMJ in addition to difficulty or discomfort when chewing, stiffness, bite problems, also called malocclusion, locked jaw or general facial pain.

  • Dizziness - Even though dizziness can be the cause of something else, many TMJ patients report feeling dizzy and imbalanced.

Early diagnosis of your TMJ condition can help your doctor map out a good treatment plan to address these symptoms while they can still be easily cured. So be mindful of what your body is telling you and we will talk soon.

Causes of TMJ
Causes of TMJ

SECRET #2: What are the Causes of TMJ?

The TMJ is a hinge joint that connects the mandible or the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, which are found on the front of the ears, on the sides of the head. These are flexible joints that let the jaw move up and down and to the sides, which are the movements that we do when we chew, yawn, or talk.

Too Much Wear and Tear - When the jaw muscles are overused, which happens with too much grinding or clenching of the teeth, this can lead to a TMJ disorder. This type of wear and tear on the jaw can be due to stress. When we experience stress, we tend to clench our teeth or tighten our facial and jaw muscles.

Injury - Other factors such as injury to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, or the muscles of the head and the neck, as well as the dislocation of the disc that acts as a cushion between the ball and the socket, may also contribute to TMJ pain.

The Way You Sleep - Sleeping on your stomach automatically forces your head to move to one side, which in turn places stress on the joints in your neck. It's far better to sleep on your side, but even this can still press one side of the face more than the other.

The Anteater Pose - The "anteater" pose involves unconsciously jutting your head forward while you're sitting and even while you're standing. Some people do this because the head is pretty heavy; approximately nine to 15 pounds. This weight, in turn, strains the neck and jaw. In addition it may even cause your bite to actually shift so your teeth aren't properly aligned.

Just when you think it's safe to wrap up the list of potential causes of your TMJ disorder, check out these possible causes of this ubiquitous disorder:

  • Autoimmune Diseases

  • Various Infections

  • Jaw Injuries of Just About Any Kind

  • Certain Dental Procedures

  • Stretching your jaw -- as in done at times with certain surgical procedures

  • Poor Dental Work

SECRET #3:Finding Help for Your TMJ

When you think that you may be suffering from TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorders, you will need to find a specialist to get yourself treated.

A good place to start is to see your dentist. Your dentist will give you a thorough exam and review your history of jaw symptoms. Dentists who have trained in a specialist program for TMJ can help in finding out the real reason behind the symptoms you’re experiencing.

There is really no one specialist for TMJ. However, some dentists, surgeons, and ear, nose, and throat specialists, may have some experience in treating TMJ. You can ask your primary care provider to refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon. This is the kind of dentist who can treat the mouth and the jaw. Also consider consulting a surgeon, as it is sometimes necessary to correct jaw imbalance through surgery in some cases of TMJ disorders.

Not to dismiss your doctor’s capability, but if you are hesitant about what your specialist for TMJ is suggesting as a course of treatment, it is wise to get a second opinion—or even a third, a fourth, or a fifth opinion. Remember, if your doctor is suggesting surgery, it isn’t always the best course to correct your TMJ disorder. Alternative treatments that are less expensive are available.

Be prepared when you are visiting your health care provider. Start to understand the condition on your own by reading up on it. With a better understanding of your condition, you and your doctor together can decide on the best course of treatment for you. It is your body, after all. Take good care of it.

Recommended Reading on Amazon

Functional Occlusion: From TMJ to Smile Design
Functional Occlusion: From TMJ to Smile Design

This book uses an interdisciplinary approach to explain the origin of and possible solutions to many different occlusal problems. Dr. Peter E. Dawson guides the reader along the way providing balanced explanations of theory and technique. He also debunks many popular misconceptions through practical discussion of their origins and the deficiencies of the arguments behind them. Different sides of many philosophies are presented while guiding the reader to the most functional and esthetic solution to various occlusal situations. Hundreds of full-color photographs, illustrations, and diagrams show aspects of the masticatory system, the epidemiology of occlusal problems, and procedures for finding the ideal occlusion. Whether the reader is a general dentist or a specialist, they will find this book applicable to their treatment methods and philosophies.

