If the jaw joints are particularly tender, these exercises can
be assisted by giving preliminary warmth. Place a
protected hot water bottle first on one joint, then the other,
for 5 minutes on each side before commencing the exercise.
Reflex Opening Exercises
This exercise is designed to produce a reflex relaxation of
the jaw muscles so temporarily decreasing the load
transmitted to the jaw joint.
Place the hand under the point of the chin and open the
mouth until the teeth are just apart. Maintain firm opening
pressure against hand resistance and hold the position for a
period of 30 - 40 seconds or until the jaw opening muscles
feel tired. When this point is reached, remove the hand
from under the chin and swallow quickly in order to relax the
Immediately following this, place a finger of each hand just
in front of the ear to support the jaw joint and allow the jaw
to open smoothly and widely, avoiding any swing to the right
or left. Remove fingers from each side and close the mouth
to complete the exercise.
This manoeuvre should be repeated 5 - 6 times at a sitting
and the series repeated two or three times a day,
depending on the severity of the symptoms. It is useful to
carry out the exercise at periods when the jaw is particularly
painful, for example, after meals.
Lateral Opening Exercise
This exercise is designed to increase mobility of the joints
where jaw opening is restricted. It is only to be used when
there is significant limitation of normal opening.
Support first of all the left jaw joint with the two fingers of
the left hand placed just in front of the left ear and place the
right hand against the side of the right jaw. Move the point
of the jaw towards the right side against the resistance of
the right hand, maintaining support with the fingers of the
left hand over the left jaw joint. When maximum movement
to the side has been achieved, ease the jaw slowly back
into the central position. The exercise should be repeated
on the opposite side, reversing the above movements.
These exercises are only prescribed for painful jaw joint
dysfunction. This is not a disease. It is caused by
uncoordinated movement and temporary overload with
associated muscle spasm and will in most cases get better
with simple exercises such as these.
|Last Updated 11th August 2010