TMJ is a very complex condition with several symptoms and implications on the body. Although our series of exercises for TMJ are not yet ready for public consumption, I would like to give you a sneak peak with this one exercise, assuming your TMJ is a muscle-related issue.
Standing in front of a mirror, imagine (or draw if you would like) four dots on your face – one on your nose, one on the center of your upper lip, one on the center of your lower lip and one in the cleft of your chin to create a line. See if these dots stay in a straight line or if they diverge as you open and close my jaw. Some of you might notice an S pattern or an even more complex pattern. The more difficult it is to track that imaginary straight dotted line, the more work you have ahead of you to rebuild control of your jaw muscles.
For my chronic jaw issue patients, I often recommend they see a chiropractor who is well-versed in adjusting jaws first. If your jaw is grossly displaced no amount of work will make it feel better and will often aggravate the situation. Not all chiropractors are familiar with the jaw so call ahead and find a chiropractor with some expertise setting the jaw. Once you know the jaw is not grossly displaced, you can return back to the mirror.
Lower your jaw straight down in a line to fully open your mouth. While your mouth is open, purposefully shift your jaw left on a horizontal plane, bring it back to center and stop. Then shift it right on a horizontal plane, bring it back to center and stop. Close your mouth, trying to have the cleft of your chin follow the straight line to your nose until your teeth lightly touch. Rinse and repeat until you’ve mastered it. This one exercise alone can help you understand your jaw’s dysfunction a little bit better and start to begin to relax it. Good luck!