Yoga Stretches and Massage Techniques to Relieve Jaw Tension
Does jaw pain have you all locked up? Do you have frequent headaches, neck aches, or tension in your shoulders? If so, you may suffer from TMJ disorders like so many Americans. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints, the joints that link your lower jaw to your skull. People hold stress and anxiety in these joints, and over time, this stress can manifest as pain in the body. With certain yoga poses, we can provide relief and vitality to the TMJ and lessen associated pain. Here are several yoga poses we recommend for TMJ disorders.
- Child’s Pose: Child’s pose is the great relaxer. You can practice this with knees wide or together, either way you’ll enjoy a sweet release of the jaw towards the earth. Support the head and torso and you will also experience relief from any neck pain associated with TMJ disorders.
Practice all of these poses with slow, deep breathing. Fully exhale, releasing all the air from your lungs, and then fully inhale, bringing fresh energy into the body.
- Supported Fish Pose: This pose helps lengthen and relax the jaw muscles. As described by Yoga Journal, the backbend aspect of the pose can be challenging. Make this pose more passive and restorative by rolling up a blanket and resting it under your back for support. Yoga props such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks help support your body so your muscles, ligaments, and joints can fully relax.
- Bridge Pose: This gentle backbend is great for relaxing your overworked jaw, and it also reduces stress, lessens anxiety, improves digestion, and stimulates the thyroid. Use a block under your hips to find even more release in this pose. Keep the back of your neck long and make more space.
- Lion Pose: If you’ve practiced lion pose in class, you may have felt silly roaring and sticking out your tongue. Let go of your inhibitions and enjoy the deep release this pose offers to your entire face.
A yoga studio with quality teachers can really help your journey to alignment and jaw relief. Find a yoga class near you that focuses on proper alignment and relaxation. An intense power class may not reduce tension in your jaw, but a slow restorative class should help your muscles relax and release. Tell your instructor that you have jaw pain before your class, and during class a good instructor will give you more in-depth tips as you practice.
Yoga can significantly help your posture, which will also reduce your neck and jaw pain. With consistent yoga, you’ll learn how to stand with your bones stacked up on top of each other. Your head, when you’re standing or sitting, should be directly on top of your shoulders. Tuck your chin in slightly and feel the back of your neck lengthen. Bring awareness to your posture and work to improve it.
Dr. Michael Stosich has extensive training and practice treating patients with TMJ disorders. With a TMJ consultation, we can determine if your jaw pain is a symptom of misaligned teeth or jaws. We alleviate TMJ pain by properly aligning the jaw and teeth, bringing your bite into perfect harmony. Sometimes TMJ pain is exacerbated by tooth grinding. In these cases we can provide a custom mouthguard to wear at night. The mouthguard will prevent you from being able to grind your teeth in your sleep. No matter the cause of your TMJ pain, there is hope to alleviate your pain.
If you suffer from TMJ pain and want a consultation, contact us today.