Is it difficult to enjoy your favorite meal? Does it hurt to yawn or even carry on a conversation? Do you hear clicking when opening your mouth? Do you have frequent jaw pain that leads to headaches? If so, you are not alone.
All month here at Balance Within PT we are highlighting TMJ, headaches, and jaw pain and a few special techniques we have for helping you.
What is TMJ and Why Do I Have Jaw Pain?
TMJ or the Temporomandibular Joint connects your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your head. This joint acts like a hinge. It allows us to eat, talk, yawn and open/close our mouth and if you suffer from TMJ disorder it can cause pain and discomfort from your jaw to your ears, your head and even into your neck and shoulders
How do you know if you have TMJ disorder? The following is a list of possible symptoms.
Signs or Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints
- Headaches or migraines
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Swelling or warmth in your face
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- Neck or Shoulder Pain
TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. Working with a highly trained physical therapist can help ease these pains and relieve you of your struggles with eating and talking.
Have You Ever Released Your Pterygoids?
Your Pterygoids are muscles within your jaw and they play an important role in your daily life. Keep reading to find out more about the muscles in your jaw and how they may be leading to your headaches.
3 of the Main Muscles Groups Involved
If you were to talk to any of our PTs about the technical side of things of TMJ, they’d likely share with you about the importance of releasing three main muscle groups: the medial pterygoids, the lateral pterygoids, and the masseter to start with.
The masseter is the muscle that controls chewing (AKA masticating! See the correlation?), and the pterygoids (named for their appearance, meaning “wing like”) are also responsible for chewing action in the jaw. Both the lateral and medial pterygoids are shaped a bit like wings and help with the hinging action of the jaw with every bite.
All three of these muscles work together to help make things like chewing, biting, grinding and clenching possible, and that is a BIG responsibility. Think about how often these muscles are used everyday between main meal, snacks and even talking. If these muscles aren’t releasing properly, it can lead to jaw pain, popping, clicking, ringing in the ears, and even sinus pressure and headaches. No fun!
How to Release & Stretch Jaw Muscles to Relieve TMJ Pain:
By now you’re probably thinking it’d be a great idea to release some of these superhero muscles in your jaw, am I right?
And lucky you, release is possible! …if you don’t mind sticking a clean or gloved finger into the back of your mouth, at least. I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds!
Watch Dr. Jereme Show Us How It's Done
The release points for these muscles are deep inside the mouth, and it is probably clearest to just show you rather than tell you, so Dr. Jereme has made us a special, 3 minute video showing how, where, and why to fit these spots so you can start finding relief from sore, tight, and painful muscles in the jaw and face. You’ll be amazed at both how tender these places might be, and also how different your entire face feels after even just a minute or two of holding these points. Check out the video below and then hit reply – let us know what you noticed!
While doing this work on yourself can make some noticeable difference, if you struggle with TMJ, clicking, popping, ringing in your ears, or headaches of any kind, our jaw and headache specialists here at Balance Within PT are here to help and can help fine-tune these tools specifically to meet your needs, and even work in ways you just simply are not able to on your own self.
Schedule Your Free Headache or TMJ Consult With An Expert TMJ PT Today
Our TMJ and Headache specialists, Jereme and Jill as well as the rest of our team of highly experienced and trained experts are available to meet with you and create personalized treatment plans around your unique needs to keep you feeling your best and help you heal even if you didn’t think it was possible. You do not need to live with headache, jaw, TMJ, neck or shoulder pain. We can help and look forward to meeting with you to discuss your unique needs and how we can develop a care plan to get back to the life you want to live.
Call us at 262.264.8701 to chat with us about how we can help and get on the path to better movement, or click the button below to inquire for more information.