Tmj, the Jaw Connection: The Overlooked Diagnosis: A Self-Care Guide to Diagnosing and Managing This Hidden Ailment
Tmj, the Jaw Connection: The Overlooked Diagnosis: A Self-Care Guide to Diagnosing and Managing This Hidden Ailment

This is a comprehensive guide empowering TMJ sufferers to uncover and treat this prevalent, often misdiagnosed ailment that plagues an estimated fifty million Americans. Many of us have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorders without knowing it. Several seemingly unrelated conditions may indicate a jaw dysfunction. For instance, do you suffer from one or more of the following? Jaw fatigue upon awakening from sleep; unexplained headaches; unexplained pain in or above the ears; clicking or popping of the jaw; grinding or clenching of teeth; ringing or hissing in the ears; deviation of jaw movement when opening the mouth; excessive wearing down of the teeth; and, unexplained dizziness. These and other signs should alert you that you may be pursuing a cure for a misdiagnosed condition that could be costing unnecessary time and expense as well as unwarranted medical tests and/or dental work.The author combines his extensive personal clinical experience with adjunctive therapies to help readers arrive at a treatment fitting their own circumstances. The role of muscles, joints, stress, tension, accidents, nutrition, dentistry and posture are among some of the topics explored.

TMJ Cured
TMJ Cured

This describes the TMJ pains and associated ailments of the body that come from the mal location of the jaw bone in its socket (TMJ). This posture is totally dependant on the fit of the teeth. When we do a bite correction procedure the pains and headaches stop. The profession has not been taught to do this. They generally recommend splints or jaw joint surgery. The splint changes the bite temporarily and relieves symptoms but when you take out the splint the same old bite restarts the problem. My book is a paradigm shift treatment and is very controversial. Read about how Burt Reynolds got relief after 30 dentists trie

Muscle Relaxants May Be Just a Short-Term Relief
Muscle Relaxants May Be Just a Short-Term Relief

SECRET #4: Muscle Relaxants May Be Just a Short-Term Relief

You have recently learned that the muscles and bones within your temporomandibular joint work together. So, don't be surprised if you get a prescription for muscle relaxants from your health care provider to treat your TMJ. This type of medication may help for a few days -- or even several weeks -- to relieve the pain.

However, bear in mind that the use of these drugs doesn't treat the cause of your TMJ disorder. But, it will help to alleviate your pain symptoms. And for many, muscle relaxants are extremely helpful.

If you are considering taking muscle relaxants, you will need to think hard and long before you make any decisions about your treatment. Muscle relaxants are not only considered a controlled substance, but have been proven to be addictive. They have, in fact, become the most abused type of drug in the US today.

If you have past issues with alcohol or drug addiction, then you should steer clear of these drugs. Even if you have no previous addictive problems, you may still find yourself dependent at the very least or addicted if you take them for a continued length of time for chronic pain. That's one reason many physicians only prescribe them for short-term use.

These types of drugs also come with other potential adverse issues. Some individuals may experience stomach problems like nausea and vomiting when they take these drugs. For others, the adverse effects can appear in the form of a dry mouth. But perhaps the most common effect accompanying their use is drowsiness. If you do use them, be careful, especially initially that you don't drive until you can evaluate how your body reacts to this medication.

Many individuals also complain that their thought processes are foggy or cloudy. They lack the necessary concentration to think clearly. As a consequence some even say their daily ability to function normally is affected while they're on this prescription drug. Some persons notice that their decision-making powers are diminished.

There's still one more caveat that needs to be mentioned if you decide to use this class of drugs. You must know that they may not mix well with other medications you're using. Be sure to inform your health care provider of your entire list of medications you're taking.

When mixed with other drugs, the power of the muscle relaxants may be diminished or even negated completely. But more than that, the combination of this drug with certain others may even present itself as a dangerous situation.

SECRET #5: Manage Your TMJ Pain with Therapy

Just because you have TMJ, you don't have to suffer in silence. There are many medical and therapeutic solutions to treat your TMJ disorder. New breakthroughs in TMJ pain research have shown that therapy can offer pain relief and may even lessen the pain to the point that surgery will not be necessary.

Try Stretching - By asking your dentist or a physical therapist for help, you can learn a few stretching exercises that can help you to relax, repair, and rebuild the muscles and joints in your jaw.

