If you are suffering from muscle tension or stress that contributes to jaw clenching, jaw pain, teeth grinding, and, ultimately, TMJ, you may wonder whether yoga can help you overcome this problem to relieve your pain and other symptoms.
Yogis recommend many different types of poses and exercises as an alternative therapy for TMJ, but at this point there is no good evidence of its effectiveness.
Some Recommended Yoga Techniques for TMJ
Because of the role of stress in TMJ for many people, it’s popular for yogis to recommend relaxation exercises for TMJ. Meditation is popular. If you tend to stress at work, try making time for meditation either at work or before work. If you tend to clench your teeth at night, try meditation before bed.
Another recommended pose is the popular downward facing dog, which advocates say can bring blood and lymph down to the jaw joints and muscles. Also recommended is to alternate the downward and upward facing dog postures to encourage circulation.
Also try sitting down with your arms outstretched ahead of you at shoulder level. Bring your hands back to you and place them on top of the opposite elbows. Then, slowly, deliberately, forcefully, extend your arms to their full length again. Hold your arms out while maintaining pressure in your elbows and shoulders for up to three minutes.
You can also try a novel tongue exercise to help loosen up the jaw. In this exercise, you relax your jaw with your teeth slightly parted. Then you run your tongue along the outside of the teeth starting at one end of the arch and going to the other, essentially cleaning your teeth with your tongue. Do this clockwise for three minutes on one arch, then go counterclockwise for three minutes. Then switch arches.
No Evidence of Effectiveness
However, at this point we should note that there are really no studies looking at the clinical impact of yoga on TMJ. It’s something that you can try as part of your home care routine for TMJ, which is really a reasonable place to start. If you experience good results, then great. If not, perhaps you should seek professional care.