Do you suffer from chronic or severe pain in your jaw? Are you someone that grinds your teeth or clench your teeth? Every wonder why sometimes when eating, speaking or even yawning is sore or find your jaw making a clicking popping like noise or even “getting stuck”? Well it is very possible you suffer from a jaw disorder called temporomandibular disorder or most commonly known as TMJ.
TMJ includes the temporomandibular (TM ) joints that are located on each side of your jaw and this hinge-like joint is what allows us to eat, speak, yawn and controls all opening and closing of the mouth. Any issues that prohibit these muscles, joint and bone from working as it should – is call TMJ.
Some common symptoms people with TMJ suffer from are; facial or neck pain when eating, speaking or opening your mouth widely, locking of your jaw, clicking or popping sound with movement of your mouth, swelling on the side of your face, headaches, toothaches, dizziness and earaches.
It is still unknown of what causes this misalignment and there is still no single cure for it. The three most popular recommendations are medications such as muscle relaxants or aspirin to help with the muscle aches, a night guard to wear while sleeping, or learning relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension within the jaw.
As a massage therapist here at OSR in Kailua, it is common for me to come across a lot of tension in the jaw area. Let me share with you a simple technique to help reduce muscle tension using a self massage technique.
First, place your fingers just in front of your ears, slide them down just a few fingertips length.
Second, clinch your teeth you will feel the masseter muscle pop out. This is the muscle you will be massaging.
Third, using your fingertips, apply as much pressure as you can tolerate comfortably and massage your jaw muscles using circular motions. Make sure to alternate sides.
As someone who also suffers from chronic jaw pain this, this may not be a “cure” for TMJ, but if you’re looking for quick relief or a way to incorporate a daily therapy technique, massage is definitely recommended. Next time you have an appointment at OSR, mention to your massage therapist that your jaw is feeling tight and we can help show you the technique to try at home. Not to mention, our chiropractors and physical therapists specialize in TMJ and can set you up with an entire treatment plan here at our integrated health center. To make an appointment today, call 488-5555 or contact us here!
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