Changes to Your Diet - By simply changing your diet can be a very effective form of therapy. Several foods may aggravate your TMJ pain. Some of these types of foods include foods that are rich in sugar, yeast, and preservatives, as well as those with a lot of vitamin C and iron. You may also find relief by cutting back on salicylates (jams, jellies, and juices are rich in salicylates), wheat and dairy products.

Soft Diet - By minimizing their wear and tear on your jaw, you can allow them to heal. Change your meals to include more cooked vegetables and fruit, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, scrambled egg, smoothies, soup, and yogurt. If you must eat food that needs to be chewed, make sure you cut it in smaller pieces and try to chew gently. You should also eliminate chewing gum.

Stress management - One of the factors that contribute to TMJ pain is stress. When we are stressed out, we tend to clench our jaw muscles, grind our teeth at night, and tighten our facial and jaw muscles, which put an impact on our TMJ joints. As part of your TMJ therapy, consider signing up for yoga classes. The breathing techniques that yoga teaches can help you cope with stress in ways that will not lead to TMJ pain.

Take charge of your TMJ pain and continue to find ways to manage it.

SECRET #6: The Occlusal TMJ Splint

The occlusal splint is an example of a popular non-surgical remedy to your pain. It sounds quite impressive and complicated, but you might know it better under its more common name: the bite guard.

Ah! Now we're talking. Some people, indeed, discover the much-needed relief they seek with the use of the occlusal splint. This bite guard is specifically created to prevent any further wear and tear on your joint.

You may also hear it referred to as simply a splint or even an appliance. This device, though, is nothing new, having been used for more than 80 years for various problems relating to the mouth and jar. It's been used to treat the grinding of the teeth, the clenching of the mouth as well as most recently TMJ pain.

Many individuals find this mechanism extremely helpful; others don't have good results with it. The guard, in fact, can actually lose its effectiveness over a period of time. And, as contradictory as this seems, some persons complain their symptoms worsen when they use the splint.

You'll learn that this device comes in several different forms, depending on your individual needs. Some cover the top teeth; others fit over the bottom set of teeth.

The splint, though, it may seem like an answer to your prayers, is not meant to be a permanent solution. Nor is the use of this device intended to alter your basic bit. If you discover this is occurring, then stop its use immediately and inform your health care provider.

Perhaps the best evidence for some for the use of an occlusal splint is the rest it provides your muscles. With this device in overnight, you're simply not grinding your teeth in your sleep.

SECRET #7: A Change in Diet can Change Your Life

By now, it is no secret that chewing food when you are experiencing TMJ symptoms is no easy task. So, while you are trying to heal your jaw, you want to do think very carefully about the foods you eat. Obviously, you're not going to pull a Bugs Bunny and munch on raw carrots right now. Most likely the thought of even opening your mouth wide enough to eat a raw carrot sends you heading for the hills.

No, you want to choose the softest foods you can find. These can include well-cooked grains, as well as beans and steamed vegetables. Yogurt additionally is a good choice as are bananas and beans.

You should also give some serious consideration to increasing the nutritious foods you eat as well. Did you really think we'd ignore this topic?

Did your health care practitioner give you any type of diet to follow to improve the aches and pains of your arthritis condition? If she did, these are the perfect foods to eat to help ease your jaw pain, too.

There are certain super-nutrients that help to build the collagen of your jaw as well as repair blood vessels that have been damaged by this disorder. Among the most helpful are vitamins C, and as well as zinc and selenium.

Collagen, by the way, composes much of the jaw joint, so this is a very wise move. If you can't find enough of these nutrients through your diet, then you may want to augment your diet with supplements.

Dentist and TMJ specialist Wesley Shankland, author of TMJ: Its Many Faces, recommends that you take a minimum of 1,200 IU of vitamin E daily.

Great natural sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds and even vegetable oils, especially canola and soybean. You can also obtain this nutrient by eating green, leafy vegetables. But the most abundant source is found in wheat germ. A single serving provides you with 100 percent of your daily requirement for the day. What a way to go!

Oh yeah. One more piece of advice. You really don't want to chew gum either right about now.

SECRET #8: A Recipe to Give You a Pain Free Breakfast

When you are in pain and you're hungry, it can be frustrating to find something that you can eat and tastes good.

