There are various methods of relieving TMJ, some of which includes medication, splints or even surgery. Adjustments made to the jaw by a chiropractor is not always successful simply because the temporomadibular joint is not really a bone out of place that just needs to be put back into place but it is a combination of a lot of muscle tension and a lot of things that keep the joint in place.
Causes of TMJ Pain
The number one reason or the root cause of TMJ is related to recent dental work. TMJ pain can arise after you have some work done in your teeth and every time you bite or chew it throws off the mechanics of your entire not just your jaw but the muscles around the jaw, the muscles in your upper neck and the muscles that go down the neck into the shoulders. It can create a cascade of all sorts of compensations that can really throw your body off.
So if you had recent dental work go back to the dentist and have them double check to make sure that all your teeth are fitting perfectly because just one tooth that’s not quite fitting can create a huge effect on your jaw.
Gallbladder problems can is also a potential cause of pain on the right side of the jaw. This is because the gallbladder being underneath the right rib cage is very close to the diaphragm which is supplied by a nerve which goes right up to your neck. If this nerve is irritated by a swollen gallbladder, th acupressure meridian system can cross over and cause pain in your right jaw.
Normally it’s going to be in the right shoulder or the upper back but it can go right into the right jaw. So if you are working on the jaw for the next 10 years and the real problem is your gallbladder, you are never going to see change.
Massage Techniques for TMJ relief
These are three steps for TMJ relief whether you have pain, clicking or popping.
1. Massage opposite side
The first step is to locate which side it hurts the most then you massage the muscles of the opposite side. You are basically going to be working around the joint. So if it hurts on the right side, don’t massage on that side, instead work on the opposite side.
You are going to basically rub right above the TMJ and massage that point really good. Then you’re going to work below the joint because there is also a muscles below the joint. You are going to really massage that really good and even right into the joint as well which is right in the front of that your opening on your ear.
What you are going to notice while doing this is that it is very tender. Most people haven’t realized how tender it is on the opposite side where you hurt. Massaging the opposite brings relief to the painful TMJ.
It is recommended that you rate the severity of pain from a scale from 1 to 10 and then re-rate it after you do this.
2. Muscle stretch inside your mouth
This will probably going to give you the most relief and involves you massaging the buccinator muscle and the masseter muscle. To do this, you will put a finger or thumb in your mouth up into the inside of your cheek then moving higher, you press up and press outward.
Then you are going to angle it to the mid part of the cheek and press outward before going lower and press outward again. It involves you going on the inside of the mouth and the outside of the teeth behind a few big muscles and gently pressing up and out.
This is going to be very tender but it will give you a tremendous amount of relief because the muscle is in a constant state of tightness and spasm so you’re going to give your muscles a lot of relief. You are going to do this on both sides.
You are going to spend more time holding that position but don’t try to push it because it is going to be very tender. You are going to hold those positions until the muscle relaxes and your jaw is going to feel really good.
This step involves working on the main muscles that cause your jaw to shut. It involves stretching them a bit to create more space in your jaw and that alone will probably make you feel really good.
3. Exercise opposing jaw closing muscles
The great majority of the strength of your jaw is in the closing action and not opening your mouth. You spend a lot of time clenching or closing, so those muscles, a lot of times, are over balanced to the point where they can create pain in your joints.
For this exercise, you want to work on the opposing muscles, that is, the muscles that open your mouth. The way you are going to do this is to just keep your mouth shut and you’re going to hold your chin and then try to open your mouth. You will do about three sets of ten.
This exercise helps you strengthen the opposing muscles that have been overworked again giving your jaw muscle a chance to balance itself out.