Lockjaw is a condition that makes it difficult for you to open your mouth properly, thus making its function very painful. This often manifests as tension around the mouth, and is usually an indication of an underlying issue.
One of the most common causes of lockjaw is tetanus, a serious and potentially fatal disease. In cases where tetanus is the cause of the condition, it becomes indicative of a long time period of infection as lockjaw tends to occur in the latter stages of the disease.
In addition to this, other causes of lockjaw include oral or jaw related diseases such as Temporomandibular joint disorder (abbreviated TMJ) as well as inflammation of the oral cavity.In some cases, certain medications are the reason for a lockjaw. The easiest way to tell whether one has a lockjaw, just as the name suggests, is the locking or inability of the jaws to move.
This is often accompanied by a clicking sound when one attempts to open the mouth. Since different factors may be attributed to be the cause of lockjaw, it is extremely important to seek medical attention in order to find the root cause of the condition. Once this is done, you may use home remedies to treat lockjaw naturally. Listed below are some of the remedies that are helpful for the natural treatment of the condition. Remember that these remedies are not to be used in place of medical treatment.
1. Use a Warm Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Hot water in a basin and a clean towel. Alternatively, use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
Lockjaw leads to a lot of pain in the jaw area, and depending on the extent of the pain, one may experience discomfort in the neck and shoulders. One of the easiest ways to manage this pain and provide relief from the symptoms of lockjaw is to use a warm compress. The heat applied to the jaw region goes a long way in soothing the stiff muscles. Additionally, the warmth enhances blood circulation to the jaws, thus releasing the tension in the muscles needed for opening and closing the mouth. You will need hot water and a towel. Other options available include a hot water bottle or heating pad.
- Place the towel in the hot water and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
- Squeeze the excess water and proceed to place the hot towel on the jaw for a few minutes.
- You may use the hot compress on both sides of the mouth in order to avoid over doing it.
- Once the towel cools down, repeat steps 1-3 two more times.
- Alternatively, place a hot water bottle following the same procedure outlined in step 3 above.
- When using a heating pad, follow the instructions indicated.
- Use the different options mentioned above at least thrice daily to treat lockjaw.
2. Stay Hydrated:
Time Required: Water intake staggered throughout the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water.
Dehydration is one of the underlying causes of lockjaw, and which is known to worsen the symptoms of the condition. This happens because when the body becomes dehydrated, it interferes with the muscles’ relaxation and contraction. Tension that results from this is what causes lockjaw when the affected muscles are found in the jaw region. For this reason, it becomes important to ensure that you stay hydrated, particularly if you spent the better part of your day in the outdoors.
NOTE: For this particular remedy, the amount of water to be taken has not been indicated as this varies from one person to another depending on their age, health status and level of activeness. To get accurate information, make sure that you see your doctor for personalized guidelines. An easy way to determine whether your body is hydrated is to check the color of your urine during the day. Deep yellow urine color is indicative of dehydration. Light colored urine on the other hand, shows that your body is well hydrated.
- Take adequate water during the day. If you find the taste of water rather plain, you may add a few lemon wedges or sliced cucumbers for that refreshing taste.
3. Take Foods Rich in Both Magnesium and Calcium:
Time Required: Varies depending on the food and method of preparation.
What You Need: Foods that have a high concentration of Magnesium and Calcium.
Lockjaw, as mentioned above, results from tension in the jaw muscles so that normal opening of the mouth is restricted. One of the ways to ease this tension is to increase your dietary intake of two key elements: Magnesium and Calcium. Calcium is integral to the process of muscle contraction and relaxation. Some of the foods rich in Calcium include milk and milk products, coconut and almonds among others.
Magnesium on the other hand, is an important addition because it allows for muscle relaxation which in turn eases the tension associated with lockjaw. This element also has the ability to provide pain relief, thus easing the discomfort. Some of the foods rich in Magnesium include flax seeds, oats, spinach and pumpkin among others. To get the most of these foods and vegetables, it is advisable to use healthy cooking recipes.
