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Top 7 Tips To Treat And Prevent Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
By Raymond Lee
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Whoever dubbed it “temporomandibular disorder” must have had a slightly warped sense of humor. After all, you would think that a condition that has jaw pain as one of its symptoms would have a name that is less of a mouthful. Just saying the phrase can sure give your facial muscles a workout, not exactly what you have in mind when you can barely open and close your mouth in the first place. Mercifully, the condition also goes by its abbreviation: TMD. The TM part refers to the temporomandibular joint, a hingelike structure that enables your jaw to move up and down and from side to side. You can feel the joint when you place a finger just in front of each ear and open and close your mouth. Every time you chew, swallow, speak, yawn, clench your jaw, or grind your teeth, your temporomandibular joint is called into service. It is easy to see why the joint is so susceptible to wear and tear and injury. Here are some tips that you can consider to adopt to ease your TMD pain.
- Work Your Muscles
It is recommended to try this TMD-taming routine. Begin by gently massaging the muscles in the affected area for 5 seconds. Then stretch the muscles by opening your mouth, but not to the point of pain. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat the cycle of massaging for 5 seconds and stretching for 5 seconds five times. Do this five times a day, but not if it hurts.
- Try A Mouthpiece
Wearing a mouthpiece can provide relief from TMD by preventing you from grinding your teeth. You can purchase one in a sporting goods store. It is recommended wearing it while you sleep and any other time that is convenient for you. But if you are not dramatically better in two to four weeks, stop wearing it and see a doctor.
- Don’t Yield To Yawning
When you have TMD, something as ordinary as a yawn can cause considerable discomfort. It can make your jaw lock, too. When you feel a yawn coming on, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and slowly bend your head forward. This puts less mechanical tension on the joint.
- Bring On The Big Chill
It is recommended having cold applications to the affected area at the onset of pain. A bag of frozen peas works exceptionally well for this purpose. It conforms to the contours of your face, so it is not as uncomfortable as regular ice. Wrap the bag in a towel and leave it in place for 10 minutes, then wait an hour before reapplying.
- Be A Softy
While you are nursing an aching jaw, you will want to steer clear of crunchy, chewy foods. That means giving up nuts, tough meats, hard breads and any foods that overwork your jaws and its adjacent muscles. But that does not give you permission to forgo your good eating habits. Do not limit yourself to unhealthy soft foods. There are good foods that are soft, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and soup. And make sure that you are getting enough protein and complex carbohydrates.
- Fortify With Supplements
A deficiency in thiamin, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12 can increase your susceptibility to muscle pain. It is recommended getting at least 50 milligrams of each of these nutrients per day, along with regular doses of vitamin C. Five hundred milligrams with each meal helps decrease muscle stiffness.
- Downsize Your Bites
Cut your food into small pieces. And avoid items that require you to open your mouth wide or bite with your front teeth, such as apples and club sandwiches.
Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.
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Article Submitted On: January 10, 2008