How to Cure Lockjaw Naturally

Three Parts:Changing Your DietExercising EffectivelyExploring Natural Remedies

Lockjaw is an informal term used to describe an inability to open the mouth fully or painful muscle spasms of the jaws. Lockjaw may be associated with pain, clicking sounds and headaches. Lockjaw is a fairly common dental and medical complaint and can be treated at home quite easily -- all starting with Step 1 below!

Part 1
Changing Your Diet

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    Get more magnesium. It's a great muscle relaxant and calms the firing of the nervous system, taking care of the muscle spasms in your jaw. It also helps in reducing inflammation. Hence, consuming foods rich in magnesium helps in relaxing the muscles, reducing the stress and inflammation of muscles that leads to lockjaw.
    • Foods rich in magnesium are almonds, flaxseeds, avocados, Brazil nuts, oatmeal, yogurt, corn, watermelon seeds, spinach, pumpkin, sesame seeds, peanuts, cashews, bananas, raisins, apples, soybeans, cucumber, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, papaya, and wheat. The daily requirement of magnesium is 320mg and 420mg for adult females and males, respectively.
    • In fact, drinking water itself is a good source of magnesium. The daily requirement of magnesium is 320mg and 420mg for adult females and males respectively.
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    Load up on calcium. Calcium helps to strengthen the bones of the body. Calcium deficiency leads to spasms of the muscles known as tetany. Hence, consuming foods rich in calcium helps in strengthening the jaw bones and regulating the movements of jaw muscles, thereby preventing spasms that might lead to lockjaw.
    • Rich sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, oranges, sesame seeds, kale, black eyed peas, dried figs, sardines, broccoli, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and canned salmon. Daily calcium requirement for an average adult is 1000mg.
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    Get more vitamin D. It in necessary to increase the intake of vitamin D as it is necessary for calcium absorption in the body, in order to strengthen the area. A deficiency of vitamin D leads to softening of bones and bone pains. It is also found that Vitamin D deficiency causes predisposition to temporomandibular joint dysfunction and might lead to lockjaw.
    • There are very few natural sources of vitamin D like flesh of fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, fish liver oil. A very small amount of vitamin D is found in egg yolks, beef liver and cheese. Other sources include fortified foods like milk, yogurt, orange juice, margarine, ready-to-eat cereals, etc. Daily requirement of vitamin D for an average adult is 600 IU.
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    Drink plenty of water. You must keep yourself well hydrated because dehydration can also cause muscle cramps and affect the bones -- more water could be the solution to lockjaw. Hence, drinking water regularly will help to keep your muscles and bones in optimum condition. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
    • Also, as mentioned above, drinking water has magnesium which is necessary for preventing lockjaw.