- Prepare your choice food using your preferred recipe.
- Ensure that these mineral elements are present in your daily diet.
4. Gargle Salty Water:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of table salt and 1 glass of warm water.
Gargling salty water has been shown to be beneficial for the natural treatment of lockjaw. The use of warm water helps relax the nerves as well as ease the tension in the jaw muscles. Salt is added for its ability to draw out any infections present in the mouth. Gargling salty water therefore, is one of the best ways to reduce the intensity of the pain and swelling associated with lockjaw. Do not swallow the salty water as this increases the body’s dehydration and worsens the symptoms of the condition.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of water and stir to dissolve.
- Gargle this water for a few minutes before spitting.
- Repeat this procedure three more times.
- Use the salty water gargle as a remedy thrice daily to treat lockjaw with ease.
5. Mouth Movements to Help Restore the Jaws’ Functions:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A comfortable place.
Since lockjaw restricts the movements of the jaw, one of the ways in which you can treat the condition at home is with relevant mouth movements or exercises. All you need is a comfortable place and a focused mind. Follow the steps outlined below to get the most of this remedy.
- Close your mouth slowly to avoid the clicking of the jaws.
- Let your tongue come into contact with the soft palate.
- Once fully closed, try and return the tongue to its previous position.’
- Slowly try to open your mouth so that once this is done, you will be able to shift your tongue’s position.
- Ensure your mouth remains open for about 10-15 seconds.
- If you feel that your jaw is sliding sideways, carefully open your mouth and then close it to resolve the sideways shift.
- Do this thrice repeatedly to ease the tension in the jaw.
6. Epsom Salts:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of Epsom salts, bath water and a face towel.
As mentioned above, one of the best ways to ease the symptoms of lockjaw is to increase the amount of Magnesium in the body. You may also use Epsom salts, a home remedy whose high concentration of Magnesium and sulfates makes it ideal for treating lockjaw. The advantage of adding Epsom salts to bath water is that the Magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin. Once absorbed, the Magnesium ensures jaw relaxation as well as helps eliminate the pain associated with the muscular tension. Follow the directions below to use Epsom salts for the natural treatment of lockjaw.
- Add half a cup of Epsom salts to your bath water and stir to dissolve.
- Soak in the bath for at least 15 minutes. During this time, soak your face towel in the bath water and use it to gently massage your face. Focus on the jaw area in order to provide localized pain relief.
- Use this remedy at least twice daily until the tension associated with lockjaw eases.
7. Garlic and Mustard Oil Combination:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 3 Cloves of fresh garlic, 1/4 cup of Mustard oil and cotton wool.
The combination of garlic and mustard oil creates a potent remedy for the natural treatment of lockjaw. Mustard oil is used because it enhances blood circulation to the jaws. This not only delivers the required nutrients, it also helps ease the pain. Garlic on the other hand, is a strong remedy whose anti-inflammatory properties make it perfect for treating lockjaw. When combined, the potency of the resulting mixture makes this remedy quite effective.
- Peel the garlic cloves and chop into small pieces.
- If you prefer, you may pound the chopped garlic in order to increase the surface area for the release of the garlic’s active ingredients.
- Add the garlic paste to the mustard oil and heat the mixture on low heat.
- After about 5 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the oil to cool.
- Place the cotton wool in the mustard oil mixture and use it to massage the jaw region.
- Use this remedy thrice daily until the condition eases. To make this seamless, you may prepare the remedy in bulk for each day’s use.
Other remedies available for the home treatment of lockjaw include massaging techniques to relieve the pain, a cold pack which numbs the jaw region and reduces the radiating pain as well as eating soft foods until the lockjaw is treated. Eating a balanced diet also helps the body get the right nutrients for proper contraction and relaxation of the muscles. Lastly, it is important to note that these remedies do not take the place of professional medical attention especially in cases where the lockjaw is a result of tetanus. Whenever in doubt, make sure you consult your doctor.