Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is a disorder in the joint of the jaw, which frequently causes pain in the muscles that control jaw movement. TMJD pain relief therapy can be used as an adjunct treatment that targets these muscles, which includes both external massage to the jaw and head as well as massage inside the mouth. This is the only treatment where the massage therapist will treat the inside of the mouth (using vinyl gloves). Massaging these muscles can also help with the pain associated with general jaw clenching and unresolved neck, head, and shoulder pain.
Does massage help TMJ?
More research is needed to help us understand how massage helps TMJ, however, based on these studies, the outlook is good for massage being an effective tool for decreasing TMJ pain:
What are the benefits of TMJD Pain Relief therapy?
The benefits of TMJD Pain relief therapy can include less pain and discomfort in the muscles effecting the joint of the jaw, increased range of motion in opening and closing the jaw, better neck and head posture, and reduced headaches. Because chronic jaw pain and/or dysfunction is frequently associated with other conditions such as fibromyalgia, depression, and sleep disturbances, this treatment can also help improve a sense of general well being.
TMJ massage inside mouth
First, you can do intraoral massage at home for self care in between visits to your therapist. This section discusses what intraoral massage is. For more information on how to do the self care, read the two sections after this one.
Though you may gain relief from self care, it is still recommended that you receive professional massage as well for TMJ. This is because a trained massage therapist knows the pain muscles involved more thoroughly and also has more experience and techniques to treat them.
As mentioned above, massage for TMJ can include external as well as internal massage. Internal massage, otherwise known as “intraoral,” is massage of the muscles inside of the mouth, such as the medial or later ptyerygoids. The beginning of the process is much like a visit to the dentist, during which the dentist first places his or her gloved hand into the patient’s mouth to begin treatment. Intraoral massage begins the same way, except your therapist will work on the muscles inside your mouth, not your teeth, and there are no metal tools involved!
At Sovereign Body massage, practitioners are trained to make sure the client understands he or she is in control and can stop the massage at any time. For example, instead of trying to talk, the client can simply tap the practitioners arm and he or she will stop treatment immediately.
Massage pressure points for TMJ
This video demonstrates four great pressure points to help relieve TMJ pain by yourself:
the top of your ear where it attaches to the skull
next to the midpoint of where your ear attaches to the skull (what she calls the “nub”)- if you open your jaw and your finger falls into a divit, you are in the right place
the bottom of your ear where it attaches to the skull – MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON YOUR JAW BONE
corner of your jaw bone where you are still on the cheek, not under the jaw
If you are interested in Reflexology pressure points for TMJ, check out this video as well
TMJ self massage
These two videos are great for when you are experiencing TMJ pain, the doctor goes through each 10 minute protocol with you. The second one helps you work on related areas