Part 2
Exercising Effectively

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    Do yoga. Yoga is an ancient Indian science that works on both the physical and mental planes. Stress-related lockjaw can be cured by yoga. In this integrated approach of yoga, the person is encouraged to go to the root cause of stress that has caused the muscle spasm. Various yoga techniques that help in curing lockjaw are as follows:
    • Asanas such as the "Adho Mukh Svanasana" (Downward Facing Dog) help in improving the blood flow to the cranium and the TMJ. In this asana, the person assumes an inverted ‘V’ pose with the hips facing the ceiling while the heels and hands are on the ground.
    • "Salamba sarvangasana" (Shoulder stand) is a pose where the shoulder rests on the mat or blanket and the entire body from below the shoulder is perpendicular to the floor.
    • "‘Viparita Karani" (Legs-Up-the-Wall-pose) is another asana where you lie on the floor supporting your lower back with a firm bolster and the legs are stretched upwards using the support of wall. These two asanas also supply ample amount of blood to the jaw joint.
    • "Shavasana" (Corpse pose) acts as muscle relaxant and helps in reducing the muscle tension. In this asana the person lies down flat on the floor and consciously relaxes all the muscles of the body from head to toe.
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    Try out seated meditation. The best pose to start releasing the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), i.e. the jaw joint, is seated meditation. Using this technique you can release the tension that’s locking your jaw. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position for meditation and focus on relaxing your tongue. Often, the tongue will cling to the palate without even you realizing it. Deeply relax your tongue, eyes and you will see that your upper and lower teeth move away slightly from each other. Soften the skin at the corners of your mouth.
    • These instructions are the starting steps of "pratyahara," i.e. internalization of sensory awareness. Decompressing the jaw in this manner takes practice but is very useful.
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    Exercise your jaw. Exercises play an important role in the treatment of lockjaw. If done correctly and regularly, they help in treating as well as preventing the lockjaw.
    • To begin with, relax and lower your shoulders. Now, relax your lower jaw making sure that your teeth are not in contact. Relax your tongue.
    • Now to warm up the jaw muscles, begin with small up-and-down and side-to-side movement of the jaw without tooth contact. Open and close your mouth as much possible without pain or discomfort.
    • Move your jaw as far as possible forward and then back. Make similar movements towards both sides and then relax.
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    Do the same exercises against the resistance of your hand. That is, push your fist below your jaw while opening your mouth and push your thumb against your chin at the time of forward movement and against the right and left side of your chin during side movements. Keep your jaw at the extreme point of movement for a few seconds, holding it there. Open your mouth as wide as possible, then try to close it while resisting this movement by pushing downward against your lower front teeth with your fingers.
    • While looking in the mirror, try to move your lower jaw straight up and down, avoiding any deviations as well as any movements producing clicking or locking of the jaw. Each exercise should be performed for at least 10 counts each day.
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    Consider using the TheraBite System. It is a portable system devised to treat lockjaw and provides patients with anatomically correct jaw motion. As most of the therapies offer stretching to increase jaw opening, this system provides both anatomically correct stretching and passive motion for effective jaw rehabilitation.
    • Studies have revealed that TheraBite exercises have helped to treat lockjaw that is secondary to head and neck cancer.[1]
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    Keep good posture at all times. It's important to maintain good posture throughout the day especially when working on computer, at a desk or sitting for a log time. This will help in relieving stressed muscles. Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth, too!
    • Do not sleep on your stomach as this position puts stress on the joints of jaw. If you are facing lockjaw, try to sleep on your back.

Part 3
Exploring Natural Remedies

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    Try mustard oil and garlic. Mustard oil improves circulation in the affected area and garlic has anti-inflammatory properties which help in reducing the inflammation. In addition, garlic has anti-microbial properties which help to fight infections that might be worsening the condition. A jaw that's neither infected nor inflamed will be a lot easier to move.
    • Boil 2 cloves of garlic in a tsp of mustard oil and then let it cool. Now, apply this oil twice or thrice a day on the affected area.
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    Apply warm and cold packs alternately. This will help in reducing the pain and swelling of lockjaw. For applying heat, you can use a hot water bag or a soaked towel and for cold pack you can use an ice pack covered with a towel to safeguard your face.
    • Make sure not to burn or freeze your skin! Use them each in 10 or 15 minute segments, then switch. And make sure to keep the entire area covered with a cloth or towel.
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    Consider using St. John’s Wort oil. It contains various flavonoids and xanthones giving it its anti-depressant properties. This oil soothes the painful sensation and helps in speeding up the healing process of the injured muscles and tendons of your jaw. This oil should be rubbed on the affected area of the jaw and all along the area just below the ear.
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    Try herbal tea. Herbal tea prepared from the following herbs assists in treatment of lockjaw:
    • Kava kava: it helps in reducing anxiety and thereby helps in relaxing the person suffering from lockjaw.
    • Passionflower: this will help in reducing anxiety, restlessness and discomfort caused due to muscle tension and emotional turmoil.
    • Feverfew: this type is good for reducing pain and muscle soreness.
    • Chamomile: using this will bring about a calming effect in adults. It helps in reducing muscle pain caused due to stress.


  • Avoid taking large bites so that you don’t have to wide open your mouth and put strain on your jaw muscles. Prevent chewing large pieces of food as this action also strains your jaw muscles. Opt for smaller bites.
  • Studies have revealed that executing physical mouth opening exercises have helped in treating and preventing lockjaw that occurs after maxillectomy especially for those who had radiotherapy as part of antitumor treatment.[2]

Sources and Citations

  1. Kamstra JI, Roodenburg JL, Beurskens CH, Reintsema H, Dijkstra PU. TheraBite exercises to treat lockjaw secondary to head and neck cancer. Support Care Centre. 2013Apr; 21(4):951-7
  2. Ren WH, Ao HW, Lin Q, Xu ZG, Zang B. Efficacy of mouth opening exercises in treating trismus after maxillectomy. Chin Med J (Engl). 2013 Jul;126(14):2666-9

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Categories: Health | Diet & Lifestyle