TMJ disorder is very common, affecting over 10 million people in the United States. The temporomandibular joint is the small joint located in front of each ear that attaches the lower jaw to the skull. These joints work in combination with various jaw muscles and ligaments, making it possible to open and close the mouth, chew, speak and swallow. When the temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles and ligaments are prevented from working together properly, a painful TMJ disorder may occur.
TMJ disorder can be managed with massage therapy. Massage therapy reduces the tension of the chewing muscles to eliminate “knots” in the muscles surrounding the jaw area. The temporomandibular joint, most commonly known as the jaw joint, is a flexible hinge which connects the mandible or lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. It is found in front of the ear on each side of the head.
Possible causes of TMJ-related symptoms include arthritis, fractures, dislocations, and structural problems present since birth. However, for many people with TMJ disorders, the cause is unknown.
Certain factors can make people more prone to TMJ disorder.
- Having one dominant chewing side
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – many people grind their teeth when they sleep or clench their teeth during stressful situations and this places unnecessary stress on the jaw.
- Whiplash Injury to the neck.
- Dentures – wearing worn-down or ill-fitting dentures can cause jaw imbalance.
- Repetitive Chewing – consistent gum chewing or tendency to eat other chewy foods can weaken jaw muscles.
- Telephone Use – using the phone for long periods of time whilst cradling the phone between the chin and shoulder can cause jaw pain.
- Poor posture – holding the head forward while looking at a computer all day strains the muscles of the face and neck.
- Dental Work – prolonged periods of holding the mouth open
Massage is one of many techniques that can help address the cause of TMJ disorders. Whether the pain comes from a jaw injury, arthritis, or simply the fatigue from repeatedly grinding or clenching your teeth, regular massage therapy can make a difference. Various massage techniques can provide holistic and effective treatment for TMJ disorder. At Jenna Birtch Registered Massage Therapy Clinic we happily provide massage therapy for TMJ disorder. If you are interested or wish to speak to a Registered Massage Therapist, please contact the clinic at 519-854-9515.
Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, 3800 N. Interstate Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hampton T. Improvements needed in the management of temporomandibular joint disorders. JAMA. 2008;299(10):1119-1121.