TMJ insurance coverage can be a headache.
Not all companies will cover it as it's a blurred line between medical and dental (and even cosmetic).
Many of us, therefore, look for home remedies and inexpensive treatment alternatives.
We'll share some of these with you in just a moment.
But first, did you know that according to the most recent figures, between 6% and 12% of the adult population in the United States has symptoms of TMJ on a regular basis?
This amounts to more than 10 million people, losing a total of more than 17.8 million workdays each year due to the disabling pain and insomnia that accompanies TMJ.
When we use the term "TMJ," we're referring to the temporomandibular joint.
It's located where a person's mandible articulates with the rest of their skull.
A person with TMJ may experience a lurking, debilitating pain when they open their mouths to chew food, speak, or even yawn.
Treating TMJ can be tricky because many factors can trigger the pain.
Simple actions like chewing too much food at one time or yawning too loudly can aggravate the inflammation and cause discomfort.
Living with TMJ can be challenging because of the limitations it imposes on a person's daily routine. It impacts the mandible's typical range of motion, which can result in pain from even the smallest movements.
Fortunately, there are ways for people living with TMJ to treat the symptoms without invasive procedures or prescription medications.
In most cases, you don't even need insurance to treat TMJ.
In fact, there are dozens of home remedies available for those with TMJ symptoms to relieve the pain and help individuals feel more comfortable when they eat, yawn, and sleep.
These remedies often involve natural substances shown to reduce inflammation or essential oils that promote stress management and relaxation.
So, let's look at 10 effective remedies to treat TMJ without insurance, and the best ways to use them for maximum results:
- Stop stressing
- Get better sleep
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods
- Exercise more
- Use a hot or cold compress
- Apply lavender oil
- Use CBD oil
- Take over-the-counter pain relief
- Eat a soft food diet
- Apply magnesium oil
Remedy #1: Stop stressing!
Studies show that stress and TMJ share a common link.
It's a fact that stress can cause muscle contractions in the TMJ region, causing tension and over time, creating pain.
For this reason, doctors agree that reducing stress and promoting relaxation are important ways to manage TMJ symptoms.
In fact, for many individuals, reducing stress is the single most effective way 2 relieve TMJ pain.
Unfortunately, stress relief isn't as straightforward as some of the other remedies on this list.
It requires ongoing dedication and daily relaxation practices like meditating, deep breathing, exercising, or stretching.
According to the TMJ Association, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy are among the most effective relaxation techniques for TMJ patients.
By establishing a consistent, ongoing relaxation routine, those living with TMJ can reduce the tension in the muscles that surround their jaw and over time, alleviate their symptoms.
Remedy #2: Get more sleep
Getting more sleep ties in with stress relief to alleviate TMJ pain.
Sleeping more when a person lives with TMJ can be a catch 22 situation - the TMJ pain makes it more challenging to fall asleep (or can be exacerbated during sleep), but the person needs more sleep if they want to manage their symptoms and find relief.
By maximizing their stressed relief routine, an individual can improve their quality of sleep and minimize the amount of time they spend lying in bed awake.
Figuring out how to sleep with TMJ is one of the first steps an individual should take toward relief.
If a person cannot sleep regularly, any other remedies they used to treat their TMJ will be less effective.
We recommend [using a mouthguard](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3760352/"> to stop any jaw grinding, as well as relax the lips and keep the teeth apart throughout the night.
Using natural supplements like melatonin can also be an effective way to improve sleep and drift off more quickly.
Melatonin offers the added benefit of mental and physical relaxation, which can reduce tension in the TMJ region and minimize pain before bed.
Remedy #3: Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
When a person's jaw becomes inflamed, it can worsen their TMJ symptoms.
Inflammation can happen for many reasons, but a person's diet plays a major role on the ways their body reacts to certain stressors.
If a person eats a diet high in inflammatory foods, it may worsen their chronic pain - including pain associated with TMJ.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the most effective ways to minimize TMJ pain, especially one that prioritizes easy-to-chew meals.
Reducing inflammation can heal swelling and slow joint deterioration, overall improving the symptoms of TMJ.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods is important, but it's equally vital to avoid foods that worsen joint inflammation.
Some foods cause the body to undergo added stress and cause blood sugar swings, worsening inflammation and causing more pain.
These foods (include but are not limited to):
- Food/drinks containing caffeine
- Refined grains (white bread, white rice, etc.)
- Foods with added sugars
Those living with TMJ symptoms may consider the following dietary editions too he told the information in their joints and reduce the pain they feel from their condition:
- Foods with a high omega-3 content
- Foods high in collagen protein, known to rebuild tissue and cartilage
- Foods with a high concentration of electrolytes, like fruits and vegetables
- Anti-inflammatory teas and herbs, like turmeric, green tea, and raw garlic
Remedy #4: Exercise
Exercising is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
It balances your blood sugar, helps you sleep better, and lowers inflammation throughout your body.
By exercising at least 30 to 60 minutes each day, a person living with TMJ can greatly impact their symptoms and find long-lasting pain relief.
Alongside general exercise, targeted stretches can be another great way to minimize pain associated with TMJ.
