Have you experienced persistent pain in or around your jaw recently? Has your dentist warned you about Bruxism – periodic repetitive clenching or rhythmic forceful grinding of the teeth where you have worn down your teeth by grinding on them through the night or when you wake up? Do ever you tend to clench your jaw when you are stressed?
TMJ Disorder is a term often used to distinguish temporomandibular disorders (TMD), which occur as a result of an array of problems with the jaw joint, jaw, and facial muscles that regulate chewing, talking, and movement of the jaw. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint which attaches the lower jaw, the mandible, to the skull’s temporal bone. People with TMD experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary and just from time to time, or it may linger for years.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Human Anatomy and Physiology by Elaine N. Marieb states “Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascia is classified by layer, as superficial fascia, deep fascia, and visceral or parietal fascia, or by its function and anatomical location.”
Myofascia is defined by the Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing as, “Of or relating to the fascia surrounding and separating muscle tissue.” Myofascial trigger points are described as hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with noticeable “nodules” in tight muscle fiber bands. These nodules are elevated and compact areas of tissue and/or fluid under or inside the skin with a diameter larger than half a centimeter. Nodules may form on muscles or tendons in response to injury.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In myofascial pain syndrome, pressure on sensitive spots in the trigger points of your muscles causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body – known as referred pain. This often unexplained pain frequently radiates from these points of local tenderness to broader areas, sometimes distant from the trigger point itself.
Myofascial pain syndrome normally occurs after a muscle such as the muscles moving the jaw, has been contracted repetitively causing a chronic strain. It might be caused by repetitive motions while working or leisure activities or by stress-related muscle tension.
How Did We Get To This Level Of Discomfort?
Numerous myofascial trigger points can cause, or are the result of temporomandibular joint disorder problems. Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or muscles of the head and neck such as from whiplash or traumatic injury, is capable of causing TMD.
Using one side of the mouth for chewing food more than the other side can cause the muscles of mastication (chewing) to be asymmetrical and can wear down the cartilage of the jaw joint.
Additionally, the jaw is a ball and socket joint, and dislocation of the soft cushion between the ball and socket can result in TMD. People dealing with issues of osteoarthritis or the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ can soon mature into TMD.
TMD also results directly from stress of all kinds. Many things can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth as an outward manifestation of physical or emotional stress.
Symptoms of TMD include but are not limited to:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ. Our jaws were not meant to bite down harder than necessary for chewing food and teeth wear down quicker than one may think.
- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when chewing, speaking, or opening the mouth as much as it should be able to widen. Nausea, sinus pressure or pain
- Limited range of motion and ability to open the mouth as wide as you used to.
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “locked” in the open- or closed-mouth position.
- “Clicking”, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain).
- Swelling on the side of the face or a tired feeling in the face.
- Difficulty or problems chewing or a sharp uncomfortable bite perhaps because the upper and lower teeth are not rightly fitting together.
- Other common symptoms include headaches, neck pain, toothaches, nausea, dizziness, or hearing issues and earaches.
- Having too forward of a head posture can cause stress to accumulate in one or more problem areas causing tightness of the neck and back.
Treating Symptoms of TMJ/TMD With Massage Therapy
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms of TMD then you should consider massage therapy treatments that directly address painful sensations. Regular TMD focused massages on your jaw, neck, and facial muscles, not only make you feel better in that moment but will help your body gradually heal as much as it can.The amazing benefits of Massage Therapy can assist in the realignment of problem areas, relieve the muscle tension and relax the neck and facial muscles by engaging those myofascial trigger points around the neck and jaw.
Using Relaxation Therapy to Your Advantage
A stress-management massage regimen that includes relaxation therapy is also necessary to relax all of the body and not just attend to the specific problem areas associated with TMD. Massage works wonders on stress by fully relaxing the nervous system and stimulating production of your body’s feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. A full body massage can work the trigger points that connect to your neck and jaw to ease the discomfort.
Scheddule a Massage Therapy Treatment Today!
Please call directly or contact Zen Body Therapy online if you have any questions about the Massage Therapy Treatment process. We are more happy to do everything a professional and experienced massage therapist can in order to improve your comfort and wellbeing.