Ever wondered how to relax your jaw?
When you feel stressed, anxious or just generally on edge, your face tends to carry that tension.
So it’s no wonder that so many of us struggle with a stiff, tight jaw.
But rest assured, there are some quick ways to relax your jaw that require just a few minutes per day. And the beauty of this is that you don’t really need any special equipment or fancy workouts to get going.
In fact, all you really need is a mirror, consistency and time to begin quickly relaxing your jaw.
So below I’ve included a list of my favourite techniques, that you can try at home for yourself…
Table of Contents
How To Relax Your Jaw In 5 Minutes Or Less…
Here’s a few exercises you can try at home to relax your jaw and reduce the tension in your face.
To make the most of these exercises, simply practice them daily for a few minutes at a time.
Whilst it might be tempting to over-practice these techniques at first, it’s important to just remain consistent and not over do it.
Overstretching your jaw could lead to more tension, so take it easy and gradually work your way up to more repetitions once you’ve got the hang of these exercises.
The TMJ Healing Plan For Jaw Pain may also help you – it gives you a step by step plan for finding and eliminating the causes of jaw pain.
Try to smile as wide as you can, giving your jaw a good stretch whilst you do it.
Obviously don’t cause yourself any pain or uncomfortable feelings when you’re trying this!
Breathe in through your mouth and exhale slowly through your mouth. Try this position for 5 times daily, and then gradually increase this to 10 if you can manage it.
So how will this help you?
Basically, this will relax and loosen your jaw. But the benefits don’t just stop there…
Practicing a wide smile in-front of the mirror will help you because:
- It’s a quick way to relax your jaw
- Smiling can trick your brain into boosting your mood
- Smiling can relieve stress and tension from your whole body
- Some studies have linked smiling to pain relief
- Smiling loosens up your facial and jaw muscles
Fun Fact: If you smile, others smile! Science has proven smiles to be contagious!
2. The Jaw Relaxation Movement
Try opening and closing your mouth, stretching your jaw and warming up your facial muscles.
This one takes a bit of practice, so start slow and gradually move up to 10 repetitions per day.
There are also products like the Jawzrsize Jaw Exerciser that actually help you ease jaw pain and work the muscles in your jaw.
Another way to relieve tension in your jaw is through massaging your jaw.
And whilst a professional could do it for you, you can try this yourself too!
If you want to learn more, check out the video below:
4. Head Movement
Rub your hands together to warm them up. Then place both hands on either side of your head.
This works because your jaw muscles stretch all the way up to the top of your head.
Simply take a deep inhalation in, and slide those warm hands all the way down your face. Practice this slowly, and focus on massaging your muscles all the way down your face.
Yoga is a holistic approach to reducing tension and stress, not just from your jaw but your whole body as well.
So here’s a quick way to relax your jaw with yoga:
1. Sit down on lay down – you can use a chair, your bed for the floor for this
2. Take your hands and put the side of your neck, either side of your throat
3. Bend your fingers and apply pressure to the sides of your neck, going up and down your throat muscles all the way from the bottom of your neck up to your ears
4. Keep going for 1-2 minutes
Whilst you’re practicing this exercise, don’t be afraid to go deep into the muscles – as long as you feel comfortable.
As you follow this exercise, you should feel the tension and stress melt away, as you massage your neck muscles and gently relax.
When you’ve practiced this exercise a few times, you’ll discover that massaging certain areas feels better than others.
So when you find the perfect spot, focus on it.
Tip: Did you know that science has proven yoga to be highly therapeutic, relaxing and can even improve the quality of your life?
Check out this study to find out more.
6. Change Your Diet
Diet has a tremendous impact on the way we feel, including our stress levels.
If our stress levels our high, we tend to feel more tension all over our body, including our jaw, face and eyes.
Not just that but certain foods work our jaw muscles more than others, creating more tension and even cramps in our jaw as the lactic acid builds up.
Depending on how bad your jaw tension is, you might want to consider really cutting down on the foods that require excessive chewing.
Try to avoid foods like:
- Chewing gum
- Beef jerky
Because these foods require a whole lot of chewing!
And if you’re still struggling, try cutting your foods into smaller, more easily digestible pieces to reduce the strain your jaw feels whilst eating.
You might find softer foods much more comfortable too, so try out:
- Soft fruits like grapes
- Recipes for mashes like mashed potatoes or squash
- Fish (baked salmon is a nutritious soft dish)
The great thing is, all of the above foods are healthy and delicious, so you don’t need to worry about having a boring diet.
