In a previous blog post we discussed how dry needling can help treat TMJ. Here you will read about the effects massage can have on the joint dysfunction. Remember, we offer FREE consultations with our physical therapists AND if you’ve never received a massage from us, your first 30 minutes are FREE!
Massage is one of many techniques that can help address the cause of TMJD. Most massage therapists have likely had clients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction as 65% to 85% of Americans experience symptoms during their lives. Symptoms include pain and muscle spasms in the head, mandible, neck and shoulder muscles; headaches; earaches; clicking noises or deviations when the mandible moves; limited ability to open the mouth; and dizziness.
Causes of TMJD include whiplash, bruxism, anxiety, stress, trigger points and postural dysfunction. Massage therapy has in fact become one of the most widely accepted solutions for treating TMJD patients because it has significantly fewer health risks than any other TMJD treatment. The Center of Health Research in Oregon reported that the majority of respondents who used various complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments, especially massage therapy, to treat their TMJD demonstrated major reduction or elimination of pain and tension within their jaw muscles as well as an overall improvement in the jaw joint mobility.
SELF MASSAGE/ SELF CARE
The magic spot is the notch where the jaw connects to the skull. It’s like a tiny archway at each side of your face, just beneath the outer edges of your cheekbones. You can find it easily with your fingertips or thumbs, and when you press it, you’ll feel that “good pain” that means you’ve hit it. Use your fingertips, thumbs, and knuckles to poke and knead this trigger point to your heart’s content. It’s a sturdy spot, so don’t be afraid to go at it. You might even want to grab a massage tool to make it easier on your hands. This TMJ pain massage is a good way to start the morning, and to turn to throughout the day whenever you feel discomfort. It makes a big difference! Don’t neglect to explore the rest of your jaw and neck area with your fingertips, too. You might have your own particular problem spots that respond well to massage for TMJ pain.
Everything’s connected, and the neck and the jaw have a strong working relationship. People with temporomandibular joint syndrome not only have more and worse trigger points in their jaw muscles than other people, but in their neck muscles as well. It is important when seeing a Massage Therapist for TMJD that they also address this often forgotten yet important part of the equation. Something I love to do is use hot stones and towels to give the neck and shoulders the chance to fully unwind. Along with my specially formulated homeopathic pain salve, it really gets results!
Of course, there’s much more you can do for TMJD relief. It’s all about behavior. Cut out the gum-chewing, wide yawning, and toasted bagels, and stop taking your stress out on your jaw!
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