Just think "JAWS" to remember what this shark stretch is all about. Apart from taking a jumbo bite out of our daily meals, our jaws don't often get the stretching that they very often need.
The temperomandibular joint (now you know why they simply call it TMJ) is surrounded by several muscles that assist in talking, chewing, and clenching those teeth. Dysfunction of this joint, often due too stiff ...muscles and tight fascia can contribute to headache pain, jaw pain, "tooth" discomfort, as well as the formation of satellite trigger points which can cause discomfort in surrounding areas. If you are prone to clenching your teeth under stress or grinding the teeth at night (aka: bruxism), regularly stretching your jaw muscles can help.
Sitting upright, gently open your mouth as wide as is comfortable, like a great white shark, until you feel a nice stretch, hold for 6 seconds, then close your mouth again. Repeat 3 times. If you feel or hear clicking or popping sounds, it may be an indication that your muscles need to be stretched more regularly. Ideally, this stretch should be done in conjunction with the "giraffe stretch" to help loosen restrictions in the front of the neck.
How wide should you be able to open your mouth? Experts suggest that you should be able to easily place your first three fingers in your mouth (vertically, at the middle knuckle), as a healthy stretch goal.
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Jerri W., LMT, CWC
Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Wellness Coach with over 25+ years of experience in pain management, relaxation techniques and lifestyle education.
Heather R., LMT, CWC
Certified Wellness Coach and Licensed Massage Therapist with a passion for helping others achieve optimal wellness through healthier living.
NOTICE: The information provided herein is meant for educational purposes only. We accept no liability for your use of the information provided. As always, use your best judgment and if in doubt, please consult your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.