Yes, you might have to make a few dietary sacrifices along the way but your health should always come first.
“Eating a healthy diet can reduce the negative effects of stress on your body.”
All too often, we look to medicines and supplements as the best way to heal our bodies.
But high quality sleep is one of the best ways to heal ourselves.
And if you look at the deeper underlying causes of jaw tension, you can see why…
It’s basically caused by:
- High stress levels
- A lack of sleep
Basically, if you’re feeling jaw tension, it’s often a sign that you’re not properly in sync with your body.
In fact, high cortisol levels are usually caused by working too much and sleeping too little.
So how you can improve your sleep?
- Switch off all electronics 1 hour before you go to sleep
- Establish regular, consistent sleeping times so that you’re body is in sync with your lifestyle
- Avoid blue light or add a blue light filter to your phone and laptop
- Use your bedroom as a ‘sleep only zone’, and avoid working or any strenuous activities in there
- Make sure you sleep 8 hours a night
- Go to sleep earlier – your body naturally feels more energised if you fall asleep before 12am
Fact: 15-20% of people diagnosed with insomnia will develop major depression.
8. Use A Mouth Guard
Quite often, jaw tension happens when we grind our teeth at night…
This is known as Bruxism, and it’s more common than you think.
Apparently 8% of us grind our teeth at night.
But how can we stop doing something that happens when we’re totally unconscious?
Quite often, dentists recommend wearing a mouthguard at night to stop teeth grinding.
Some of the mouthguards you can find on Amazon even have a DIY moulding mechanism, where you can combine your mouth guard with heat to mould it to your mouth.
Whereas if you went to a dentist they’d typically charge $200 or more for a personalised custom mouth guard.
But at what point should you start using a mouth guard? And how do you know if your jaw tension is serious enough to use one?
Here’s a few tips:
- Have you ever chipped a tooth in your sleep?
- Do you ever wake up with a headache?
- Does your partner tell you they can hear you grinding your teeth at night?
These are all warning signs that you may need a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
Obviously, it’s not the sexiest bedroom item!
But if it helps you prevent headaches, chipped teeth and constant jaw tension, then it’s definitely worth the effort.
9. Avoid Caffeine
This is another healthy and quick way to relieve jaw pain that you might not already know about…
Caffeine, in the wrong quantities, is scientifically proven to increase stressand tension in your body, whilst disrupting your natural sleep patterns.
So it might be worth cutting out caffeine for a while, as you experiment with options for relieving tension from your jaw.
If you’re a keen coffee drinker, it’s better to gradually reduce your caffeine intake as your body gets used to it.
That way you’ll reduce your withdrawal symptoms.
Caffeine is a surprisingly common ingredient, included in coffee, coca cola, tea, chocolate and some popular powdered drinks, so be careful!
10. Hot Or Cold Press
Hot and cold presses can be very effective for managing muscle tension and relaxing your muscles.
So simply grab a towel, wet it under the tap and either wrap it with ice (if you want a cold press) or put it in the microwave for a minute (for a hot press).
Then apply it gently to your jaw muscles, 3-4 times per day.
Apply for several minutes and you should notice a relief in pain.
Or if you’re looking to heat your towel for longer, simply wrap it up in a heated hot water bottle.
One of the most popular hot/cold presses for jaw pain is the LotFancy Reusable Hot or Cold Gel-Pack.
Tip: I’ve used this technique not just for jaw tension but also for knee pain and other sports injuries. It’s a great hack for natural pain and tension relief!
11. Causes Of Jaw Discomfort
If you really want to permanently reduce the tension in your jaw, you need to look at the deeper underlying causes of your tension.
So why is it that we feel like we’re clenching our jaws really tight?
…Or to the point that we just feel tense and stiff on our face?
Here’s a few causes of a tight jaw:
- Stress and anxiety: Whether it’s your job, your career or your family, stress is one of the biggest causes for jaw tension. Our bodies react strangely to too much stress – and jaw tension is a very common symptom.
- Teeth clenching and grinding at night (usually whilst you sleep)
- Too much chewing (chewing gum is a big cause here)
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- A recent knock to the jaw, causing bruising and tension for a few days
- Toothache and gum disease – causing damage to your actual jawbone
- Joint pains and arthritis
So if you want to relieve jaw tension, try to think about prevention – not cure.
