We have worked with hypermobile clients for a very long time, and in that time, we have seen a lot of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD). Whilst TMJD is fairly common in the general population, it is far more prevalent in those with hypermobility, especially in hypermobile women. Many of our clients have, in the past, suffered from their jaws clicking, popping, andbeing incredibly painful, and in some instances even dislocating.
These clients all seem to have tried the same generic exercises to help alleviate their jaw pain. However, these generic exercises don’t seem to have much of a positive effect for those with hypermobility. Whilst they may help those in the general population, hypermobility jaw treatment needs to be approached differently if you want to gain results.
We wanted to use this article to show you some of the exercises we recommend for TMJ for those with hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. As always, these are designed with hypermobility in mind and are all trialled and tested, having brought some great results over the years.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction?
TMJD is a condition that affects the mechanics of the Temporomandibular Joint(TMJ). For those with hypermobility, it means that the TMJ has an excessive or early forward glide due to tissue laxity. The hypermobile population tend to have trouble connecting to tissues and body parts, and this can cause an issue for the jaw as it moves in ways it’s not meant to. Many people with hypermobility have little control over their jaw, which means that every chew, spoken word, and opening of the mouth, can irritate the TMJ causing temporalis tendinitis. And often they focus on stretching, rather than movement.
Over time TMJD can lead to:
- Sleep disturbances
- Pain around your jaw, ear and temple
- Clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
- A headache around your temples
- Difficulty opening your mouth fully
- Your jaw locking when you open your mouth
Because of the lack of control over the TMJ itself, many of the generic exercises out there are unlikely to help.
Hypermobile TMJD Exercises
One of the main areas of focus when looking to treat your TMJD is to learn to decompress the Jaw. Many people are unaware that the only time your teeth should touch is when you are eating. All other times your teeth should not be touching. If you are reading this and have suddenly realised that your teeth are indeed touching, or most likely clenched, then the TMJD exercise video below is for you.
Because of the lack of control over the TMJ itself, many of the generic exercises out there are unlikely to help those with both TMJD and hypermobility. However, we propose a change in how you are approaching your TMJD treatment.
Where to start:
- Learn to decompress the jaw
- Learn to control the jaw whilst decompressed
- Learn to strengthen and connect to the Pterygoid muscles
- Learn to adjust your resting jaw position
Rather than writing out how to work on the 4 areas above, we have recorded a Hypermobility TMJD exercise video for you, which will be far easier to follow than pictures and words.
Please let us know how you get on with the exercises, and good luck!
— The Fibro Guy Team —
Have you checked out our hypermobility resource page?