TMJ can be debilitating for some and merely annoying for others. Complaints include chronic headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, pain, and some teeth grinding. While not everyone has all the symptoms, and there are a variety of causes, we have developed a supportive treatment we really believe in. We use both external and intra-oral techniques in our TMJ massage program, depending on your comfort level and need. Even if you have not addressed it before, we have, and you can take comfort in our understanding of the problem.
Our approach with the TMJ massage program is gentle. We include massage and stretching to help manage pain, with the goal of improved function. The TMJ massage treatment can be a full session devoted to the head, neck, and shoulders, or be incorporated into one of our relaxation treatments.
TMJ Disorder or Syndrome is a term used to describe temporomandibular disorders (TMD), which happen as a result of problems with the jaw, the joint, and the surrounding facial muscles that control moving the jaw and chewing. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. This bone is located in front of the ear on each side of the head. When working correctly, the joints are flexible, which allows the jaw to move smoothly side to side and up and down, also enabling one to chew, talk and yawn. Muscles attached to and surround the jaw joint to control the position and movement of the jaw.
People with TMJ disorder experience severe discomfort and pain that can be temporary, or it may last for many years. More women than men experience TMJ and this disorder is seen most commonly in people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Massage therapy is a healing technique that has been around for thousands of years and is practiced all over the world. It has been proven to help alleviate a variety of medical conditions, including TMJ disorder.
What caused TMJ disorder?
Asymmetry of the muscles of mastication, which is also known as chewing, tightness of the back of the neck, forward head posture, and many myofascial trigger points can cause TMJ disorder problems. Injury to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck can cause TMJ disorder. However, something as simple as grinding or clenching the teeth puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ and can cause TMJ disorder. Also, the jaw is a ball and socket joint, and dislocation of the cushion between the ball and socket can result in TMJ disorder. Finally, TMJ disorder can result from inflammation caused by another illness, stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?
There are several symptoms that are indicators one is experiencing temporomandibular joint disorder, including:
Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when chewing, speaking, or opening the mouth wide
Difficulty chewing as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
Jaws that get “locked” in the open- or closed-mouth position
Limited motion to open the mouth wide
Clicking, grating sounds or popping in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
What is TMJ dysfunction?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
How do you know if you have TMD?
Aching pain in and around your ear. Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing. Aching facial pain. Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth.
How does TMJ affect entire body?
An imbalance in your temporomandibular joint can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, teeth grinding, limited jaw movement, muscle soreness and can change the alignment of your jaw. When your jaw alignment is off, the effects ripple through your entire body.
What symptoms may be alleviated by intraoral massage?
Clicking and/or popping of the jaw
Toothaches due to constant clenching
Headaches, especially upon waking
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Lockjaw – both closed and open position
Limited range of mouth opening
Chronic jaw pain
How does TMJ/intraoral massage work specifically?
Simply put, intraoral massage therapy works (over a period of time) to alleviate tension, and sometimes pain in the facial area and around the jaw.
Although a therapist works on the facial muscles in an effort to alleviate tension in TMJ trigger points, most therapists also incorporate intraoral techniques: massages performed within the mouth itself, in order to adequately reach all of the muscles and areas that factor into TMJ pain and dysfunction.
Benefits of TMJ massage:
Helps Ease Headaches and Jaw Pain
Headaches are a common side effect of TMJ. Jaw clenching due to the disorder can often cause the masseter muscles to strain, which eventually shoots pain up the jaw and can cause a headache. By massaging strained muscles, headaches due to TMJ can become less likely. As the jaw is consistently massaged, jaw pain can also become less painful and relief can be found.
Can Treat Tinnitus
TMJ can cause an uncomfortable ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears known as Tinnitus. With a TMJ massage, Tinnitus can often be treated by massaging the ligaments that connect the jaw and the hearing bones in the middle ear. Once these muscles begin to relax, they’ll be less likely to produce uncomfortable ringing throughout the ear.
Can Reduce Pain From Sleep Bruxism
Some people who clench their jaw muscles even do it while they’re sleeping. Grinding teeth and clenching the jaw while sleeping is called Sleep Bruxism and not only disrupts sleeping patterns but can also add pain and damage to the teeth. A TMJ massage can assist in reducing pain that comes from Sleep Bruxism. By loosening up the tightened muscles around the jaw, pain caused by Sleep Bruxism can be reduced.