How does a TMJ massage help?
The temporomandibular joint is unique to the body because it is two joints in one, and these two joints can differ from one another in shape, size, and function. A person may experience pain in one site but the cause of pain may be sourced in the other joint. Teeth also play a role in the function of this joint. The brain understands that teeth have a specific way to fit together and interrelate, so the temporomandibular muscles force the joint to move in order to accommodate this.
Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMJD, affects around 30% of the population. Some common TMJD symptoms are:
- Neck and back pain
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Bruxism (grinding or clenching)
- Earaches or ringing in the ears
The TMJ is one of our most active joints. The muscles at the TMJ are engaged in speaking, chewing, and swallowing. Visits to the dentist that have patients sitting with the jaw depressed for long periods of time may also put stress on the joint.
A TMJ massage is used to address the muscle tension accumulated from everyday use. Therapists massage the muscles along the jawline, around the mouth, and put special attention into the TMJ. The TMJ is valuable because this is one of two joints where all nerves cross-over. By addressing muscle and joint issues at the mandible, we greatly improve the body’s communication with the nervous system thereby improving body function overall.