Self Care For TMD
Professional treatment for TMD will help give you relief from the pain and other annoying symptoms that keep you from enjoying your daily life. While undergoing treatment, there are also things you can do for yourself to complement your therapy and help create an even more successful outcome.
Watch What You Eat
Eating is one of the main triggers of TMD pain, so it’s important to avoid foods that, when chewed, inflame your jaw joint further. Choose foods that are soft, instead, like eggs and oatmeal for breakfast or soups and pasta for lunch and dinner. There’s no need to sacrifice a healthy diet — planning ahead will help you achieve a well balanced diet that does not aggravate your TMD symptoms.
If your meal does consist of particularly crunchy or chewy foods like vegetables and meats, cut them up into small pieces so they are easier to chew. Opt for ground beef, chicken and pork instead of whole pieces.
Ice & Heat
For immediate relief, using a combination of ice and heat can diminish pain. While the ice reduces swelling and pain, the heat helps relax the muscles around your jaw joint and increase blood flow to the area. For severe pain, apply a cold pack to the jaw joint area for 10–20 minutes, but make sure it is wrapped in thin cloth. When the pain is not as bad but still present, apply a moist, warm towel to the area for 10 to 20 minutes, as well.
To stay ahead of the pain, managing stress, practicing good posture and exercising regularly can help keep your muscles relaxed and take strain off your jaw, face, neck and shoulders. Before you begin any new exercise, though, please consult your TMD doctor.
At TMD & Sleep Apnea Clinic of Poulsbo, WA, we help treat patients with TMD and sleep disorders so they can get back to enjoying their lives pain free. Please call our office at 360-979-1537 for more information.
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