Article by Melissa Richardson
Did you know that your headaches may be caused by your Jaw?
Your jaw and the muscles (of mastication) associated with movement of your jaw are some of the most active muscles in your body.
Think about it. When you talk, when you eat, when you yawn, when you “clench your jaw”, when you “open wide” at the doctor or dentist. (I know some of you did these movements while reading this!)
All of those movements are made with the muscles of your jaw.
Have you heard of TMJ Disorder or “Lock Jaw” (TMJD, TMD, TMJS)? This is a disorder, dysfunction or syndrome of the jaw muscles that make it difficult or painful to move your jaw for these everyday activities. In some cases, your jaw may get stuck in one position and movement is inhibited. This can be very painful.
In addition to being difficult or painful to move your jaw, one of the muscles that facilitates jaw movement resides on both sides of your head. This muscle, Temporalis, elevates and retracts your lower jaw (mandible). This is why it is called TMJ. It stands for Temporomandibular Joint. Temporo for Temporalis (or temple) and Mandibular for Mandible (lower jaw).
I know some of you who “clenched” your jaw while reading, felt the pressure not only on the sides of your cheeks, but also in your temples.
When these muscles become tightened from all the movement, a headache can occur. This will be felt in your temples mostly, but can also be felt in your ears, the front of your forehead, behind your eye and in your cheek bones.
The good news is that you can find relief with massage therapy! During a TMJ massage, the massage therapist will integrate several techniques to loosen these muscles. Some of the techniques used include accessing the muscles inside your mouth. Did you know that a massage therapist can work inside your mouth? The therapist will first assess the dysfunction to determine which muscle is causing the most discomfort. From there massage of the exterior and interior jaw muscles (with a gloved hand) will be done in conjunction to provide relief of these tightened muscles.
In several cases, people have found relief of pain and headache after just one treatment. However, several treatments may be necessary to maintain decreased pain and decreased headaches.
Here at Complete Care Chiropractic, we are very passionate about resolving all of our patient’s symptoms and helping to ease them of pain and discomfort. Our massage therapist suffers from TMJD and knows the discomfort you are experiencing. Schedule with her today to find relief.