Smoothies are not the only thing that you can eat when you have jaw pain. Try this recipe for breakfast to take advantage of a healthy, easy to eat meal.


  • 6 peaches, peeled and sliced

  • 12 slices day-old French bread (approximately ¾ inch thick)

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • ½ cup butter

  • 2 Tablespoon water

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon, or to taste


Stir the brown sugar, butter and water together in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour this mixture into a 9-by-13 inch baking dish, ensuring it covers the entire bottom of the dish. Layer the peaches over the sugar coating. Top with the slices of French bread.

Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour this slowly over the bread to coat evenly. Sprinkle the cinnamon over this. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 8 hours.

Approximately 30 minutes before baking, remove the dish from the refrigerator, bringing it to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.

SECRET #9: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

If you're wary about pill popping and surgery is not an option for you, don't worry, there are still many things that you can do to sooth your TMJ pain.

One of popular TMJ cure is a set of jaw-relaxation exercises that can help strengthen and relax your jaw muscles, eliminate the strain on the joints and other surrounding areas, and even relieve your TMJ pain.

These TMJ exercises are to be performed twice a day over five minutes. It is best to do these when you wake up in the morning and before you go off to bed at night. You will find this type of TMJ cure will work much better than any pill. Remember to consult with your TMJ specialist before doing any of these exercises.

Jaw Muscle Stretch Exercise - Open your mouth and place the palm of your hand on the right side of your jaw while sliding the lower jaw toward your hand. Push against the jaw and hold for five seconds. This creates a resistance to the sideways movement. Repeat this with your left palm against your left jaw, doing this five times on each side.

Neck Stretches - Turn your head to the right to rotate your neck, then place two left-hand fingers on the lower left jaw. Push a little to stretch your neck muscles, holding this for five seconds. Rotate your neck to the left, this time pushing with two right-hand fingers on your right lower jaw. Again, hold this for five seconds.

Mouth Muscle Massage - Do this by placing three fingers of each hand on the temples. Massage the temporalis muscles gently for ten seconds. Try not to exert too much pressure. Do this two or three times. You can apply the same massage to the jaw, with your hands below the ears, massaging the masseter muscles.

SECRET #10: Try Tai Chi

Have you ever heard of using Tai Chi to help your TMJ? No, I'm not talking about the popular tea that Chai Tea (although it is an excellent drink!) Tai Chi is an ancient Eastern form of exercise that, like yoga, is carried out slowly and deliberately. At one time, it was hard for many individuals - especially those living in small towns - to experience it. But thankfully its gaining popularity and you can find classes right alongside the yoga course you're already taking.

Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise (it really is!) and has been called by some "meditation in motion." The Harvard Public Health publication, Health Beat, though says it could very easily be called "medication in motion."

Scientific evidence is now proving what thousands of years of practice already shown. This practice has great therapeutic value in not only treating, but also preventing many health problems - including TMJ pain and symptoms.

Real beauty of this activity: You can start today without needing to be in top physical form.

Tai chi is not only low impact, but is a "slow movement" activity. The concept is that you travel through a series of motions, many of them former martial arts movements, breathing deeply and naturally. Your attention is focused on the bodily sensations created during this activity.

The movements you perform are overwhelmingly circular in nature and never forced. Your muscles, additionally, are relaxed, not tight and your joints are never fully extended.

Learn Tai Chi - Helpful DVD from Amazon

BodyWisdom Media: Tai Chi for Beginners
BodyWisdom Media: Tai Chi for Beginners

"I've been interested in taking Tai Chi classes for quite a while. After attending a class I thought it was boring and hard to follow. But I still wanted to learn because of the health benefits. I'm so glad I found this DVD. I'm learning Tai Chi at a nice pace and it's far from boring."


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      candidaabrahamson 6 years ago

      This is useful. I have at least two close family members with TMJ, ad, although retainers do seem to help, these ideas certainly might add even further relief.

    • tradedealer profile image

      tradedealer 6 years ago

      @senditondown: thanks. i hope that my info could help.

    • senditondown profile image

      Senditondown 6 years ago from US

      I know someone who was operated on for TMJ. It was a very painful experience for her. Hope your info gets out to those who need it. It will be very helpful for them.