If the jaw joints are particularly tender, these exercises can be
assisted by giving preliminary warmth. Place a protected hot
water bottle first on one joint, then the other, for 5 minutes on
each side before commencing the exercise.
Reflex Opening Exercises
This exercise is designed to produce a reflex relaxation of the
jaw muscles so temporarily decreasing the load transmitted to
the jaw joint.
Place the hand under the point of the chin and open the mouth
until the teeth are just apart. Maintain firm opening pressure
against hand resistance and hold the position for a period of 30 -
40 seconds or until the jaw opening muscles feel tired. When
this point is reached, remove the hand from under the chin and
swallow quickly in order to relax the jaw.
Immediately following this, place a finger of each hand just in
front of the ear to support the jaw joint and allow the jaw to open
smoothly and widely, avoiding any swing to the right or left.
Remove fingers from each side and close the mouth to complete
This manoeuvre should be repeated 5 - 6 times at a sitting and
the series repeated two or three times a day, depending on the
severity of the symptoms. It is useful to carry out the exercise at
periods when the jaw is particularly painful, for example, after
Lateral Opening Exercise
This exercise is designed to increase mobility of the joints where
jaw opening is restricted. It is only to be used when there is
significant limitation of normal opening.
Support first of all the left jaw joint with the two fingers of the left
hand placed just in front of the left ear and place the right hand
against the side of the right jaw. Move the point of the jaw
towards the right side against the resistance of the right hand,
maintaining support with the fingers of the left hand over the left
jaw joint. When maximum movement to the side has been
achieved, ease the jaw slowly back into the central position. The
exercise should be repeated on the opposite side, reversing the
These exercises are only prescribed for painful jaw joint
dysfunction. This is not a disease. It is caused by
uncoordinated movement and temporary overload with
associated muscle spasm and will in most cases get better with
simple exercises such as these.
|Last Updated 3rd December 2013