By Ali Grenier, RMT

What is TMJ?

Your TMJ is essentially the jaw joint on either side of your face that allows you to open and shut your mouth and move it side to side. When this joint is not functioning properly, it can cause pain at the site of the joint as well as pain that radiates to other places including the head and neck. For some, this pain can be quite severe and can interfere with regular life activities.

What causes it?

TMJ disorder can be the result of genetics, an injury, arthritis or overuse, leading to a wearing down of the joint. It is also important to note that your facial pain may have another source. You may be experiencing facial pain from clenching your jaw, which can lead to tight muscles, or from teeth grinding. You may experience discomfort while talking for long periods of time or from chewing foods that are a little tougher and require a little more energy- like meat or really crusty bread.


Treatment- Facial and Intra-Oral massage

Your first step is to have a conversation with your healthcare providers to determine the potential source(s) of your facial pain so we can determine the best treatment plan for you. As Registered Massage Therapists, we are trained in many different techniques to aid you in your recovery. Our first option consists of treating the facial muscles on the surface of your face. Many people feel relief from their symptoms from this type of treatment.

If the pain persists or has been problematic for some time we also have the option of intra-oral massage. There are muscles that affect the jaw and the face that are better accessed from the inside of the mouth. With a gloved hand, your massage therapist will massage these muscles inside your mouth to loosen and relax your jaw. Many clients feel relief from this sort of treatment when typical facial massage has not had good results.

If you are experiencing jaw or facial pain, talk to your massage therapist today!

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