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TMJ Intra-Oral Massage
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are pain and limited movement in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) of the jaw. TMD issues can be caused by problems involving the jaw bones, or by tightness or trauma to the muscles and other soft tisses in the surrounding area. Chronic clenching of the teeth and bruxism can also lead to head and neck pain.
Other common symptoms of TMD are:
- Pain, swelling, or tiredness in the jaw
- Limited range of motion of the jaw, or a jaw that gets "stuck" open or closed
- Clicking, grinding, or popping sounds in the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
Many TMD sufferers today are turning to massage therapy to augment the care they receive from their dentist. In a 2003 survey of complementary and alternative medical techniques (CAM) for TMD, over 60% of patients who received CAM therapies ranked massage as "very" or "extremely satisfactory" in reducing their symptoms.
What is TMJ massage?
TMJ massage, or intra-oral massage, is a deep tissue massage technique that addresses the muscles, tendons and fascia of the jaw and face. The major muscles addressed usually include the temporalis and masseter muscles of the face and the pterygoid muscles inside the mouth.
The therapist works to release tension and diminish trigger points in these muscles and the nearby tissues. By easing the tightness around the jaw, the entire head and neck area can feel less painful and more relaxed.
What can I expect?
In a typical TMJ massage session, the therapist starts by massaging the muscles of your face. This warms up the facial tissues and releases tightness in the larger muscles.
Then, wearing a sugical glove for the mutual protection of the client and the therapist, the therapist will ask you to open your mouth so they can massage the internal muscles of the jaw. If you ever need to close your mouth to swallow, say something, or simply to take a break; raise your hand, and your therapist will remove their hand so you can move your mouth as needed.
Once the deeper muscles are treated, the therapist will finish by massaging your neck and other areas affected by your TMD. TMJ massage can also be incorporated into a longer massage session that addresses more of the body.
Does it hurt?
We won't lie - it can get intense. The muscles deep in the mouth are not used to being touched. Some clients report feeling "therapeutic pain" (or "hurts so good"). However, the discomfort level should never be overwhelming. If it gets to be too uncomfortable to endure, let your therapist know. The therapist can lighten the pressure, or change the angle of pressure to make the treatment easier to receive.
How do I book an appointment?
You can book a 30 minute TMJ session, or you can request that intra-oral massage be included in your 1 hour, 90 minute or 2 hour massage session. We will be happy to match you to a skilled therapist who can meet your specific needs.
"Oral Care: Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)." WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/oral-
health/guide/temporomandibulardisorders . August 20, 2014.
DeBar L, Vuckovic N, Scheider J, et al. "Use of complementary and alternative medicine for
temporomandibular disorders." J Orofac Pain. 2003;17(3):224–236.