Because there’s such a broad range of causes for jaw tension, it’s always best to consult your doctor first before you start worrying about what the root cause might be.
Googling your symptoms might be tempting, but there’s so much misleading information out there that you should consult the help of a trained medical professional too.
If you’re proactive and solve the root causes of jaw tension, you’ll save a lot of time and pain trying to relieve it later down the line.
Fact: Did you know that 1 in 8 people suffer from TMJ?
12. Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation is something we all need more of in our lives.
And if you’re looking for quick ways to relax your jaw, you should definitely grab a handful and try them out for yourself.
I actually created this mega guide to relaxation techniques that I think you’ll find extremely useful.
So what sort of relaxation techniques would I personally recommend?
Here’s a few to choose from:
Meditation & Mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness is just so empowering for your mind, body and soul. Highly recommended!
Yogic Relaxation: Yogic relaxation is a quick way to relax your whole body, including your jaw. Practice it daily and you will see a huge difference.
Practice Gratitude: Sometimes we have the world at our feet, and we don’t even realise it! Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to start relieving stress and enjoying the abundance we already have!
When you set time aside to relax, your body rewards you by producing endorphins.
These ‘feel good’ hormones make you feel relaxed, both spiritually and physically. Plus endorphins can even relieve pain and tension from your body.
How To Relax Your Jaw FAQs
How do I stop clenching my jaw?
If you want to stop clenching your jaw (also known as Bruxism) and avoid grinding your teeth at night, here’s some quick tips:
- Use a night guard for your teeth
- Reduce stress and tension by doing exercise
- Take a warm, relaxing bath before bed
- Gently massage your face
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid chewing gum
Why do I have tension in my jaw?
A tight, tense jaw can have several causes including:
- Stress and anxiety
- Chewing too much, especially on chewing gum
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which can damage your jaw and create tension
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – this can damage your joints and although it’s fairly unusual, it can also affect your jaw
- Tetanus can also cause lockjaw – causing tension and stress in your jaw
How can I relax my jaw and face?
If you’re wondering how to relax your jaw, check out 12 easy tips above including:
- Jaw Relaxation Movements
- Gently massaging yourself
- Practicing head movements and stretches
- Yoga stretches for your jaw
- Improve your diet and reduce foods that require heavy chewing
- Get plenty of high quality sleep
- Wear a mouth guard at night
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can cause inflammation
- Use a hot/cold press on your face
- Analyse the root causes of your tension and change your habits so that you can avoid these causes
- Practice relaxation techniques (see our list above)
Why are my jaw muscles so tight?
One of the biggest reasons for muscle tension is stress or anxiety. Sometimes people tend to grind their teeth or clench their jaws under stressful situations. Such involuntary and subconscious actions over prolonged time cause jaw muscles to tighten up. Other medical reasons could include gum disease, tetanus, toothache, etc.
What helps jaw pain from clenching teeth?
In order to avoid clenching teeth, it is important to treat the root cause of jaw pain. Some measure includes:
– Applying ice to jaw muscles that are sore
– Avoid chewing gum
– Drink an adequate amount of water daily
– Massaging muscles around shoulders, neck, and face
How can I relax my jaw at night?
Follow some of these measures to relax jaw at night:
– Try to relax and let go of all negative emotions before bed
– Use a mouthguard
– When falling asleep, be aware of clenching your teeth and try to relax
– Taking a lukewarm bath before going to bed
Is TMJ serious?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is not a serious muscular disorder. It is basically the restricted movement of the mandibular and some noises coming from the temporomandibular joints. It is not a deadly disorder; however, it can have a negative impact on the quality of life. This is mainly because of unmanageable pain.
Does TMJ go away?
As TMJ is not a permanent problem, it can go away. Proper treatment and regular checkups can help cure TMJ. In some cases, it might be difficult to cure TMJ completely; however, the pain can be controlled. Some simple treatments include pain relief medications, following stress-relieving practices, jaw-resting, etc.
Do mouth guards really help TMJ?
A mouth guard used during the night can really help cure or control the pain caused due to TMJ. The function of the mouth guard is to realign your jaw during sleep, thereby releasing tension from the jaws. These guards help to keep your teeth separated and thus preventing clenching of teeth.
Useful Resources For Relaxing Your Jaw
Finally, I thought I’d list some more useful resources you may want to check out if you’re struggling with jaw tension.
If you want to relax your jaw, you need to relax your whole body and relieve your underlying stress.
And that’s exactly how these resources will help you.
So here goes:
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