Open Wide: How Bodywork Decreases TMJ Pain & Tension

The TMJ (Temporomandibular joint), where the jaw hinges, glides in a track and when it becomes even slightly misaligned, pain and discomfort can soon follow.   

How does this happen?

The human jaw muscles are super strong and can sustain up to 100 pounds of pressure.  When teeth clench or grind at night a lot of this force can be used unknowingly, compromising the muscle tissue and causing tightness in the TMJ.

The jaw is also a place linked to survival. Oftentimes feelings of stress and anxiety accompany jaw pain.

Tight neck, shoulders and headaches are also usual suspects when there’s jaw pain.

How can bodywork help?

Gentle to firm pressure can be applied to the areas around the jaw, where muscles are sore and contracted to guide the proper alignment, creating space in the TMJ, head and neck.

Intra-oral bodywork, provided with latex-type gloves, releases the small, hard to contact areas in the jaw, resulting in sustained relief.

What can I do?

Schedule a session with a bodyworker, cranio-sacral therapist or a chiropractor. 

Also, try this: Using gentle pressure start with 5 grams ( the weight of an American nickel), put your index fingers at the temples on your head, drop your fingers a ¼ of an inch BELOW the temples. Keeping your fingers there, feel what happens when you slowly open and close your mouth. 

Add another 5 or 10 grams of pressure and continue to slowly open and close your jaw (make sure not to press too hard and give yourself a headache). After a few times, let your jawbone move to the left and right sides, gently. 

This will help to open the space in the TMJ. 

(This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or medical health care provider. Randi Kofsky, CMT does not diagnose and massage therapy is an adjunct form of care, and not a substitute for medical treatment or obstetric care from a medical doctor or physical therapist.)

For more information or to book an appointment call Randi at (415) 745 - 2542 .

Randi Kofsky