Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, also known as jaw joint dysfunction, is a serious and painful condition that affects the jaw joints and the surrounding muscles.
TMJ is characterised by limited and painful movement of the jaw. The joint may click when opened and shut. TMJ is often accompanied by tinnitus.
Common causes of TMJ syndrome include:
● Stress, which results in clenching of the jaw and tooth grinding (bruxism)
● Congenital misalignment of the teeth or jaw
● Extensive dental work
A tight jaw can cause pain or discomfort in many parts of your body, including your head, ears, teeth, face, and neck.
The intensity of the pain can vary, and may be described as achy, throbbing, tender, or severe. These feelings may become worse while chewing or yawning.
The exact location of the pain can also vary. If you have a tight jaw, you may feel discomfort on one or both sides of your face, jaw, nose, mouth, or ears.
In addition to pain, other symptoms of a tight jaw may include:
● Limited range of motion when you try to open your mouth
● Locking of the jaw joint
● Clicking sounds
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE TREATMENT
Massaging your jaw may help increase blood flow and reduce muscle tightness.
Myofascial release and advanced massage techniques for clients with TMJ syndrome involves working on the muscles and soft tissues of the neck, shoulders, jaw and head. This will include work inside the mouth which can be extremely beneficial to release soft tissue restrictions.
Most myofascial release treatments take place during a massage therapy session. Your therapist will gently massage the myofascial and feel for stiff or tightened areas.
Normal myofascial should feel pliable and elastic. The therapist will begin massaging and stretching the areas that feel rigid with light manual pressure. The therapist then aids the tissue and supportive sheath in releasing pressure and tightness. The process is repeated multiple times on the same trigger point and on other trigger points until the therapist feels the tension is fully released.
These areas where the massage therapist is working may not be near where the pain originates or where you feel the pain most prominently. Myofascial release works the broader network of muscles that might be causing your pain. It tries to reduce tension throughout your body by releasing trigger points across a broad section of your muscular system.
Myofascial release by massage therapy has very few risks. Whether you’re trying to relax or aiming to ease back pain, massage therapy may be beneficial for pain reduction.
However, massage isn’t ideal for people:
● with burns, injuries, or painful wounds
● with fractures or broken bones
● with fragile or weak bones
● with deep vein thrombosis or deep vein issues
● taking blood-thinning medications
Also, you can massage the area by yourself. Try this by opening your mouth and gently rubbing the muscles next to your ears in a circular motion. This is the area where the temporomandibular joints are located. Try this several times a day, including right before bed.
There are also treatments that may provide relief. These include:
● Hot or cold compress applied to the jaw muscles
● Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other over-the-counter pain relievers
● Prescription medications, including muscle relaxers or antidepressants
● Head and neck stretches
● Shortwave diathermy laser treatment
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