Working out is good for your waistline, but what about for your jaw? According to new research presented at the American Academy of Orofacial Pain scientific meeting in May 2019 in San Diego, working out can help reduce pain associated with temporomandibular joint disorder and other painful conditions related to TMD. Legends Dental helps treat patients living with painful TMD in Waco, Texas, and surrounding areas.

What Is TMD?

TMD is a painful jaw condition caused by stress on or damage to the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). The TMJs are the joints that attach the lower jaw to the skull and allow the jaw to move left and right, up and down, and back and forth.

TMD is often very painful and can result in very tight muscles surrounding the joints. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the jaw, limited motion of the jaw, and popping and clicking of the jaw joint. Many people treat their condition with pain relievers, muscle relaxers and self-care such as warm compresses, soft-food diets, jaw-stretching exercises and rest.

But, How Does Exercise Factor Into Treating TMD?

For years, many researchers believed that exercise caused joint pain due to wear and tear. But, researchers have found in recent years that exercise can reduce joint pain by reducing inflammation and stiffness. When these factors subside, range of motion improves. These benefits can be seen throughout the body.

While working out to benefit your jaw may seem strange, regular physical activity can help improve your jaw and overall health.

Consider these facts:

  • Nearly one in four adults over the age of 18 is living a sedentary lifestyle. Eighty percent of teens are also insufficiently active.
  • American teens and adults spend nearly eight hours a day in sedentary behaviors such as sitting or laying down (outside of sleep).
  • More than 35 percent of adults do not participate in any physical activity.
  • This physical inactivity increases the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer and joint problems. Sedentary living can also increase the risk of developing sleep apnea, which can contribute significantly to the development of TMD.

TMD Exercises

Both cardiovascular exercises (running, walking, swimming and biking) and strength-training workouts are beneficial for your body and your jaw, but if you want jaw workouts, here are few to keep in mind:

The Goldfish Exercise: Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and put one finger in front of your ear at your jaw joint. Put your pointer finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw halfway open and then close with mild resistance upon opening. Do this six times to complete one set and do six sets per day.

Chin Tuck. Stand with your shoulders back and chest forward. Pull your chin straight back to your chest. Hold for three seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Tongue Up. Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Slowly open and close your mouth, keeping your tongue in place. Repeat 10 times.

Are you living with TMD? Legends Dental can help. Give us a call today at 254-242-0499 to schedule a consultation.

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