Seeking the Cause
Assessment begins with looking at the symmetry of mouth opening and closing, and habits of clenching and/or grinding. The health and function of the sinuses, ears, cranial bones, speech and breathing patterns, as well as dental history will all be considered. Pain is often reduced when the tightness in the chewing muscles is diminished or resolved.
TMJ pain and dysfunction frequently involves a vicious cycle comprised of many primary and secondary components. The goal is to identify and separate the components so that they are no longer influencing each other.
TMJ pain and dysfunction may be secondary to other conditions. Those who are troubled with headaches often have clenching and TMJ dysfunction as a silent contributor. Many cases of scoliosis or Low Back Pain also present TMJ difficulties. Motor vehicle accidents and sport injuries often lay the foundation for TMJ issues. Massage Therapy’s holistic approach and generously timed sessions will address these related issues as well.
Have you ever experienced pain while talking or chewing? A popping or clicking in your jaw? Do you have a history of grinding your teeth? These are a few of the signs of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD).
The most common element of TMJD is myofascial pain-discomfort in the muscles (myo) and their connective tissue coverings (fascia). Massage can relieve myofascial pain by releasing muscle tension and stretching contracted fascia of the muscles that control the jaw, neck and shoulders. As tissues relax, circulation increases. This softens fascia, cleanses tissues of irritating by-products of inflammation, and improves nutrition to stressed areas. Significant pain relief can result, including a decrease in the strength and frequency of headaches.