Jaw Stretch Exercise
Relaxation Massage (to be done if there is stiffness / tightness during mouth opening)
Purpose of Exercise:
– Prophylactic; to slow down gradual effects of post-RT (radiation therapy) fibrosis to the muscles of the jaw, assisting maintenance of mouth opening, for functional swallowing and communication
– Completed radiation therapy (RT) to the head & neck / mouth area
– RT-related trismus
– History of jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues
Precautions / Tips:
– Do not push hard when stretching
– Maintain the stretch at the point of strain / mild discomfort only
– Logemann, J. A., Pauloski, B. R., Rademaker, A. W., & Colangelo, L. A. (1997). Speech and swallowing rehabilitation for head and neck cancer patients. Oncology, 11(5), 651-656.
– Pauloski, B. R. (2008). Rehabilitation of Dysphagia Following Head and Neck Cancer. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 19(4), 889–928.
– Peng, K. A., Kuan, E. C., Unger, L., Lorentz, W. C., Wang, M. B., & Long, J. L. (2015). A swallow preservation protocol improves function for veterans receiving chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 152(5), 863-867.
*Articles cited are a limited sample only, and there may be other & more recent evidence which supports / contraindicates use of this exercise.