Use Some Simple Exercises for TMJ Relief

woman doing TMJ exercises for a sore jaw.

Do you have facial pains that might be associated with TMJ (jaw pain, headaches or earaches)? Reports says more than 15% of the population of the US says they have suffer from these and similar issues.

TMJ temporomandibular joints) are the two hinged joints that attach your lower jaw to the rest of your body – and allow the amazing movement required for chewing, talking, facial expressions and so much more.  To be more correct, the proper terminology for TMJ issues is TMD (temporomandibular disorders).

It only makes common sense that TMD could account for only a portion of these described issues, but pain in the jaw, chronic headaches or earaches can be a serious problem.

Our goal is to look at exercises you can do that might alleviate some of these issues before contacting a medical professional. Please be clear that these exercises might or might not alleviate and issues you might be having. This article is not intended to be medical diagnosis or treatment in any way, shape or form! If you are experiencing uncommon pain or other issues please see your dentist or medical professional!

Simple TMJ Relief Ideas

Our goal is to use exercise to retrain your jawbone to move correctly.  We want to work the muscles to allow your jaw to move without pain and in the correct manner!

But before we start working, let’s use these suggestion to minimize any pain and swelling that might be evident.

  1. Avoid all chewy foods. Stick with softer foods for a while so your jaw does not have to work as hard.
  2. Make sure you use both sides of your mouth equally when you chew.
  3. Avoid chewing gum.
  4. Minimize as much as you can opening your mouth wide (less stress on the joints)
  5. No fingernail biting!
  6. Makes changes as necessary to lower stress and worry.
  7. If you do have localized pain or swelling, utilize warm, damp washcloths to the area (do not burn yourself!)
  8. If you are not allergic, try over-the-counter pain relief (ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
  9. No teeth grinding! (This can be happening at night while you are asleep and unaware!)


TMJ Exercises

Once you have managed your pain, use the following exercises from the American Family Physicians website to retrain your jaw movement muscle to minimize the potential for returning issues.

  1. Resisted mouth opening: Place your thumb or two fingers under your chin and open your mouth slowly, while pushing up gently on your chin with your thumb. Hold for three to six seconds and then close your mouth slowly.
  2. Resisted mouth closing: Place your thumbs under your chin and your two index fingers on the ridge between your mouth and the bottom of your chin. Push down gently on your chin as you close your mouth.
  3. Tongue up: Slowly open and close your mouth while touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue.
  4. Side-to-side jaw movement: Place an object about .25” thick (for example, two tongue depressors) between your front teeth. Slowly move your jaw from side to side. Increase the thickness of the object as the exercise becomes easier.
  5. Forward jaw movement: Place an object about .25” thick between your front teeth and move your bottom jaw forward so that the bottom teeth are in front of the top teeth. Increase the thickness of the object as the exercise becomes easier.


Exercises for TMJ relief should never be painful. Stop immediately if they are and call Dr. Abeyta for professional help!