8 TMJ Relief Exercises That Won’t Look Weird At All

8 TMJ Relief Exercises That Won’t Look Weird At All Chiropractor in Palm Bay, FL

The temporomandibular joints may not get a lot of attention from us, but they may be the most used joints in our body. The TMJ connects the jaw to the skull and it comes to life whenever we talk, chew, swallow, smile, or sing along to Kelly Clarkson on our way to work. Or so I’ve heard. This joint is the one we wish Karen from Accounts Receivable didn’t have, if you catch my drift.


As a chiropractor for TMJ, I’ve seen how injury and pain to this often overlooked joint can be devastating to my patients’ quality of life. Symptoms like…

  • Pain while chewing
  • Pain in the ear, face, jaw, and neck
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Lockjaw
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain

…may not sound life-threatening, but they interfere with things we do every day that make life worth living. One of the best natural remedies for TMJ disorders is target exercises that work to:

  • Strengthen jaw muscles
  • Stretch the jaw
  • Relax the jaw
  • Increase jaw mobility
  • Reduce jaw clicking
  • Promote jaw healing

These TMJ relief exercises are super simple and can be done literally anywhere.


I’m doing my exercises!

Chin Tucks

Keeping the shoulders back and the chest up, pull the chin straight back to create the infamous “double chin”. Hold this attractive position for three seconds and then release. This exercise is best to do out of sight of bystanders.

Goldfish Exercise

I have a friend from high school choir class who we always made fun of because when he sang he made a bass face. He’d be really good at this exercise. Hi Josh!


With the tongue on the roof of the mouth, put one finger on the chin and another on the problematic TMJ area. Drop the lower jaw halfway and then close it. There should be some mild resistance, but there shouldn’t be any pain.

There’s a variation of this exercise where the jaw drops completely. We’ve got to keep it interesting. One set of this exercise can have six reps and it can be done six times throughout the day.

Resisted Mouth Opening

This is an exercise I do whenever someone asks me if I want the rest of their fries.

With the thumb under the chin, slowly open the mouth pushing gently against the chin for resistance. Hold the resistance for three to six seconds and then slowly close the mouth.

This exercise can be done in reverse, using resistance when closing the mouth – I do it every time I see a root vegetable. This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles that help us chew.

Tongue Up

Put the tongue on the roof of the mouth. Slowly open and close the mouth.


Yep, truly no excuse not to do it.

Pen in the Mouth

With an old JellyRoll pen or a Bic that’s out of ink, place a pen “corn on the cob” style in the mouth. Slowly move the jaw from side to side, holding for 10 seconds on each side. As one masters this exercise feel free to advance from a pen to a marker.

This exercise is not exclusive to pens. Tongue depressors or popsicle sticks will work as well. Popsicle sticks sound like the most fun.

Face Massage

Who doesn’t love a face massage?


I stand corrected. A self-face massage, or better yet a face massage by literally anyone else, is a great way to relieve TMJ pain and treat yo’ self.

Start by applying a warm washcloth or heating pad to the face. Once warm, gently massage the jaw in slow, circular movements. No need to rush, especially if someone else is doing the massaging. Move up and down the jawline, reapplying heat for more comfort when necessary.

Open Wide

Start by opening the mouth as wide as comfortably possible. With a hand, apply light pressure on the side of the mouth with the TMJ pain. The jaw should move sideways a bit. Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side. This exercise stretches the jaw joint and relieves tension.

Tongue Acrobatics

Open the mouth as wide as possible. Place the tongue on the roof of the mouth, with the tip of the young back towards the tonsils. Move the tongue back and feel around with the tip of the tongue for a soft spot on the roof of the mouth. Find that spot and apply pressure with the tongue for five seconds. Then stick the tongue out as far as possible and hold for five seconds. Repeat this 5 times. It should look something like this:


When doing these exercises, start slowly. They should be done in the most relaxed state possible. Doing them with tense muscles will defeat the purpose.

These exercises are a great natural solution for TMJ pain relief, but they will not be a long-term solution. Pain is merely our body alerting us to an issue. Whenever we’re experiencing pain our goal should be to figure out the underlying cause and correct that. Once it’s corrected, the dysfunction will cease as will the pain. Covering up pain with over-the-counter painkillers, gross, will only be a temporary fix. Consulting a musculoskeletal and nervous system expert, ahem, is the best medicine for TMJ pain.


Our chiropractic care will get to the bottom of the issue – whether it’s muscle-related, arthritic in nature, or a specific joint injury. By correcting subluxations we can restore function to the joints and muscles, and allow the nervous system to communicate and regulate effectively. Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors. Chewing, yawning, and karaoke shouldn’t cause pain, they should just cause other people pain as they’re forced to listen to it.

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