The jaw joint called the Temporomandibular joint is the joint where the lower jaw is connected to the skull on each side of the head. TMJ is an extensively used joint and enables the upper jaw to move and close on the lower jaw. This is a complex joint which consists of muscles, bones and tendons. Jaw pain is caused as a result of injury to these parts or any other disorders affecting them. The pain may occur on one or both sides of the jaw and during certain movements like chewing or while at rest depending upon the cause of the pain. Pain may occur suddenly or build up over time and it can be a throbbing dull pain or it may be extreme. However, these conditions are can be treated using home remedies without resorting to any invasive procedures.
Jaw pain may be caused due to types of arthritis like osteoarthritis which can undermine the jaw joint and cause pain during movement. Trigeminal neuralgia – a disorder of the nervous systems can also cause pain in the jaw area. During heart attacks also the pain can radiate to the jaw. One of the most common reasons for jaw pain is temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). TMJ may be caused due to trauma to the temporomandibular joint. Due to the fact that its occurrence is high in women it is speculated that female hormones may have a role to play in this. Bruxism in which a lot of pressure is put on the jaw, arthritis in the temporomandibular joint and stress can also cause TMJ. Symptoms of jaw pain include pain and discomfort in the face, jaw area, neck and ear, inability to open the mouth very wide, clicking or locking of jaws in the open or closed condition of the mouth, difficulty in chewing and swelling in the face. A popping sensation, tooth pain, and tenderness in the areas of the face including the neck may also be present. They are accompanied by anxiety, stress and eating disorders. Dizziness, ear pain, fever and headaches may also be present.
Home remedies for jaw pain:
Self-care practices along with modifications in the diet are helpful in treating jaw pain.
- Open your mouth and massage the muscles around the jaw to relax them. Then close your mouth and repeat the same several times a day. Massage the neck muscles also.
- Try to sit up straight without bending forward and make sure the back is well supported.This avoids strain on the neck and back.
- Consciously try not to clench and grind the teeth.If there is an urge, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth.
- Do not sleep on your stomach as this strains the neck and the jaw.Sleep on your back or side.
- Practice meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Avoid foods which are difficult to chew like candies, nuts and steak and crunchy foods like hard rolls andapples, as they require the mouth to be opened wide.
- Consume foods like mashed potato, yogurt, soup, eggs, fish, cooked vegetables and rice which are easy to eat.
- Cut your food into small sized bites so that you can eat more easily.
- Do not consumefoods that contain caffeine like coffee, cola and chocolate as this increases muscle tension.
- Avoid alcohol as teeth grinding worsens after its consumption.
- Include calcium and magnesium supplements in your diet.
- Keep the body hydrated as lack of hydration may lead to cramps in the mandibular joint, neck and shoulders. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
- Include almonds, avocadoes, cashews, corn, dark chocolate, peanuts, flax, yogurt, oats, soybeans, spinach, wheat and whole milk in the diet to increase the magnesium content.
- Unpolished rice, wheat flour with the husk, banana, coconut, almonds, sesame, green peas, cabbage and spinach are good sources of calcium and can be consumed.
- Ginko Biloba, parsley and spinach are rich in glucosamine sulfate can be consumed as this mineral help to combat pain and stiffness in the joint.
- Applying cold packs on the jaw and neck can also be a pain reliever.
Jaw pain can be chronic and drain your body physically and mentally. Headaches and sleepless nights lead to anxiety and depression which aggravates the jaw conditions like TMJ and makes it a vicious cycle. Therefore, by using natural methods, relief from jaw pain can be obtained.