Exercises to Relax Jaw Muscles

Tense jaw muscles occur for many reasons. Some people unconsciously clench their jaws during times of stress or tension, while others suffer from conditions known as TMJ disorders, disorders of the temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorders occur mainly because of teeth grinding or clenching your jaw, jaw injury and arthritis. Certain exercises can help alleviate some of your symptoms by relaxing your jaw muscles.

Specific exercises can help relax your jaw muscles. (Image: i love images/Cultura/Getty Images)

Progressive Relaxation for the Jaw

The progressive relaxation exercise helps alleviate overcontraction of your jaw muscles. Clench your jaw as tightly as possible for a few seconds, then allow your jaw to fall open. Press your hand underneath your chin to provide gentle resistance as you open your jaw, then relax your jaw again. Now move your jaw to the right, then relax. Move your jaw to the left, then relax. Finally, clench your jaw as tightly as possible, then relax your jaw muscles completely.

Jaw Stretch

This exercise helps to fully stretch your masticatory muscles, the muscles in your jaw responsible for chewing and grinding. Massage your jaw muscles with your fingertips using small, circular motions. Now open your mouth as wide as you can without pain or discomfort. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then release and relax your jaw. Perform 10 repetitions.

Visualization Exercise

This helps relax your jaw, shoulder and facial muscles. Sit in a comfortable chair and focus on your breathing. Take a slow, deep inhalation through your nose and exhale out of your mouth. Close your mouth and press your tongue firmly on the roof of your mouth. Relax your tongue. Clench your jaw muscles tightly for a few seconds, then relax. Scrunch your face into an expression that resembles the expression you have when tasting something sour. Relax. Finally, lift your shoulders up to your ears, holding the contraction for a few seconds, then relax completely. Sit for a few moments as you focus on your breath.

The Yawn-Sigh

The yawn-sigh exercise relaxes your throat, jaw, face and body. Take a deep yawn as you open your mouth as widely as possible. Stretch your jaw muscles and tighten your shoulders and arms as you inhale. Slowly exhale and relax all of your muscles completely. Perform this exercise several times.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.