The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the most complex joint in the body. If something’s amiss, treatment must be followed. On long term, TMJ problems may cause irreparable damage. Luckily, you can improve most of the pain and mobility by using essential oils for TMJ pain, stiffness, etc.
Read on to find out more about:
- Some of the best aromatic oils to use for TMJ and TMD (temporomandibular disorders) in general. Plus details on why they are the best. Get some therapeutic blend recipes to soothe the symptoms right away too.
- How to use these oils for the best and safest results.
- The importance of a massage in TMJ problems and how to perform a correct one. In doing so, you can relieve most of the pain and improve the mobility of the muscles.
- More about the causes and symptoms of TMJ and TMD. Plus, some great tips to get relief and improve the symptoms a.s.a.p.
Did You Know?
- Your temporomandibular joint performs between 2000 and 3000 moves a day! Double if you chew gum.
Best Essential Oils for TMJ Pain, with Pros and Cons, and Recipes
Because the joint is so very complex, the temporomandibular disorders are also varied. Most of the times, some of them are also very hard to treat.
Medical data shows that it is more efficient to treat the symptoms. Massaging the jaw muscles and exerting the mandibular joint can improve mobility and ease pain.
TMJ problems happen when the joint of the jaw is damaged. That or when the articulations are not properly aligned. Thus, both jaws become off balance and start causing trouble when opening the mouth.
In other words, the TMJ that connects the jaw to the skull becomes inflamed and tight.
Oftentimes, people who suffer from fibromyalgia, suffer from TMJ too.
Why Use Essential Oils for TMJ?
It’s a good question that has a simple answer. Essential oils are completely natural remedies. They represent the best of a plant’s ability to heal and protect itself from sun and danger.
A plant can also maintain itself nourished and hydrated. It can do so through a series of active oil molecules stored in tiny glands.
When steam distilled, these oil molecules are collected. When people use these plant essences, they are highly active and work on everything they touch. Of course, if used in high amounts, they can become toxic too.
But essential oils are considered a rather safe complementary therapy. When used in moderate amounts, they have very few side effects. It is always recommended to test an oil for allergic reactions on a small skin area.
Using essential oils for TMJ can soothe its symptoms. They have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and sedative effects. They can stimulate the blood circulation, which also eases pain and relaxes muscles.
Next, I will give you the pros and cons about 3 of the best essential oils for TMJ pain and other symptoms. Pick which one you like or have at hand.
But make sure you are clear to use it. Do some more research or ask a doctor if you’re not sure about certain things. You should make sure they don’t interact with other drugs you’re taking.
Or that you’re not allergic to their chemical constituents. People with asthma, seizures and other medical conditions should pay special attention to the use of TMJ essential oils.
Babies, toddlers, pregnant and nursing women are another category that needs to use essential oils with care.
1) Peppermint Essential Oil
When it comes to TMJ and essential oils, Peppermint makes it to the top. It is a very popular and pleasant aromatic oil to use. The oil has been intensely studied by scientists so far.
But the plant and its primitive extracts have been used by people for hundreds of years. Look for Mentha piperita for the following benefits for TMJ or other TMD.
- The oil of Peppermint can relax the muscle spasms, and it can also make it smoother. This makes the essential oil great for jaw pain.
- It can effectively treat headaches and tension, which is what we need when dealing with TMJ symptoms. Peppermint essential oil is great for stiff neck or sore neck.
- Peppermint has significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
- When applied to the skin, it has a cooling effect. This effect stimulates the blood circulation, which also improves TMJ symptoms.
- Peppermint can be toxic and cause significant side effects only if used in large amounts.
- It has a high content in menthol. Thus, Peppermint should not be used by people with seizures or asthma.
Why I like it:
Peppermint tea and Peppermint essential oil can both help with digestion. On top of that, the oil is also useful at relieving muscle pain and stiffness. It also smells very refreshing and nice. If you have it in your home, the oil can soothe most TMD problems.
2) Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
This is one very soothing and unique essential oil. With its Latin name – Origanum majorana – you’d almost think it’s only meant for cooking. But it has very good sedative and calming effects, relaxing the muscles and the nervous system.
- Marjoram can kill a wide range of bacteria. This makes its antibacterial properties admirable.
