1% Thursday: Relax the Jaw

A lot of pain is triggered by problems in the jaw.  You may not realize it, but you could be clenching and tightening your jaw muscles during the day, or at night.

You could avoid a lot of pain long-term by simply learning how to hold your jaw.  In fact, learning how to properly relax it during the day could even help avoid problems while you’re asleep with clenching and/or grinding.

I’d like to pass on some advice from Robert O. Uppgaard DDS in his excellent book Taking Control of TMJ.

  1. Make a "cluck" sound with your tongue. The front third of your tongue should rest on the roof of your mouth.
  2. Maintain this position using slight pressure. Do not allow the tongue to touch the teeth.
  3. Keep your lips together.
  4. Your teeth should be slightly apart and your lower jaw should be completely relaxed.
  5. Breathe through your nose. Breathe deeply, from the diaphragm rather than from the chest.

I recommend making this exercise a lifelong habit. Always remember:

  • Lips together
  • Teeth slightly apart
  • Tongue resting on the roof of the mouth
  • Lower jaw relaxed

If you feel that your jaw is triggering a lot of your pain, I recommend you get a copy of the book and try the many other tips and exercises.  Meanwhile, this one alone could make a big difference.

A review of the book can be found at Taking Control of TMJ: A Review of the Book.

What is 1% Thursday?

1% Thursday

Every Thursday at Headache and Migraine News (weather permitting) we’ll talk about one measurable, practical thing we can do to make our lives just 1% better.  Usually it will be something very easy, sometimes it will be a challenge.  Let us know if you try it, or share an idea of your own – and maybe a year from now we’ll see that things have really changed for the better!

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3 comments… add one
  • Katrina Jun 10, 2011

    The NTI-tss device is FDA approved in the US for migraine treatment and also is supposed to help with TMJ. It is different from a regular mouth-guard because it takes pressure off of the back teeth and jaw, and with the device you are unable to grind your molars.

    I have one, and have found it helpful with my jaw tension. You sleep with it in, but sometimes I use it if I find I’m tensing up and having a hard time relaxing the muscles on my own.

  • James Jun 21, 2011

    Yes, we’ve talked about this device more than once. Check out this post: http://headacheandmigrainenews.com/more-on-the-nti-tss-device-with-video/

  • joseph Jun 27, 2011

    I got one these devices and have found that it really has helped. I was feeling incredible jaw tension, had no idea why and was going through a string of bad migraines. I feel no jaw tension and feel it has helped. Highly recommend the device. Joseph

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