Many people go about their lives without even realizing that they suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
This particular issue concerns mainly people who often need to hold their head in a position, for example when spending many hours behind the computer or laptop, or just simply looking down a lot. This syndrome results from poor body posture and stress. But it also becomes a problem for people, who grind their teeth during sleep.
I have treated clients from this syndrome that have misaligned teeth or jaw as a result of trauma, or just simply after dental adjustments. But I also treated TMJ complains on “freshly new” mothers, passionate mobile/tablet users, and people with very stressful jobs.
So, let’s see a bit of a checklist. Do you experience:
- Aching facial pain or headaches starting around eyes or forehead?
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw?
- Aching pain/discomfort in and around your ear?
- Unexplained pain and hypersensitivity in your teeth and gums?
- Sinus attacks?
- Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing?
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth?
If your answer is yes to any of the above, then you may want to consider a special massage therapy targeting the muscles involved in this syndrome. What you should do, when you go next time for a massage, is to ask your therapist to spend time treating these key areas:
- Sternocleidomastoids are muscles located on the front and on the side of your neck. Their name is made up of the anatomical names of the bones they attach to: Sterno refers to the sternum (breastbone) and Cleido refers to the clavicle (collarbone). Mastoid refers to the mastoid process, the bony knob behind the ear.
Because you don’t usually get pain in the front of your neck, you probably never even thought of them. But, Strenocleidomastoids can make more trouble than you can imagine. These muscles rarely hurt without touching them. The trigger points in these muscles actually cause a lot of pain, but it is all sent elsewhere. The headaches, jaw joint misalignment, ear pain and auditory disturbances as well as the visual disturbances are just a few examples of symptoms when the sternocleidomastoids are tight and stiff.
- Masseters -are the power muscles of the jaw, exerting the major force in biting and chewing. When you grid your teeth, you can see the muscles contracting right in front of your earlobes (looking in the mirror). Trigger points in masseters can cause pain in several places in front of the face, under the eyes and over the eyebrows (symptoms that are often mistaken for sinusitis), but also in both upper and lower teeth (misinterpretation of these symptoms can result in unnecessary dental work). Masseters’ tightness is also linked to the tightness of the vocal mechanism, bags under the eyes and pain in the ear.
- Temporalis – is a large, flat muscle covering the temple above and in front of the ear. It is a chewing muscle and it assists the Masseter in bringing the jaws together. So, it is also a chewing muscle. Tightness in temporalis contributes to headaches in font and on the side of the head. They are also very common (though usually unsuspected) cause of pain and hypersensitivity in the upper teeth and gums.
- Medial and Lateral Pterygoids – are both well hidden by the lower jaw bone. The medial pterygoid muscle causes pain in the temporomandibular joint and the ear, which increases when you bite down on something. It can also refer pain to the back of the mouth, hard palate, and tongue, and can make it hurt to swallow. Tightness in this muscle can make it difficult to open the mouth wide. Moreover, a sense of stuffiness in the ear can come from a tight medial pterygoid when it prevents the Eustachian tube (in the middle ear) from opening.
The lateral pterygoid is the number one myofascial source of pain in the cheek and mimics sinus pain. It can also stimulate sinus secretions. Many “sinus attacks” are simply are the effects of lateral pterygoid trigger points.. Tension in this muscle tends to pull the lower jaw forward and disarticulate, or partially dislocate the jaw joint. Popping and clicking of the jaw is the result of this
To make an appointment, go our website and select sports massage . Make sure to mention TMJ treatment in the request for the appointment.