- It also has an effective vascular muscle relaxation effect. It helps in lowering the blood pressure.
- The oil of Marjoram can sedate the aching temporomandibular joint and relieve a stiff neck too.
- Marjoram essential oil for TMJ pain and stiffness should not be used by people with asthma or epilepsy.
- The Latin name may be confusing when you deal with oils for the first time. Sweet Marjoram is often mistaken for Oregano oil. They’re both Origanum, the first is majorana and the latter is compactum. They are both different oils with different properties!
Why I like it:
I like the smell of Sweet Marjoram. It is very relaxing and uplifting, especially if mixed with other appropriate essential oils. Massage your TMJ daily with Marjoram to get the relief you need. It’s safer than taking all sorts of drugs. Marjoram is among the best essential oils for jaw pain too.
3) Clary Sage Essential Oil
Salvia sclarea is a totally different type of sage essence. It is the type of oil that only requires a tiny amount to get pain relief and a clear mind. It is also among the popular oils used during pre-menopause and menopause.
- First of all, Clary Sage is among the best essential oils for TMJ pain because it’s antispasmodic. Thus, muscle spasms and cramps are soothed when applying Clary Sage. It is useful against all sorts of spasms (menstrual or digestive).
- The oil also has antiseptic effects. This means it can protect against infections in the affected area.
- Improve stress and anxiety symptoms with the diffusion and massage of a Clary Sage blend. It is very relaxing and calming.
- High dosages of Clary Sage essential oil can cause euphoric feelings and poisoning!
- It has estrogen-like effects, which makes it unsafe for people with hormone-dependent diseases.
- Do not mistake Clary Sage for Sage essential oil (Salvia officinalis).
Why I like it:
First of all, Clary Sage has a pleasant scent. Secondly, this oil can deal with a lot of womanly problems. It can be used for irregular menstruation and hot flashes too.
When it comes to TMJ pain, this essential oil can relieve it quite fast. It can do so, especially if you massage the painful joint for a few good minutes.
Other good essential oils for TMJ pain are (in order of their importance):
These are all great essential oils for jaw pain, and stiff and sore neck too.
How to Use Essential Oils for TMJ Pain and How Often?
The best aromatic oils need to be sedative and anti-inflammatory. Some are more concentrated and with a bigger sedative power than others. Others are better at relieving pain and inflammation than sedating.
That’s why an essential oil blend for your TMJ problems can deal with a wide range of symptoms.
The best way to use essential oils for TMJ is through local application via a massage. But the aromatic oils shouldn’t be applied pure to the skin. They need to be diluted with a carrier oil first. Carrier oils (vegetable oils) have their own characteristics and effects too.
For TMJ pain, the best carriers would be Tamanu, Black seed, Hemp and Olive oil. They have anti-inflammatory effects, which can only add to the blend and enhance the power of your essential oils (EOs).
Mix up to 15 drops of EO per Oz (30ml) carrier oil for all your mandibular massages.
You can also diffuse essential oils. Add up to 10 drops of a single oil or a mix of more essential oils (without carrier) into the diffuser. Leave it on for 30 minutes only.
The oils will keep diffusing even after you stop the device. Research shows that if one inhales oil molecules for more than 60 minutes, they can have the opposite effects. Instead of relaxing and calming, they can raise blood pressure and make you more anxious.
Read more about diffusing your oils the right way.
How to Perform a Correct Massage with Essential Oils for TMJ and TMD
Why is it important to perform a correct massage? Why perform a massage at all? These are both normal questions. Yet, the answer may make the difference between constant jaw pain and an improved life quality.
A massage is extremely important for TMJ and TMD relief. There are many causes for these disorders, but a massage can relax the muscles. It can also help the beneficial molecules of the anti-inflammatory and sedative oils to reach the spot faster.
A massage is a safe therapy, as long as you don’t put too much pressure on the joints and muscles. It has significant effects on the mind and the well-being of the person enjoying the massage.
Grinding your teeth in sleep (bruxism) is a sign of stress. A massage can relax you almost immediately, thus preventing TMJ pain.
Before we go into the details of a proper TMJ massage, there is an exercise I’d like to tell you about. It is a simple exercise and its purpose is to see if you have TMJ. You can do it yourself, before addressing a doctor to rule out other ear or throat problems.
