What is TMJ Massage?
Well, first of all, what is the TMJ? The TMJ or temporomandibular joints (TMJs), are the joints that connect the jawbone (mandible) to the skull (temporalis). These joints are located just in front of the ears and are responsible for the movement of the jaw, such as when you speak or chew.
Why would you need your TMJ massaged?
Sometimes things go awry in the TMJ and this can cause swelling or pain. We call this Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder or TMD). Symptoms of TMD can vary, but may include pain and tenderness in the jaw, face, and neck, as well as headaches, earaches, and difficulty opening or closing the jaw. Some people also experience a popping or clicking noise when they move their jaw. The exact cause of TMD is not always known, but it can be caused by a number of factors, including jaw injury, dental problems, arthritis, or teeth grinding (bruxism).
There is evidence that massage therapy can be helpful in reducing pain and improving function in people with TMD. Massage therapy is beneficial for TMD by addressing muscle tension, which contributes to pain, limited jaw mobility, and imbalance in this condition.
What does a TMJ massage session look like?
Working with the TMJ is not just about massaging the muscles of the jaw and face. When the jaw is not functioning properly it can cause tension and pain in the surrounding structures. During intake I will assess your TMJ as well as other surrounding structures, we will talk about how it affects your day to day life and develop a treatment plan base on that.
One aspect of TMJ massage is intraoral work. Intraoral massage therapy is a type of massage that is performed inside the mouth, specifically on the muscles, soft tissue, and other structures inside the oral cavity. It is used to help relieve pain, discomfort, and limited mobility in the jaw, face, and head caused by TMD.
This type of massage can be useful in targeting specific areas such as the jaw, tongue, and cheek muscles which are closely related to jaw function and are involved in a lot of the TMD related pain and discomfort.
Intraoral massage can be beneficial for patients who have TMD or other conditions that affect the jaw, such as:
-Bruxism (teeth grinding)
-Headaches and migraines
Being comfortable and informed before TMJ treatment is very important. When you book an appointment I will walk you through all aspects of the treatment before we begin and answer any questions you may have. If you're experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or suffer from bruxism massage therapy may be for you.