Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a chronic condition that affects the jaw. It is caused by the joint being out of balance, often leading to pain, difficulty chewing, fatigue, stress, and overall irritability. For TMJ patients, paddle boarding can not just provide a reprieve from their symptoms, but also improve their overall health and mental well-being. The Deschutes River in Oregon offers an ideal setting for this activity, providing a serene environment to better oneself both physically and mentally. Here’s why paddle boarding on the Deschutes is an ideal choice for TMJ patients.

All Around Workout

Paddle boarding is a great full body workout, as it tones the arm and leg muscles while increasing balance and core strength. The Deschutes River is a perfect location to experience paddle boarding, as the peaceful waters offer a calming, relaxing environment to engage in physical activity. Paddling through the river is a great form of low-impact exercise, which is essential for TMJ patients. The gentle waves and slow current makes for an ambiance that encourages relaxation, while the perpetual movement of paddling will stimulate muscles and help to develop strength.

Mental and Kick-back Benefits

The Deschutes River provides an excellent opportunity to paddle boarding, as the surrounding environment is peaceful, offering an escape from everyday noise and hustle. Whether it’s focusing on the scenery of the riverbanks or getting a sense of accomplishment as you paddle through flat waters, the experience can be therapeutic. The relief and relaxation that comes from paddle boarding can help TMJ patients destress and take their minds off their discomfort. The repeated movements are also known to have a calming effect as they ease tension and help to release the stress held within the body.

Improved Sleep

The combination of being outside and engaging in a physical activity can lead to better sleep patterns. Improved sleep is helpful for TMJ patients, as it can lessen the temperature and fatigue associated with the condition. Paddle boarders can use the experience as a late afternoon or early evening activity, as physically exerting the muscles can help users wind down from the day, increasing the likelihood of a full night’s sleep.

Ultimate Balance

TMJ affects much more than just the jaw. It extends to include the neck, back, and muscle groups that extend throughout the body. Paddle boarding is an excellent way to help with overall balance, while toning and strengthening core muscles. The Deschutes River is an ideal location for practicing balance exercises as it offers relatively calms waters, helping to avoid dangerous situations. Most paddle boards weight around 20-50 pounds, depending on the style, which will help users develop strength as they balance on top of the board.

Increased Confidence

Learning a new skill is excellent for mental health, as it demonstrates the potential of growth and success. Paddle boarding on the Deschutes River offers this sense of accomplishment, as users learn to navigate and balance on the board. Patients with TMJ can also witness an increase in self-esteem as they realize they are capable of partaking in physical activity without experiencing significant discomfort. The overall benefits of paddle boarding, such as improved balance and fitness levels, can also increase self-confidence in the long-run.

Prepare for Your Deschutes Adventure

For those who have never paddle boarded before, it’s important to prepare and understand the required equipment. Firstly, a paddle board, paddle, and leash are the required tools needed to practice on the Deschutes River. As far as clothing, it is best to wear comfortable, lightweight athletic clothing and a life jacket for safety. Depending on the season, users may also consider wearing sunscreen and a hat to protect their skin from the sun’s rays. Google also provides a streamlined list of all the necessary paddleboarding gear for those who are unsure.


Paddle boarding on the Deschutes offers a plethora of benefits for patients with TMJ. It provides an all-around workout, in addition to an ideal setting for mental relaxation. Improved sleep, balance, and confidence levels are also the result of partaking in the adventurous activity. Overall, the Deschutes River provides an ideal environment for those with TMJ to experience paddle boarding, as the gentle waters and secluded ambiance makes for the perfect backdrop for a unique, all-encompassing experience.