- Keep your index, middle finger and ring finger in a vertical position. Place them between the top and the bottom teeth.
- Listen for a cracking or a popping sound. Or see if you feel any pain and difficulty when opening your mouth.
If you do, that is more likely a TMJ problem.
Steps for a Good Massage for TMJ Pain Relief
Have a TMJ Essential Oil blend ready.
Put some oils on your fingers (except the thumb) and rub them a bit to warm the blend.
Start at the bottom of the jaw. Put some mild pressure while you pull your fingers upward (toward the temples). Repeat the movement for at least a minute.
Continue as before, but this time from the temples upward (toward the hair line).
Next, use your three fingertips and apply gentle pressure, downwards from the cheek bone.
Use your knuckles to massage the muscles of the jaw and the temples. Use circular movements.
Keep your mouth open, with the muscles relaxed. Use the knuckles to massage the area from the cheek bones toward the mouth.
You should keep at each step for a minute. This type of massage can also be done several times a day.
You can watch this video to see exactly how it’s done.
TMJ Pain Blend Recipe
- Tamanu oil: 1 Oz (30 ml)
- Peppermint essential oil: 8 drops
- Sweet Marjoram essential oil: 8 drops
Mix all these oils together and shake the blend well every time, before use. Apply a moderate amount on your fingers and start massaging it into the joint and muscles. Keep it stored in a dark and cool place and use within 2 months.
Day-to-Day TMJ Improvement Blend
- Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
- Black seed oil: 1 tablespoon
- Clary Sage essential oil: 5 drops
- Sandalwood essential oil: 5 drops
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 3 drops
Apply as suggested on a daily basis with your massage. Diffuse some relaxing essential oils at the same time to feel perfectly relaxed. Make sure the room is well-ventilated though, and keep the diffuser on for just 30 minutes. All this is necessary to avoid getting headaches or becoming dizzy.
TMJ Causes, Symptoms and Tips for Improvement
The TMJ Syndrome is a general term. It includes the inflammation and pain of the temporomandibular joint. This joint is very complex and it connects the jaw to the skull.
The main cause is thought to be an improper jaw alignment. But there are other bad life habits that may help developing this condition too.
- Chewing gum,
- Sleeping on the jaw instead of the temples and cheek bones,
- Cracking nuts with the teeth,
- Chewing on one side of the mouth for a long time,
- Grinding teeth (bruxism),
- Too much stress,
- Diseases (arthritis, neoplasia),
These can all cause TMJ pain. The symptoms of a TMJ are as follow:
- Uncomfortable or difficult chewing.
- Popping sounds when you open your mouth.
- Difficulty in opening the mouth.
- Stiff neck.
- Ear aches and ringing.
- Jaw pain.
- Teeth problems.
A temporomandibular disorder affects more than just the joint. It can affect the muscles, the teeth, the tendons and ligaments, the bone, the nerves or the tissue around them.
The TMJ pain can be explained by the fact that the jaw muscles are fixed on the skull bone, near the jaws. When it gets inflamed it pushes hard on the joint, the bone, ligaments, etc. This type of pressure is painful.
While they are not usually dangerous for the overall health, TMD should still be treated. In time, the muscles will continue contracting. The joint will slowly start to degenerate too.
These things need to be corrected and prevented to avoid unnecessary pain in the future. A dentist can help you find the best treatment.
Tips to Improve Your TMJ Syndrome and TMD in General
- If the pain or difficulty in opening the mouth and chewing the food are intense, eat soft foods.
- You can also apply ice on the painful area.
- It is necessary to stretch and massage the joint(s) every day, with good essential oils for TMJ
- Take hot showers. Heat is a good pain reliever.
- Reduce the stress level in your life to stop grinding your teeth.
- While sleeping, avoid putting pressure on the jaw. A better option is to sleep without a pillow.
- Diffuse essential oils that relax and help you sleep on a daily basis.
There is nothing more enjoyable and relaxing than a massage. Research shows instant relief and good mood after one. If you add some essential oils for TMJ pain in your blends, your problems will start improving each day. Don’t forget to visit a doctor if the symptoms get worse.
What is your way of dealing with TMJ? Have you tried a massage so far? Let me know in the comments section.