TMJ DYSFUNCTION AND MASSAGE:
When your TMJ muscles are out of balance, misaligning the jaw, it can cause a long list of unpleasant symptoms. Your TMJ joint is the most frequently used joint in the body, opening and closing between 2,000 and 3,000 times per day, and the forces generated at this joint are the highest in the body, generating over 150 lbs of pressure.
Studies show that bodywork and massage have proven very effective in about 80% of cases involving disfunction of the TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint and is a much more appealing option over surgery for most sufferers. With massage, TMJD sufferers can experience great relief from many symptoms including jaw pain and locking, earaches, headaches and tension, popping and clicking, bruxism or grinding, shoulder and back pain, and difficulty chewing.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR SESSION:
Sessions will vary depending on individual needs but can include work on all of the major TMJ muscles (masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, lateral pterygoid, suprahyoid muscles, temporalis, and digastric muscles) as well as muscles in the neck and shoulder regions.
During a 60 minute session, your therapist will start with a general assessment, checking the symmetry of the masseter muscles, the alignment of the teeth, the tracking of the jaw, palpation of the TMJ muscles, and inquiry into client history. Once a general assessment has been done, your therapist will first begin by relaxing the muscles in the neck and shoulders and other surrounding areas of the TMJ. After these surrounding muscles have been relaxed, your therapist will move on to the intraoral part of the session: wearing surgical gloves, your therapist will have you open your mouth so that she can massage and release tension in the inner TMJ muscles.
30 minute sessions will include a shorter assessment and focus mostly on the intraoral massage. These sessions are great as follow up or maintenance sessions for those who have already received at least one full 60 minute session.
IS INTRAORAL MASSAGE UNCOMFORTABLE?
Most clients find this work inside the mouth to be quite relaxing, opening, and profound; it provides the release that they have long been craving and could never quite accomplish with basic massage techniques. Your therapist will make sure to provide you with ways to communicate with her so that you are always in control of the session and can stop or adjust at any point during the work. If you are not used to this type of work, it can feel intense at first as trigger points are released and TMJ muscles relax, so your therapist will be sure to work slowly and sensitively.
HOW MANY SESSIONS ARE NEEDED?
The answer to this question varies greatly from person to person depending on their personal history, severity of symptoms, and how much self-care they do on their own. We recommend starting off with at least one 60 minute session and then scheduling follow up sessions of 30 or 60 minutes as needed. Usually, those experiencing TMJ dysfunction have spent years developing imbalances, and it is not something that will be fully released in one session. For most clients, great progress can be made after an initial session, but most will want to schedule a couple follow up sessions shortly thereafter before tapering off to a maintenance schedule of more infrequent visits. Your therapist will provide you with some self-care techniques and suggestions that will help to make the bodywork even more effective. This self-care “homework” is simple yet crucial to the degree of success that clients will experience.
HOW MUCH DOES A SESSION COST?
You can find our session and membership rates here.