Most massage therapists get into massage, not just because they have a calling to help others, but, typically, they are also on a journey of self-discovery into their own bodies and the pain and dysfunction within. That being said, when I was in my early twenties, I had to have all four of my impacted wisdom teeth extracted. During that process my jaw was hyper-extended. Once I was cleared, I returned to work. That very evening, on the way home, I was rear ended, driving me into the car in front of me. This caused major whiplash. From that point on, I had TMJD and had to wear a nightguard.
TMJD has many symptoms ranging from clicking of the jaw, headaches, ear pain, jaw/cheek pain, neck pain, bruxism and many others.
It wasn’t until massage school that I learned that the muscles in the jaw, neck and the inside of the mouth could be ‘released’ to relieve bruxism/TMJD. Bruxism is the grinding and clenching of the jaw that almost always goes with TMJD. Bruxism has many side effects such as the need for extra dental visits, the wearing down of the enamel, cracked teeth, insomnia, and headaches.
There are many muscles that contribute to TMJD. The traps, temporalis and sternocleidomastoid can contribute because they attach very close to the jaw near the ear. (We will discuss front forward posture in a later article). These muscles can be accessed externally. However, for the biggest relief intra-oral work is needed. The masseter, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid need to accessed inside the mouth.
Usually the relief is instantaneous, and I’ve had quite a few clients that get emotional just because of the relief!
Please do some research, ask some questions! Become an expert of your body.
And if you ever think of a question that you want me to write about, please let me know!
Julie Fisher NC/SC LMBT
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