The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most complex joints in the body and can cause a range of symptoms if not managed effectively. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include pain, stiffness, and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joints, headaches, earaches, and tooth aches. The good news is that there are a number of effective ways to manage TMJ pain and improve overall jaw function.

Practice Good Jaw Health

Practicing good jaw health is the first step toward managing TMJ pain. This means avoiding habits that cause strain on the jaw joints, including teeth grinding, clenching, chewing gum, eating crunchy or hard foods, and playing instruments that require repetitive jaw movements. It’s also important to maintain good posture, practice relaxation techniques to relieve stress, and get regular exercise.

Exercises to Strengthen and Stretch the Jaw

Exercises can help to strengthen and stretch the muscles that support the jaw. Examples of exercises that can be done to improve jaw function include passive range of motion exercises, resisted range of motion exercises, and stretching exercises. Performing these exercises regularly can help to improve jaw strength, mobility, and flexibility, and can help to relieve symptoms of TMJ pain.

Use Local Therapies to Relieve Pain

In addition to exercises, local therapies can be used to manage TMJ pain. Some examples of local therapies include heat or cold packs, massage, TENS, acupuncture, and ultrasound. Applying heat or cold packs to the jaw can help to reduce muscle tension, while massage, TENS, and acupuncture can help to improve circulation and provide pain relief. Ultrasound can also be used to improve circulation and reduce muscle tension.

Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Eating a diet that is rich in nutrients can help to improve overall jaw health. Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, good fats, and plenty of water can help to improve jaw muscle function and reduce inflammation. It is also important to avoid trigger foods and drinks that can aggravate TMJ pain, such as caffeine, alcohol, highly processed foods, and foods that are high in sugar and sodium.

Sleep in a Comfortable Position

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for overall jaw health. It is important to sleep in a comfortable position that doesn’t put too much strain on the jaw joints. Sleeping on the back with a pillow under the head can help to keep the neck and jaw in alignment. It can also be helpful to use a special pillow or mattress that provides additional support and cushioning for the neck and jaw.

Visit a Dentist or TMJ Specialist

If you are experiencing persistent TMJ pain, it is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendation. A dentist or TMJ specialist can assess the jaw and provide individualized treatment recommendations. This may include medications, mouthguards, dental work, or more intensive therapies. If left untreated, TMJ pain can become chronic and lead to more severe symptoms, so it is important to seek professional evaluation.


Successfully managing TMJ pain requires a holistic approach that includes exercise, diet, sleep, and local therapies. Practicing good jaw health, performing jaw exercises, using local therapies, eating a nutrient-dense diet, and visiting a dentist or TMJ specialist are all important strategies for managing TMJ pain and improving overall jaw function. By incorporating these best practices into your daily routine, you can help to alleviate symptoms and improve TMJ health.