Alternatives to TMJ Exercises For Jaw Pain

Alternatives to TMJ Exercises For Jaw Pain
May 17, 2024

We don’t generally think about all the work our jaw performs until it starts causing pain. The temporomandibular joint actually does a lot of heavy lifting though, so TMJ exercises can help reduce some of the stress that causes pain in the jaw.

Regularly practicing TMJ jaw exercises, and a mouth guard for TMJ that is usually worn at night while sleeping can diminish jaw pain in the morning when waking up.

TMJ Exercises for jaw pain can be effective for most people when done regularly, even when it isn’t hurting.

Top 10 Alternatives to TMJ Exercises For Jaw Pain

Ice Pack or Cold Compress

Using an ice pack or cold compress on a sore jaw can reduce swelling and inflammation that causes pain. Place an ice pack on the jaw for 10 minutes, several times a day when pain flares up. This helps to promote blood flow to the area. A weighted heating pad that also functions as a cold pack works great.

Over the Counter Pain Medications

Over-the-counter pain medications like paracetamol (Crocin or Dolo) will reduce pain and possibly even inflammation caused by TMJ jaw pain. These don’t require a prescription and can be found in all pharmacies.

Stress Reduction Techniques

There are many stress reduction techniques that can be used to calm the body and mind to alleviate clenching and grinding that lead to TMJ jaw pain. Practising yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and mindful breathing all promote a sense of calm. 

Taking a warm shower or bath before going to bed each night relaxes the body and mind for more restful sleep. It also decreases the amount or severity of grinding and clenching while sleeping.

Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is a protective device usually worn at night while sleeping. It reduces the stress on the muscles and can diminish jaw pain in the morning when waking up. It is also known to reduce teeth grinding and snoring in certain cases. Advanced mouth guards may also be needed to reduce jaw pain.


Specific medications like muscle relaxants and others may be needed to relieve pain in certain conditions. These will be prescribed by your TMD or oro-facial pain specialist.

Botox For TMJ

Botox for TMJ is a treatment method that has shown to be effective for reducing pain by relaxing the muscles in the jaw that cause tension and headaches. The jaw is still able to functional normally, but unconscious movements are reduced in the areas where Botox is injected.


Specific muscle exercises may need to be done under the guidance of a physiotherapist. Alternately, certain additional muscle relaxation techniques may need to be done with a physiotherapist.

Muscle Injections

Specialized muscles injections are needed at times for specific cases with extreme pain or referred pain points. These help to immediately relieve pain and fasten recovery via other means.

EPAT Shockwave Therapy

EPAT Therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), uses impulse pressure waves to treat pain and speed up the healing process. It is used for a number of health conditions, including TMJ.

Stop Chewing Gum

This might be a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said that chewing gum regularly could be causing TMJ jaw pain, or at least aggravating it.

It’s quite easy to stop chewing gum and switch to breath mints for those who are concerned with having fresh breath. After a week or so, the pain should subside if chewing gum was causing a problem with jaw pain.

In addition to not chewing gum, it’s also advised to stop eating or chewing hard foods such as carrots that can cause extra stress on the jaw.

Hopefully the TMJ exercises listed above will help provide some relief from aggravating jaw pain, and the accompanying alternatives to the exercises will offer even more relief.

Always consult your facial pain specialist or a TMD specialist for further help and treatments. Do not continue with the exercises or alternatives if pain persists or worsens and consult your doctor immediately.

Dr. Denzil Albuquerque is a specialist with TMD diagnosis and treatments with a specialised degree and training from USA.

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