Facial exercise causing TMJ pain


Facial exercise causing TMJ pain




I have recently been doing facial exercises; causing TMJ pain.

It's suppose to tighten muscles and therefore help lift sagging skin etc. Great for anti-aging. I do not open my mouth wider than in everyday situations for these or clench my teeth.

However after the first few sessions, I started to get headaches, then it felt like tooth pain and sometimes shifted sides or it was both. I have had TMD for years, but never really had any issues with it except the odd time(over chewing or dental work). So I thought maybe there was a problem with my teeth. But the dentist confirmed that that was not the case. So I followed up with my GP and he didn't really see anything and said that it was probably my TMD. I then modified the facial exercises that I was doing and eliminated the ones that I thought would be the triggers. It seemed to have helped and most of the pain subsided.

However, yesterday I added in a new set and I have been in pain ever since. Ringing in the ears, feeling that my jaw is too heavy to hold up and general discomfort with the odd shooting or tingling pain. Again, I plan to modify, but am wondering if I strengthen the facial muscles wouldn't this be beneficial to TMD? Or am I causing more problems by working any of the facial muscles? I just don't want to hurt my jaw and feel like this again.

Your opinion would be very much appreciated.

Hello Calico,
Frankly a bit of an imponderable; and I've never heard of facial exercises. I suppose it a bit facetious to suggest rather try smiling a lot more!

You obviously associate this with your jaw rather than something quite separate, and the tinnitis would confirm it.

Do the exercises involve wriggling the jaw from side to side? That often provokes things in the TMJ.

The best option would be to stop these exercises for a few weeks, spend the time doing lower back exercises, probably more important in my opinion, and hope these symptoms go away. If they do, then start them again without moving the jaw.

If not, then start our TMJ exercises, but very gently; they too may provoke more symptoms.

Poke your index finger from the opposite side into the ptergoid pocked, pulp facing outwards and see if it's painful.

Perhaps we just end up coming back to the old adage that if banging your head on the wall hurts, you know what to do. With all the talking, swallowing and chewing we do, the TMJ muscles probably gets more than enough exercise and I don't believe they become wrinkled!

Dr B



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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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