Rocabado 6X6 Exercises

You might not pay a lot of attention to your jaw joint until it hurts. Rocabado 6x6 exercises are a series of movements that help treat temporomandibular joint disorders. Mariano Rocabado, DPT, devised the program to help restore normal joint mobility in your jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ may include headache, earache, neck pain, jaw tenderness or aching facial muscles. (Image: west/iStock/GettyImages)

The exercises deal with the relationship of your head to neck, neck to shoulders and lower jaw to upper jaw.

What Is the TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, but this abbreviation is often used as an overall term for inflammatory disorders of the jaw. Symptoms of TMJ may include headache, earache, neck pain, jaw tenderness or aching facial muscles.

TMJ usually occurs when the muscles used for chewing and your jaw joint no longer work together, according to Oxford University Hospitals. Causes of TMJ include grinding and improper alignment of your teeth.

About the Rocabado Exercises

The exercises created by Dr. Rocabado, to be performed by the patient at home, consist of six different exercises and six repetitions of each exercise, performed six times per day until symptoms subside. The Rocabado exercises emphasize correct postural position and help to combat the soft tissue memory of your old posture.

The program that Dr. Rocabado created to treat TMJ includes six fundamental components: the rest position of the tongue, TMJ rotation control, rhythmic stabilization technique, liberation of the cervical joint, axial extension of the cervical spine and shoulder girdle retraction.

According to a small February 2015 study of 30 subjects published by International Journal of Physiotherapy, Rocabado's exercises are an effective treatment intervention for disorders of the TMJ.

The 6 Rocabado Exercises

The six different exercises are designed to relieve you of TMJ discomfort. Perform the exercises one after the other until your session is complete. It will take about one minute.

Exercise number one of the Rocabado exercises has you place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Position the tip just behind your teeth and take six deep breaths. For the second exercise, keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth and open and close your mouth six times.

In exercise three, your tongue remains on the roof of your mouth and two fingers are placed on the chin to open your mouth against gentle resistance. Following that, place your fingers on both sides of your jaw and open six times. For exercise four, place your hands behind your neck and bend your chin down as if nodding your head. Move your chin down and back as if making a double chin for exercise five.

Posture and Visual Cues

Finally, correct your posture by lifting your ribs and chest upward while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Perform six repetitions of these exercises six times a day.

Use visual cues to remind yourself to do your exercises each day. These can include notes stuck on the wall or alarms set on your cell phone. Record your range of movement and how it changes to help gauge your progress. Do not progress with the exercises if you feel any pain.

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