If you are in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth as you sleep at night or because of stress, you run the risk of incurring chronic pain issues in your jaw. If that happens, there is a very good chance the pain will be coming from the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the Temporomandibular joint (jaw). You would likely be diagnosed with Temporomandibular Joint disorder.

Since the condition is progressive and can lead to chronic pain issues not only in the jaw but also in the neck, fast treatment is necessary. One of the best ways to treat Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is by TMJ massage therapy.

In the sections below, the information is going to focus on describing Temporomandibular joint dysfunction in more depth, possible treatment options, and discussing ways that TMJ massage therapy can help address the problem.

More About TMJ Joint Disorder

The primary cause of TMJ joint disorder is the grinding or clenching of teeth while stressed or sleeping.

Other potential causes of this disorder/condition include:

  • Arthritis in the jaw
  • Overuse of the jaw joint via chewing dense foods or even gum
  • Injuries to soft tissues in the jawbone area
  • Structural issues in the jaw or spine

The most common symptoms of TMJ joint disorder are:

  • Tenderness in the tissue surrounding the joint
  • Jaw and neck pain
  • A popping or clicking of the jaw joint
  • Extensive pain when chewing
  • Ear aches/tinnitus and headaches
  • The feeling of having chronic toothaches
  • Intermittent locking of the jaw joint
  • Aching facial pain (cheeks and chin area)

Treating of TMJ Joint Disorder

Treatment for a diagnosed Temporomandibular joint disorder is best handled as a progression of treatment options. The least invasive option would be a therapeutic approach, which might include oral splints or mouth guards to prevent teeth clenching or grinding, mental health counseling to address issues related to stress and anxiety, and a physical therapy option like TMJ massage therapy (more on this option below).

If therapeutic options don’t offer much relief of symptoms, the addition of prescription medications might help. The medicinal options would include antidepressants, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers. The problem with using many of these medications is they only offer a temporary solution for pain. That’s why a therapeutic option might still be necessary.

If therapy and medicine don’t work, invasive surgical procedures would step to the front of the line as the best treatment options. Surgical and procedural options could include steroid injections, TMJ arthroscopy, Modified condylotomy, and Open-joint surgery. Of course, surgical options are very invasive and create inherent risks.

How TMJ Massage Therapy Can Help with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The least invasive option with the highest possibility of success is TMJ massage.

To facilitate the TMJ massage therapeutic process, your therapist would work to massage the muscles and fascia (tough, dense connective tissue that surrounds muscle and soft tissues) in the jaw region. The objective would be to massage trigger points in the jaw area (inside and outside) with gentle isometric pressure as needed. The massage process would also address trigger points in the following areas: the neck, facial muscles, and the scalp.

Note: Trigger points are the knots that form in muscles and soft tissues. Presumably, these knots are the culprits that are causing muscle tension and the resulting pain.

What this therapeutic technique seeks to do is relax the jaw and facial muscles by increasing the flow of the blood to the area being massaged. As the muscles relax, the pain should decrease.

Each treatment could last 30-60 minutes. As a patient, you would want to schedule appointments as necessary until you are no longer experiencing pain related to TMJ Joint Disorder. Once the issue has been significantly resolved, there are some preventative measures you can take to make sure the disorder stays at bay.

The preventative measures you could take would include:

  • Wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent grinding and clenching of teeth and the jaw
  • Getting plenty of exercise for stress relief
  • Taking sleeping medications at night to ensure you sleep better while relaxed
  • Physical therapy treatments to help strengthen the facial and jaw muscles

There are other massage therapies that might offer relief from the pain associated with TMJ Joint Disorder.

Some other options would be:

Neuromuscular Therapy
Applying pressure to trigger points in the jaw muscles

Swedish Massage Therapy
Full-body Swedish massage techniques create a total state of relaxation that can have a positive effect on the facial and jaw muscles and soft tissues.

If you are dealing with pain issues related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, it’s not something you are going to be able to endure over a long period. The sooner you can address the problem, the less likely it is to progress to the point that more invasive treatment measures become necessary.

Contact us by phone at 303-630-9603 or via our online form.