Issues with TMJ (temporomandibular Joint)

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dcrofton
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:34 am
Location: Toronto

Issues with TMJ (temporomandibular Joint)

Post by dcrofton »

Hi Bernie,

Before I ask my question I want to say thank you for all the books, information and research you provide to the yin yoga community. I was in your teacher training in May 2017 and I use your books and my training manual extensively. I also refer to this forum when I am faced with a student questions I cannot answer and it has been so helpful. I really do appreciate all of this.

Recently I've had three students ask me questions in reference to the jaw. One student has TMJ which can cause discomfort and pain. She finds the yin classes help her to relax more which helps her jaw, but was asking if there are any specific yin poses that will help. I've read a bit about pelvic health and the jaw and how physiologically they are connected. Is it as simple as doing hip openers or poses for your pelvic area to relax the jaw? Or, are there other things they can do?

I've also had two other students ask me about ways to relax their jaw...some wear a mouth guard at night because they grind their teeth and others just know they tend to clench their jaw throughout the day and would like to find ways to relax their jaw. I saw a post in 2011 on your forum about grinding teeth which was helpful, I was wondering if there are other additional findings or information since then.

Thanks again for all your help...

Denise
Bernie
Posts: 1205
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Denise. It is nice to hear from you.

When you say that a student has TMJ: that is not a problem-we all have two temporomandibular joints. It is basically where our jaw bone joins the skull. I assume what your students are talking about is some sort of problem at that joint. If there is persistant pain, they should see their doctors for sure. If there is a structural problem, a doctor (or dentist) would check to see if there is noise coming from there during movement, improper movements such as reduced range of motion, or any tenderness/pain in the area.

One cause of problem can be tension, thus any yoga or meditation that relaxes the student can help. Yin Yoga does that a lot, so maybe that is why your student is seeing some relief. I don't know of any asanas that can help with this directly, but yoga overall should be good. (Some teachers believe the area can be decompressed with hanging inversions, like Down Dog.) Some physical therapists do work with clients to strength the jaw muscles.

I would suggest following standard relaxation cues: work with the breath and with each exhalation, feel the tension flowing away. Relaxing the jaw while sitting tall and calm. Mindfulness during the day to notice tension and letting it go. During any Yin Yoga posture, you can remind them to “relax your jaw, soften your lips...,

Good luck!
Bernie
Funkyclassyfun
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 11:20 pm

TMJ

Post by Funkyclassyfun »

Denise,
Not sure how your student is doing. But I would like to offer the following as it relates to my personal experience with TMJ and relief. (as reference see bottom paragraph for background)

I have been practicing yoga for about 18 moths and have suffered from TMJ since I was a late teen, over 20 years now. My next step to resolve/assist it was Botox injections, but 5 weeks after starting my Yoga practice the spasms stopped. In my opinion my practice was the ingredient that changed this.

I have seen a 90% improvement, I still have 1- some sensitivity to my jaw staying open for prolonged periods, 2-you can still feel it when your hands are on the joint and you hear a suction like sound, 3- in some positons during yoga I can feel the pinch/strain (so I adjust). But all of this is just a feeling, not searing pain. Over the course of the last 20 years, I have become more active and diet has changed. I have always been slim and my weight in the last 10 years has stayed been +/- 5 lbs. Stress has been on a fluctuating curve as well. The big change was yoga.

Background. My TMJ started as a locked jaw, i.e. My jaw would only open about an 1 inch for about 10 months. After it unlocked I suffered TMJ on both sides, however, always more extensive in my left side. I could not keep my mouth open for extended dentist visits, without expiring severe pain in the jaw joint. Additionally, at times I would yawn and it would feel like the disk would lodge (left side only), causing searing pain, (breaking my arm hurt less), at first it would only last a 1-2 minutes then would slide back in, but over the years the time elapsed continued to increase and my last attack lasted 6 hours. After the attack, I always experienced what I call the hangover, sore jaw, leading down the side of my neck and always a wild headache, hours or the day after with increased tiredness.
Bernie
Posts: 1205
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Thanks, Funky, for sharing your insights (or, as we say in this part of the world, your yinsights)!
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