When considering home care for TMJ, it’s important to determine whether you need professional care. Not all treatments are a good idea, even if they are natural or free of cost. However, if you’ve determined that your case of TMJ syndrome might benefit from home treatment under the watchful eye of your doctor and/or dentist, then the Masseter Muscle Massage may be a good technique for finding relief.
What Is Masseter Muscle Massage?
The masseter muscle is the fleshy muscle attached to the underside of your cheekbone and the length of your lower jaw. Made up of a web of interconnected muscle layers, it is one of the most powerful muscles in the body. When massaged properly, it can bring relief from many of the symptoms associated with TMJ syndrome.
If over-tightened or clenched, the masseter muscle can cause many complications, such as vertigo, tinnitus, headaches, earaches and toothaches. It is the primary chewing muscle and is responsible for the ability to clench your jaw, grind your teeth, and unfortunately, also happens to serve as one of the more common trigger point locations in the human body. Thankfully, it’s a simple matter to massage and soothe your own masseter muscle.
The sweet spot to look for when attempting to massage the masseter muscle is in the notch in your cheekbone, located approximately one inch in front of your ears. Feel around with your thumb on the underside of your cheekbone, until your thumb fits nicely into it. If you apply pressure to this point, you will usually feel a peculiar ache. That is the spot you want to work on.
You may apply gentle pressure or rub gently, and extend this massage to the lower part of the muscle, but most people find the most relief by massaging the notch area. You can apply firmer pressure as your instinct dictates, either in small, kneading circles or just constant pressure. Gravity may also aid in applying pressure by simply lying on your side and allowing the weight of your own head to apply a steady pressure to your fingertip.
After working on each area of the upper cheekbone for an average of 20 seconds, move on down the length of the muscle to the lower jaw. Pause to open and close your mouth to feel the relaxation on the side of the face you’ve been working on, and notice the difference to the untreated side. Always remember to treat both sides of the face to maintain balance.
Remember that Masseter Muscle Massage as home care for TMJ syndrome may help with less serious or persistent cases, and may at best be a temporary relief measure for chronic and persistent pain. So if you suffer from a more severe case of TMJ syndrome, or if you have any questions about Masseter Muscle Massage, please call (303) 691-0307 to schedule an appointment with Denver TMJ dentist Dr. Kevin Berry at the TMJ Therapy and Sleep Center.