According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, approximately 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ (also known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders). If you count yourself among those ranks, then you know just how painful TMJ can be and how desperate many are to find relief.
TMJ can cause tenderness in the jaw or around the ears and many find it painful or difficult to chew. In more severe cases, the jaw can lock, and you might find yourself having difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Did you know that there are three different massage techniques that can help you find relief? Read on to learn more.
Gentle kneading of the masseter muscles (directly behind the molars and just below the cheekbone) in the lower jaw provides constant, circular motion against the joints and muscles that can be directly impacted by TMJ pain. This massage technique increases blood flow to the impacted area, warms the muscles and can improve lymph function which then flushes out toxins that have built up over time.
Friction massage often provides just the right amount of pressure to the jaw that gives TMJ sufferers relief. Your therapist will first locate the mandible muscle or the lower part of the jaw just below the masseter muscle mentioned above. Gentle, yet constant pressure to this muscle using just one finger can greatly reduce the pain. Guide your therapist around your jaw until you find the exact spot of pressure that relieves the pain.
This technique can help you to exercise those muscles most responsible for your TMJ pain. Your therapist will place their thumbs just above the mandible muscles and parallel to your jawline. Gently pressing on these muscles while dragging the thumbs down and against the jaw helps to slowly stretch the muscles away from your upper jaw and relieves the tension and pain.
If TMJ is causing you pain, make an appointment with your massage therapist today. Relief can be achieved with any one of these three gentle techniques that can relax the muscles and relieve your pain.