Relieve Your TMJ Pain with Clinical Somatics

What is TMJ pain?

The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull, and they are two of the most complicated joints in the human body. They can open and close the jaw like a hinge, and allow the jaw to slide from side to side and forward and backward.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is most often caused by dysfunctional muscular patterns and chronic muscle tension. The dysfunctional patterns and muscle tension causing the jaw pain is generally not limited to the jaw. Many people with TMJ pain have habitual patterns of muscular tension and pain in their neck, shoulders, chest, back and abdominals as well.

What is causing or contributing to your TMJ pain?

As you go through your daily life, try to notice what could be causing or exacerbating your temporomandibular joint pain:

  • Stress, which often causes us to tighten our facial and jaw muscles and clench or grind our teeth, is one of the main causes of TMJ pain. Identify sources of stress and do your best to eliminate or reduce them. When you feel stressed, notice your physical reaction. Are you tightening the muscles in your jaw, face and upper body? Are you clenching or grinding your teeth? Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and try to release that physical tension.
  • Did your TMJ pain begin after an injury? If so, notice if your posture or movement has changed due to the injury. Notice if the injury has caused you to hold tension in your upper body, jaw and facial muscles. Clinical Somatics exercises will allow you to release that chronic tension and retrain your posture and movement.
  • Do you habitually pop or crack your jaw? If so, you need to stop this habit immediately. Popping and cracking your jaw will cause your pain to continue, no matter how diligently you practice Clinical Somatics exercises or pursue any treatment. Whenever you get the urge to pop or crack your jaw, I recommend doing one of the slow, gentle Somatics jaw exercises instead.

Addressing the Underlying Cause of TMJ Pain

In order to get lasting relief from TMJ pain, you need to work with your nervous system to retrain your muscular patterns and release your chronically tight muscles. You must engage in an active learning process consisting of slow, conscious movements.

Clinical Somatic Education uses extremely slow, focused movements to train the nervous system to release the learned muscular contraction that is causing or exacerbating your pain. By retraining your muscular patterns and releasing chronic tension, reducing your stress, and discontinuing habits such as popping and cracking your jaw, you can eliminate your TMJ pain and prevent it from returning.

To learn more about Clinical Somatic Education and how it works, click here.