Massage Therapy for TMJ Disorder
Firstly, you are not alone. Millions of people worldwide reportedly suffer from the condition known as “TMJ disorder” - chronic pain and dysfunction in the TMJ, the temporomandibular joint. What causes TMJ pain? It is not clear but things like teeth grinding, jaw misalignment and facial injuries are all linked to it.
Treatment options vary and TMJ pain may go away over time while painkillers, orthodontics and even surgery can manage or correct symptoms.
One increasingly popular treatment is TMJ Massage, which is an intraoral massage.
What is intraoral massage?
To treat TMJ symptoms and the discomfort of tension in TMJ trigger points it is important to work on the facial muscles in addition to incorporate intraoral techniques: massages performed within the mouth itself. This ensures that all of the muscles and trigger points of TMJ pain and dysfunction are treated.
Intraoral massage therapy works over a period of time to alleviate tension in the facial area and around the jaw, which works towards alleviating the pain.
Assessing your jaw area will help determine the possible cause(s) of dysfunction and understand the full picture of your symptoms. This may include measuring how far you can open your mouth.
Once on the massage table, 'feeling out' the joint while you open and close your mouth will give a better understanding of what’s happening in the joint during movement.
Lying face up, on your back, treatment on your face, jaw and TMJ area will include massage under the cheekbones, over the sinuses, and the temple and hairline area. The jaw and inside of the mouth, including in and around the gums, can be quite tender to treat but incorporating intraoral massage increases the effectiveness of the treatment, as compared to only treating of same muscles outside the mouth. It can also be beneficial to use massage on the neck and shoulders as tension here can also contribute to TMJ dysfunction.
The treatment should feel comforting and the jaw more relaxed, loose and less painful.