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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