What is Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJ).
Well for starters it’s a bit of a mouthful! We usually refer to it as TMJ pain. It is often linked with dental issues, teeth grinding, headaches,migraine, ear disorders and neck pain.
I see it a lot in my clinic although people are usually there about their neck or back pain. So when I ask them about headaches, and pain in the jaw they often look surprised and nod their head. Yes they do have that kind of pain, but they hadn’t thought it was linked.
One thing you quickly learn as a massage therapist or any type f body work, is that pretty much every thing is linked!
Like any constant pain TMJ can be very debilitating. People can struggle to eat, talk and sleep, which really takes it’s toll on their quality of life.
What Causes TMJ?
It’s usually caused by chronic tension, gritting or grinding of teeth, and generally linked with stress and anxiety. The muscles around the jaw are very strong. Just think about the pressure needed to bite into food, how often have you been unable to peel something or tear something and you’ve done it with your teeth? Constant pressure on those same muscles will cause some serious issues over the long term, and pain and discomfort in the shorter term.
What can you do about it?
- You can speak to your dentist as sometimes using a mouth guard at night can help. Or, there might be an underlying issue with your teeth or jaw which they can help with.
- For the tension, then you need some massage work. Neck and shoulder treatment combined with specific work on head and face can really ease the problem. I have had people come to me barely able to open their mouths and after a few sessions they are feeling a lot easier and able to believe that they don’t need to live with this pain.
- As ever, I would also give you some self treatment suggestions too, usually a pdf of suggested exercises and stretches, explaining the muscles and how best to self treat. I fully believe that the best way for you to feel better is if you have some control over your treatment. Stretches and other home care suggestions can make the difference between feeling almost better and finding full relief.
If you, or someone you know, suffers from this type of pain, then don’t hesitate to seek help. If you are in Fife or Edinburgh then get in touch today to arrange your appointment.