TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DISORDER (TMD)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal (temple) bones of the skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, known more commonly as TMD, occurs when there are problems with the muscles and jaws in the face.
There are many signs and symptoms of TMD. It’s often hard to know for sure if you have TMD because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis. Some of the most common TMD symptoms include:
- Pain in the face, jaw or ear area
- Headaches (often mimicking migraines), earaches, and pain and pressure behind the eyes
- A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
- Jaw that “gets stuck,” locked or goes out of place
- Tenderness of the jaw muscles
- Swelling of the face
Benefits of Massage for TMJ Pain
Helps Prevent Headaches
Headaches that arise from jaw clenching can be brutal. A TMJ massage that properly works the masseter muscle and temporal muscle (the main chewing muscles) relieves jaw tension and makes future headaches less likely.
Prolonged TMJ tension can actually cause dizziness and ringing in the ears, a phenomenon known as “tinnitus.” The muscles you use to chew are near some of the muscles in your middle ear. There are also direct connections between ligaments that attach to the jaw and one of the hearing bones in the middle ear. Once those muscles and ligaments are more pliable, they’re less likely to cause that awful ringing in your ears.
Predictably, clenching your teeth together tightly will likely cause them to hurt over time. However, trigger points in the masseter muscle are actually known to exacerbate toothaches, causing sharp pain in the lower molars.
Sometimes, TMJ pain is not the result of a chronic condition, but just plain, old stress. A massage around your jaw and headworks wonders for letting go of pent-up stress and anxiety.
Also, your TMJ massage can be combined with another modality that focuses on bodywork, in which case the session will be longer than 30min and we may spend half of the session focusing on your jaw, and the other half on the rest of your body. Either way, the result is a whole lot less stress.
Stops Sleep Bruxism (Clenching)
Some people who suffer from jaw clenching may not even realize that it’s also happening while they’re asleep. This condition is known as “sleep bruxism,” and can cause disturbed sleeping patterns, severe dental damage, and facial pain. Massage therapy is effective in treating the painful effects of sleep bruxism.