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In This Issue:

Massage Therapy and Temporomandibular Joint Pain
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April 2013

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Massage Therapy and Temporomandibular Joint Pain

Evgenia (Jenny) Haugen, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Jenny Haugen RMTTemporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is caused when muscles of mastication (chewing muscles) are overused due to habits such as grinding or clenching the teeth, or gum chewing, which leads to chewing on one side of the mouth only. Stress can put a lot of pressure on the TMJ. Direct or indirect trauma is another reason for TMJ dysfunction - it can include a blow to the jaw or whiplash, mandibular fracture and surgery, as well as dental work that requires the mouth to be held open for a long period of time.

Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • TMJ dysfunction may be bilateral (both sides) or unilateral (one side)
  • Head forward posture may be present
  • Other pathologies such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may also be present
  • TMJ syndrome can be recognized by the clicking and popping sounds
  • Headache may be present, often frontal or temporal as well as ear aches, toothaches and dizziness
  • Jaw pain is aggravated with movement or clenching. Pain is often worse in the morning
  • Hypertonicity is present in the muscles of mastication and the muscles of the shoulders and neck
  • There is decreased range of motion, especially opening of the jaw

Massage Therapy is safe and very effective in relieving TMJ pain and its associated symptoms like headaches, neck tension, and stress. Focusing on the muscles of mastication, neck, shoulders, and head it loosens up the muscle, relieves trigger points and helps to relieve stress. Massage also increases circulation, which in turn can speed healing of irritated joints and muscles. Intra oral massage that alleviates TMJ pain is given during the treatment, vinyl or powder free latex gloves are worn by the therapist using gentle pressure. Your Massage Therapist will ask for your consent to work inside the mouth and a signal will be arranged so that the treatment can be stopped if necessary.

Initially massage therapy is recommended bi-weekly working towards monthly treatments for maintenance. With the proper care from your massage therapist along with your personal home care plan you will be provided, relief from TMJ discomfort can be experienced!


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information and to book your appointment.

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