By using targeted exercises that take the pressure off of the individual's haw, a person can achieve fast-acting relief without spending money or using prescription drugs.
However, the best way to master TMJ exercises is to speak with a doctor or a physical therapist 1st to learn which motions are the most beneficial.
A doctor or physical therapist can walk an individual through the best TMJ exercises according to their individual case, which they can practice at home thereafter.
Most TMJ exercises are designed to Increase a person's range of motion in their jaw and their jaw mobility.
In doing so, they help the muscles stretch as necessary so they can function more adequately without becoming inflamed and causing pain.
Remedy #5: Use a hot or cold compress
As mentioned above, most of the pain that results from TMJ comes from inflammation, swelling, or muscle tension.
As with other injuries and chronic conditions caused by these factors, using a hot or cold compress can provide fast-acting relief for TMJ pain.
Using hot and cold therapies are proven ways to minimize musculoskeletal pain.
A hot compress will improve circulation in the area, minimizing swelling and promoting healing, while a cold compress will numb the area, reduce inflammation, and ultimately provide pain relief.
Applying a hot or cold compress is one of the easiest home remedies for TMJ - start by heating or cooling the compress, applying it to the jaw, holding it there for 5 to 10 minutes and repeating as necessary.
Some TMJ patients will apply a hot or cold compress 2 to 3 times daily for maximum relief.
Remedy #6: Apply some lavender oil
In the past few years, essential oils have grown wildly popular for their many reported benefits and ease of use.
Like dozens of other chronic symptoms, TMJ can be greatly improved when patients use the right essential oils to manage their pain.
Lavender oil is a popular TMJ home remedy.
It's an anti-inflammatory oil, offering many of the same benefits as consuming an anti-inflammatory diet.
To use lavender oil as a TMJ treatment, a person should add 1 to 2 drops of the substance to a carrier oil like grapeseed or olive oil.
Once added, the individual should mix the oils well and apply to the affected area. After 20 to 30 minutes, the person should rinse the mixture off with water to avoid any irritation it can cause if it dries naturally.
Breathing the relaxing, pleasant smell of lavender oil is another great way to treat TMJ pain.
Inhaling lavenders aroma through an oil diffuser can promote stress relief and relaxation, resulting in reduced muscle tension an improved TMJ symptoms.
Remedy #7: Treat the area with CBD oil (cannabinol)
Depending on where a person lives, cannabinol (CBD) can be a safe, effective way to treat TMJ pain.
CBD is a cannabis-derived natural remedy legal in most parts of the United States.
It doesn't offer a psychoactive "high" like the types of cannabis people smoke for recreation, instead creating a subtle, relaxing effect that won't disrupt a person's daily activities.
Those living where CBD is legal may find it to be one of the most effective natural remedies for treating TMJ pain.
Using CBD oil is as simple as applying one or 2 drops to the affected area and allowing it to be absorbed into the skin.
In general, CBD is safe and may be used one or 2 times daily for relief.
However, CBD is currently undergoing studies to determine its long-term safety and effectiveness, so it's important for a person to talk to their doctor about using it before trying it on their own.
Remedy #8: Use over the counter pain relievers
As mentioned above, TMJ pain is largely due to inflammation in the affected area.
If natural remedies like lavender oil and cold compresses aren't working to relieve the pain, a person may consider over the counter medicines like ibuprofen to manage their pain.
These general classes of pain killers have an anti-inflammatory effect that can work wonders on a person's TMJ symptoms.
However, these remedies have a handful of side effects user should be aware of and some doctors may not recommend patients use them for an ongoing, a long-term basis.
That being said, over the counter medicines can be an excellent way to get fast-acting relief for TMJ pain when other solutions fall short.
Remedy #9: Eat a soft food diet
We mentioned above the eating a soft diet may be necessary for some individuals with TMJ pain.
Eating a soft diet regardless of the pain level can improve the symptoms over time.
Chewing foods that are crunchy, hard, or require excessive effort to breakdown can lead to added pain and inflammation in the TMJ area.
By eating soft foods like soups, smoothies, an ice cream, a person can minimize the impact chewing has on their TMJ region and over time, improve their symptoms.
It's also important to avoid foods like apples, corn on the cob, crunchy whole fruits, cereals, and more.
With the right dietary changes, a person can minimize or nearly eliminate their TMJ pain.
Remedy #10: Apply some magnesium oil
We absolutely cannot recommend magnesium oil enough.
All you have to do is take some 100% pure magnesium oil and massage into the TMJ and surrounding muscles.
It's a natural muscle relaxant and we've had tremendous success with it.
The brand we use is PURE Magnesium Spray.
Using it will help relax your jaw.
Also try to have magnesium baths (here are some excellent bath salts for it) which help your entire body to relax.
TMJ home remedies can offset the need for insurance
Each year, TMJ affects more than 10 million people in the United States alone.
As such, it's important for these individuals to find a TMJ home remedy that offer consistent pain relief and long-term benefits.
Try the home remedies above.
You can make a tremendous progress with your TMJ symptoms, minimize (or end) its pain, improve your sleep, and reduce the impact it has on your daily life.
Crucially - you can stop stressing about your insurance coverage.