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A man doing Jaw exercises for TMJ pain relief

Simple Jaw Exercises for TMJ Relief

TMJ pain can interfere with normal jaw activities such as talking, chewing, and swallowing. Getting medical treatment for your TMJ pain is very important for long-term fix. However, you might be in a situation where you need immediate help. Dr. Khalifeh recommend several easy jaw exercises that could help relief your TMJ pain right away. These best and simple jaw exercises are designed to strengthen, stretch, and relax your jaw.

1. Jaw Stretching Exercises for TMJ

Jaw exercises is an important part of TMJ treatment. Most TMJ symptoms may improve by using the right jaw exercises, instructions explained bellow.

N-Stretch Jaw Exercises

  1. Place tip of your tongue up against the roof of your mouth (in the N-position).
  2. Stretch the jaw open in a straight line without dropping the tongue (about
    2 inches).
  3. Hold for 6 seconds.
  4. Do not touch teeth when closing.

Repeat this exercise 6 times. This should be done 6 times per day (approximately every 2 hours). (6 seconds X 6 repetitions X 6 times per day). The figure shows the tongue tip is kept in contact with the roof of the mouth during the stretch.

Passive Opening Stretching Jaw Exercises

When performing this stretching jaw exercises some patients need to add a small force to the lower teeth to assist them with the N- stretch exercises.

  1. Put the index finger on the lower teeth and thumb against the upper teeth.
  2. Pry the Jaw apart slightly.
  3. Hold for 6 seconds.
  4. Do not touch teeth when closing.
  5. Repeat this exercise 6 times. This should be done 6 times per day (approximately every 2 hours). (6 seconds X 6 repetitions X 6 times per day).

Resisted Jaw Opening Exercise 

  1. Place your thumb under the chin.
  2. Gently open your jaw slowly against the thumb.  
  3. Keep your jaw open for 20-30 seconds then slowly close it.

Resisted Jaw Closing Exercise

  1. Place your thumb under your chin.
  2. Then place your index finger from the same hand between your chin and lower lip.
  3. Gently push down as you close your jaw.

Hinge Jaw Exercises

  1. Open and close your jaw for about 6 seconds with minimum opening (less then 15 mm).
  2. Do not touch teeth when closing.

    Repeat this exercise 6 times. This should be done 6 times per day (approximately every 2 hours).
    (6 seconds X 6 repetitions X 6 times per day).

Hinge Jaw Exercises for TMJ pain relief
Hinge jaw Exercises movement for TMJ pain relief

2. Jaw Relaxation Exercises for TMJ 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1.  Find a comfortable seat (do not cross your legs).
  2. Relax your shoulders (slightly sloped but even).
  3. Keep your head straight up and place your hands on your stomach.
  4. If it feels comfortable, close your eyes.
  5. Breathe in through your nose, feel hands move out.
  6. Breathe out twice as long through pursed lips, feel hands move in.
  7. Perform 10 breaths.
  8. Repeat hourly.

Relaxation Exercise

  1. Choose a quiet comfortable environment.
  2. Lie down, close your eyes and relax.
  3. Concentrate on, and then relax, a specific body part moving from peripheral areas (hands and feet) to more central areas (abdomen, chest, and face).
  4. Perform at least once a day to become proficient at relaxing your muscles.

3. Self Programming for TMJ 

When you are ready to go to sleep:

  1. Lay on your back and practice breathing for 5 minutes, while keeping lips relaxed and teeth slightly apart.
  2. Say aloud 6 times: “I will not clench my teeth”, while picturing yourself sleeping with your mouth relaxed.
  3. Start off sleeping on your back. Don’t worry if you move.

Dr. Mohammad Khalifeh, DDS, MS. Is board-certified Orofacial Pain and TMJ specialist. He is a Diplomate American Board of Orofacial Pain. Above all, Dr. Khalifeh is TMD and Orofacial Pain Board Certified doctor. Additionally, for over 25 years, Dr. Khalifeh is helping patients with TMJ and jaw pain in Los Angeles, Miracle Mile, Park La Brea, Beverly Hills, Larchmont Village, Hollywood, Santa Monica, California, and the rest of the word.

Our address: SAG-AFTRA Plaza, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #5, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone: (323) 933-3855


Disclaimer: The information and resources contained on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any medical and/or mental health disease or condition. The use of this website does not imply nor establish any type of provider-client relationship. Furthermore, the information obtained from this site should not be considered a substitute for a thorough medical and/or mental health evaluation by an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional. Commercial supporters are not involved in the content development or editorial process.

This protocol adopted from the USC Orofacial Pain Program.


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