Thumbnail image featuring '3 Solutions for TMJ Pain', visually summarizing key methods for alleviating temporomandibular joint discomfort.

3 Solutions for TMJ pain

TMJ pain or jaw pain is a big issue for so many young adults, and it’ not just pain, but also changes the face shape, so let’s talk about it. First of all, what is TMJ? Temporomandibular joint. And if you having tension and a lot of pain in the joints, probably it is relatively asymmetrical as well, because asymmetrical face and this TMJ pain are co-related. 

There are multiple exercises or massages to ease the situation, but if you don't fix the root cause, you have to keep massaging for the rest of your life, which is not realistic. So let me introduce how we can minimize the condition by fixing the root causes.

#1: Face Posture® TLT: Tongue Up, Lip Seal & Teeth Apart

In my opinion, this is the most important thing. Face Posture® means like right now, your face is probably resting, not doing anything, unless you are eating or yawning or something moving.That is what we call “Resting Face Posture®”. Keeping the facial muscles in a good condition is important because your face is resting more than 23 hours per day, every single day. So if you are causing a lot of tension in the masseter muscles for example like my face when I was 31 years old, you can see the bigger face due to the masseters.

Before and after images showcasing the results of the 'Tongue Up, Lip Seal & Teeth Apart' technique, illustrating its impact on facial structure and alignment

In our anatomy, there are 2 colors: Blue and Red. Blue muscles are sleeping muscles that you want to activate to lift up the skin.Red are overworking muscles that you want to relax to prevent tension, saggy skin, or wrinkles. For example, forehead (Frontalis) tends to move up, eyebrow (Corrugator) tends to move inward to frown, nose (Levator Labii Superioris Alaeque Nasi) tends to move up to squint, and the side cheek (Masseter) tends to move out and slightly downward. You can see that Masseter is darker red, compared to the other reds, which means they are stronger, harder overworking muscles. Identifying the differences between blue and red, and trying to control them for the better in our resting face posture is the most important thing for Koko Face Yoga.

“T” of TLT: Tongue Posture®

For better resting face, the most important thing is Mewing Tongue Posture®. If you don’t know what Mewing is, please check our new Mewing 101 video. Our classic, the most popular Mewing 101 original version is listed on Rumble, instead of Youtube. Our original Youtube was banned due to unknown reasons unfortunately. We suspect my tongue was considered sexual content.

“L” of TLT: Lip Seal

Keep your mouth closed, seal the lips so you breathe from the nose. Nasal breathing has countless health and beauty benefits. 

“T” of TLT: Teeth Apart

Whenever your face is resting, are your upper teeth and lower teeth slightly touching? 

They should NOT be touching.

They should have a tiny space or gap between the upper and lower teeth whenever your face is resting. The gap is as small as 1, 2, 3mm. Otherwise, the light touch accumulates unnecessary tension over time. This concept is related to Mewing Tongue Posture®. Imagine that the tongue is up and flat on the palate to slightly lift up the upper teeth, instead of dropping the bottom teem down. You don't want to drop the bottom down to create space. That would cause unnecessary chin tension. Are you able to keep a tiny space between the teeth with correct Tongue Posture®? Aside from biting, your teeth should NOT be touching at all. The habit to keep the teeth touched is called TCH, Teeth Contact Habit, scientifically proven that it may be a cause of jaw pain as below 2 studies.

Study “Teeth contacting habit as a contributing factor to chronic pain in patients with temporomandibular disorders” by Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Study “Bruxism Unconscious Oral Habit in Everyday Life” by The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje.

Are you able to even swallow without touching? This would be another episode, but even when you drink, the teeth should NOT be touching.  One tip to keep the gap between the teeth is good body posture. Try to keep the space in bad body posture on purpose. And, do the same in good body posture. Do you feel the difference? Isn’t it easier to keep the gap when you are in good body posture? Keep your head above your butt, and keep the space.

I have heard a chiropractor says the space can be as high as 3cm (more than a inch), I respectfully disagree. When it is too long gap, it forces the chin down, which cause another unnecessary tension in the chin. I have also heard other medical professionals say molars (back teeth) should be lightly touching aka “Butterfly Bite” to stabilize the jaw or whatever reasons. But again, I respectfully disagree as I learn from many medical professionals including dentists, dermatologists, chiropractors, etc. In my opinion the latest theory that majority of medical professionals believe is teeth apart is good. If you cannot rest peacefully without teeth contact due to your bone position reasons, that might be a different story though.

#2: 50 50 Chewing 

Are you chewing on both cheeks and chewing at the same time? 50% of the food is on the right, and the other 50% on the left. Daily facial habits are probably the cause of your jaw pain, so it does make sense to improve them. One of the big movements as facial functions is eating. As whenever right and left exist, either one is dominant. That is human nature. So, when you chew foods, we tend to chew on the dominant side more than the other.

This dominant chewing habit causes an asymmetrical face, which leads to jaw pain, because the cartridge on the dominant joint will become thinner (feels more pain), and the position of the both joints and cartridges become off. Another major reason for jaw pain is the body's asymmetry. In fact, body asymmetry causes facial asymmetry, so it is important to try to have a symmetrical body. If you have a balanced body, you won’t have asymmetrical face or TMJ pain.

I don’t much talk about body asymmetry, just because I’m not expert in the field. There are many body experts who are specialized in body asymmetry, and I’m just not one of them. So please note that body asymmetry is so important for jaw pain too. So, in addition to body symmetry, it is important to chew on the both cheeks at the same time.

AT THE SAME TIME

I notice that very often that people misunderstand chewing on the right 5 times and then moving to the left 5 times, and alternating. That is NOT what I mean by “at the same time”. What I mean by “at the same time” is chewing and moving the both cheeks at the same, because the 50% of the food is on the right and the other 50 is on the left.

If you are more concerned about asymmetrical face or TMJ pain, you can also be conscious about the tongue movement while chewing. The tip of the tongue should be stroking in the middle of the palate every chewing, otherwise the tongue tends to go to the dominant side. For most people, the right jaw is dominant. It's like that many people’s right hand is dominant. I am right handed and my left jaw is dominant. So this is a minor case. The hand dominance has nothing to do with jaw dominance.

#3: Buccal massage

This is a treatment that you can do easily at home. Although this is not fixing the root cause, it helps fix the root cause. Massage the masseter muscles from inside of the mouth. Insert the thumb in the mouth and hold the skin with the index finger. Massage the inside by wiggling the thumb. Try to move the inside, not outside for a minute or more. If buccal massage is hard because you have to wash your hands often, you can from the outside too. Masseters are located inside, so it’d be more effective to do from inside, but massaging from outside works to reduce the tension there too. This outside massage is not lymphatic drainage, but it should hard enough to break the muscles rocks. Be careful not to stretch the skin though.

Summary

#1: Face Posture® TLT: Tongue Up, Lip Seal & Teeth Apart

#2: 50 50 Chewing 

#3: Buccal massage

In some case, none of them might work for you. If so, you want to go to see a doctor. We did another video with Dr. Afzali about medical procedure for TMJ pain, so check the video out. 

Fun Fact: White people have more pain than Asian, because white people faces grow longer with age and Asian faces grow wider in general, and longer faces tend to have weaker temporomandibular joins. So, even if the 2 races have the same level of the pressure, white people feel more pain. I’m afraid but I don't know the other races, but I learned this from my mentor, Dr. Satsuma, Dentist and Facial Chiropractor.

That is why these tips above are even more important for white people. Hope any of the practices work for you.

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