Jaw trauma and injury is common and often resolves with time and rest. Compared to injuries in other joints, it is almost impossible to completely rest the jaw, but you need to give the injured tissue time to cycle through the natural stages of the healing process. Just like it hurts to keep walking on a twisted ankle, it hurts to keep using a sprained jaw joint.
Instead of reaching for a crutch for your jaw, try these tips to give your jaw a chance to recover.
- Keep your jaw in neutral posture: place tongue on roof of mouth, teeth apart, lips together and breathe through your nose
- Maintain good neck posture: the jaw and neck are critically dependent on each other
- Try both heat packs and cold packs
- Trial both anti-inflammatories and analgesics (e.g. panadol). Do not exceed the guidelines on the packet and consult your GP if you are unsure whether it is right for you.
- Avoid Stressful situations! Do whatever works for you to relax.
- Cut food into small pieces to avoid opening your jaw past 20 mm
- Try to chew evenly on both sides of your mouth (within reason)
- Eat hard and chewy foods, choose soft foods like pasta or fish. You don’t have to eat soup!
- Tear food with your front teeth e.g crusty bread rolls
- Chew gum, pens or ice, no biting nails
By modifying your lifestyle and eating habits in accordance with these 10 simple guidelines, you should be able to avoid the jaw movements that cause your pain to persist.
If your jaw is not getting better with these exercises, you may need to consult an experienced Craniofacial Physiotherapists at The Headache, Neck & Jaw Clinic who excel at expediting your recovery to have you pain free and eating all the good stuff again.