Studio Portrait Of Man Suffering With Toothache

If you are suffering from considerable TMJ pain (temporomandibular joint pain), you are probably trying to find some way to relieve the pain.

TMJ pain can come from the temporomandibular joint itself or from the spasm of muscles around the joint.  There are things you can do to alleviate the pain.

Some of these things you can do just by yourself and others will need the assistance of your physician.  Some cases of TMJ pain resolve without any kind of treatment.  Those that don’t need help.

Treatment of TMJ Pain

Medications for TMJ Pain Relief

There are medications you can take to relieve TMJ pain, some of which are over the counter and some that need a prescription. (Always consult a doctor before taking any kinds of medication.) Here are a few that might be helpful to you:

  • Tricyclic Antidepressants. These are available by prescription and are not just used for depression. Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline are perfect for pain relief, particularly for the relief of chronic pain.
  • Pain medications. You can use an over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.  They are taken on a daily basis to relief minor to moderate TMJ pain.  Stronger painkillers might be prescribed by the doctor or dentist you see.
  • These types of drugs are very good for people who clench their teeth at night, which contributes to the pain.  Sedatives like clonazepam can relax you and relax your muscles so you sleep with less pain and less clenching.
  • Muscle Relaxers. Sometimes the problem with TMJ pain is that the muscles have gone into spasm around the joint.  Muscle relaxers can take down the muscle spasm so that the pain is relieved.  They can be used regularly or on occasion when the pain flares up.

Non-Drug Treatments for TMJ

There are things your doctor or dentist can recommend that will relieve the pain without having to use medications.  These include the following:

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can recommend ultrasound treatments to the joint as well as the use of ice and moist heat application to relieve the inflammation in the joint.  Exercises can be recommended that stretch the muscles and tendons, as well as to make your jaw muscles stronger.
  • Oral splints. There are devices you can wear that fit over the teeth to keep the teeth from grinding together. You can wear these devices at night or at other times when teeth clenching is a problem.  Oral splints can help keep the teeth in alignment so that you don’t have excess pressure put on the joint.
  • TENS treatment for TMJ. TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, works by overriding the pain signals coming from the inflamed TMJ area so that the pain is less noticeable. Read more about using a TENS unit at home here.
  • You can see a therapist or counselor in order to try and identify the emotional factors that play into getting TMJ pain.  You can learn not to bite your fingernails, lean your chin on your hands, or clench your teeth.  You can learn relaxation techniques that will help you subconsciously relax your muscles, improving your perception of pain.

Surgery for TMJ Pain

When non-surgical treatments aren’t helpful, the doctor or dentist may recommend one of the following surgical procedures:

  • Corticosteroid injections. Steroid injections directed at the joint itself can relieve inflammation and improve the pain you are experiencing in your face. One or both temporomandibular joints can be injected with corticosteroids.  In less common circumstances, Botox can be injected into the muscles of the jaw, helping the muscles relax so the pain can go away.
  • This involves inserting a needle into the TMJ and injecting fluid into the joint. The joint is therefore irrigated in order to remove inflammatory proteins and debris from within the joint.
  • TMJ Surgery. If there is a structural problem with the TMJ, you may need to have surgery.  Surgery can trim cartilage from inside the TMJ that might be interfering with the function of the joint.  Doctors can also put in an artificial joint to replace one that is too damaged to be repaired.

Home Remedies for TMJ Pain

There are things you can do at home that can relieve your pain without having to see the doctor or dentist.  You can learn to become aware of those things that contribute to tension and jaw strain, such as chewing on the tips of pens, grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw under stress.  You can try these tips:

  • Don’t use your jaw muscles too much. Some things you can do instead are to cut your food into pieces that don’t require you to open wide to eat them. You can eat foods that are soft to chew and avoid foods that require a lot of chewing.
  • Massage of your face. You can be taught ways to take the tension out of your face through self-massage. This can be done at night before you go to bed to stretch the muscles and tendons, making it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Application of hot or cold packs. You can make your own ice packs or moist heat packs and apply them to the side of your face to ease the tension in your jaw and relieve muscle spasm.

Treatment of TMJ Pain can be done an many ways, what`s your go to TMJ treatment? Feel free to share below.

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