Stacy’s Tip of the Week

Welcome to our new feature, where I will be giving a tip each week to help you on your journey with TMJ disorder.

Let’s get started with this week’s tip!

This week I want to talk about exercise.

I know… can be really hard to exercise when you are in pain.

However, there are many studies that demonstrate the positive effects of exercise on chronic pain patients. Exercise also improves memory, productivity, and depression.

I’ve heard this so many times that it went in one ear and out the other, to be honest. I couldn’t imagine how I could exercise considering the amount of pain I was in. One day I thought, what do I have to lose? So, after a particularly difficult week of pain I decided to try some yoga. It was a short (15 minutes) beginner class aimed at lessening the stiffness chronic pain patients often wake up with in the morning.

Getting started was hard. I won’t lie to you. 😉

Afterwards, though, I noticed something. I felt more relaxed. My pain level was lower.

So the next morning I tried it again. And the next, again. Now yoga has been a part of my routine for months, and I have worked up to longer classes. On the days that I just can’t imagine exercising for an hour (or I’m having trouble even imagining myself on the mat at all), I try to do 15 minutes…or even 10. I’ve found over and over again that something is better than nothing.

I’ve also learned to be nice to myself. The hardest part is just showing up. So once I have, I try to let go of any negativity towards myself, my pain, or my body.

When it’s over, I’m proud that I was able to take control of my pain and my life for another day. 

One day, one time – that’s all it takes. Try some exercise and see how it makes you feel. Start with 2 minutes, or 5, or 10 – and don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing it, and that’s all that counts.

About The Author


Stacy is the Founder & Executive Director of TMJ Hope. After being mauled by a dog, she experienced severe jaw pain that was not relieved by conservative treatments. After several surgeries, she had TMJ total joint replacements in 2006.

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