I have looked through all articles and past questions by other trainers at the Research Corner and didn't find anything on TMJ. My first guess would be to look at the stretches focusing on the cervical spine/trapezius area.
As with any medical situation, always consult with the client's medical professional for direction, guidance and/or advice. TMJ is often times specific to one side of the jaw (this should be determined by a medical professional) and can be brought on by a forward head posture or an Upper-Extremity Imbalance. The fitness professional can administer some general stretches and strengthening exercises to assist in the alleviation of this disorder. Basic stretches for the Sternocleidomastoid, Pectoralis Major/Minor and Latissimus Dorsi are a good start as they are all implicated in an Upper-Extremity Imbalance. Other upper extremity muscles such as the Scalenes, Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapulae may also be involved, however caution should be used with these stretches until medical advice is obtained with any specifics regarding the particular client and their situation. It is also imperative to use the proper stretching techniques to ensure the desired response. The NASM has a Static Stretching video that covers all of theses stretches with precise technique and can be found at www.nasm.org.
- Pectoralis Major/Minor
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Scalenes, Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapulae with advice from medical professional
- Chin Tucks. Have a client lie on their back on the floor with knees bent, but feet on the floor. Place a folded up towel or pad under their head and have them press their head into the towel as they tuck their chin in towards their throat. Also have them retract and depress their shoulders into the floor to prevent protracting or rounding their shoulders during this exercise.
With ALL other exercise, make sure the client's head and chin are in a tucked position and not protruding forward. This will teach them how to integrate this movement with everyday activities to help alleviate this Upper-Extremity Imbalance (forward head posture).