TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint is the joint at which the lower jaw and head connect. There are muscles that attach the bone to the head and they move, allowing the jaw to move up and down. This joint has a hinge and slide motion to it. The most common symptoms are tenderness or pain in or around the jaw and ear where the joint is. Difficulty or pain while chewing, headaches, burning sensation in the facial area, blurry vision, locking of the jaw, dislocation of the jaw, pain. And ringing or popping sounds in the ear and even pain in the neck and shoulders.
CAUSES OF TMJ
Some of the factors that are believed to link to TMJ include;
Erosion of the shock-absorbing disk in between the mandible
Misaligned teeth which can contribute to a misaligned jaw
Excessive gum chewing
Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Direct injury or trauma to the jaw
Keep in mind that only some of these are definite known causes, the fact is, many doctors aren’t really sure as to the exact causes. And they are not as to why more women than men are susceptible to TMJ dysfunction, it may be something to do with the female chromosome or hormones.
MOUTH MASSAGE AS A TREATMENT FOR TMJ DISORDER
Mouth massage, or intraoral massage as it’s commonly called Is a procedure performed by a massage therapist for clients with TMJ. It is usually administered by placing gloves on the hand and opening the patient’s mouth to gently massage the muscles inside the mouth to relieve the pain from TMJ. For some people, this type of treatment is quite painful, while others do not experience additional discomfort from having this treatment done. During treatment the lateral and medial Pterygoids are manipulated inside the mouth, being gently compressed in order to release tension in the muscles and alleviate trigger points.
During each TMJ session we also use a technique called muscle stripping which gently eases tension out of neck muscles such as the SCM and the muscles of the shoulders and upper back. Since the muscles in the jaw are connected to the neck and down to the pectoral area this myofascial release technique can also help correct shoulder posture, bad posturing can lead to TMJ pain.