The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. There are many causes including direct injury to the teeth or jaw, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding, poor posture, stress, arthritis, and excessive gum chewing.
Symptoms you could experience with TMJ syndrome:
- Pain in the joint
- Clicking and popping in the jaw
- Ear pain and popping sounds in ears
- Stiff or sore jaw muscles
- Pain when chewing
- Pain in the temple area and across the forehead
- Locked jaw
- Neck tension
One of the best treatments for TMJ syndrome is massage. The therapist will work on the outside jaw muscles as well as the inside jaw muscles. This is called inter-oral massage and is done inside the mouth with a gloved hand. It is gentle and non-invasive and helps to relieve pain and re-align the jaw.
The therapist will do a short assessment to determine the exact cause of the problem and treat accordingly.
Dentists often recommend massage as a treatment for TMJ before trying expensive oral appliances or surgery.