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The first 6 TMJ exercises you should start with to improve your Jaw pain

Painfree jaw

Here are some general exercises that focus on counteracting some of the reasons why people get jaw dysfunction in the first place. They were proposed by one of the most well known therapists in the TMJ community named Mariano Rocabado. We call these the Rocabado 6x6. These can be performed daily and should not give you any lasting discomfort afterwards. If your condition is a little more complex or symptoms have worsened to higher degree then more specialized care maybe needed to free you from pain, but these are still good to start with today. Jaw Exercises for TMJ Pain:

Controlled Breathing

Controlled Breathing in Open pack position

This is a way to become aware of tension that you could be placing on your jaw subconsciously. It helps you to know what it feels like to let go of that tension and relax it. If you do not give your muscles a chance to rest and recover the muscles will get weaker and more sore instead of adapting to strain and getting stronger.

Here's How:

  1. Place tip of tongue on the roof of the mouth

  2. Mouth slightly open and relaxed

  3. Breathe in through the nose out through mouth

  4. Focus on relaxing the jaw

  5. Perform for 5-10 min a day


Controlled Opening

Controlled Opening

This exercise will help you start to retrain your muscles in to opening and closing in straight position while trying to eliminate any deviations or deflections your jaw might do.

Here's How:

  1. Tip of tongue on roof of mouth

  2. Align middle of top teeth with middle of bottom teeth or with frenulum if teeth are not straight.

  3. Open mouth slowly correcting movement away from center.

  4. Fingers can feel for movement toward a side when it deviates.

  5. Stop when tongue begins to leave roof of mouth.

  6. Close mouth slowly doing the same procedure

  7. Do 15 times


Rhythmic Stabilization

Mandibular Isometrics

This exercise will help you to start training the muscles involved in mastication. The better endurance they have the less likely they are to spasm and cause bigger issues.

Here's How:

  1. Tip of tongue on roof of mouth

  2. Mouth slightly open and lined up

  3. Perform isometric contraction (equal pressure jaw pushing in to hand and hand in to jaw as shown) for 5-10 sec 5 times on both sides

  4. Can push hard enough to work your muscles without causing lasting discomfort.


Upper Cervical Extensor Stretch

Upper cervical Stretch

There is high correlation with forward head posture, rounded shoulder, jaw pain, and headaches. This will help with the forward head posture.

Heres How:

  1. Hands behind the neck and stabilize neck right under base of skull as shown.

  2. Slight nod of the head down without moving head forward

  3. Hold 15 sec and do 3 times a day

  4. Also, try to fix posture when eating or sitting throughout the day.


Cervical Retraction

Cervical Retraction

Strong deep neck flexors are a key part in improving headaches, jaw pain, neck pain and more.

Here's How:

  1. Retract the head backwards, similar to motion you did in the previous exercise.

  2. Hold position as shown for 5 seconds do 15 times.


Scapular Retraction

Scapular Retraction

Another postural re-education exercise

Here's How:

  1. Sit up tall

  2. Pull shoulder blades straight back and a little down

  3. Hold 15 sec and do 10 times daily


If you would like to know more about particular dysfunctions of the jaw or interventions specific to these dysfunctions click here

If you need professional assistance by a licensed physical therapist in West Michigan click below. If you are outside the service area, cost will be subject to additional travel costs. Virtual Evaluations are also available for your convenience. Free Virtual Consultations are also offered to direct your to what is a best course of action

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