Definition: dysfunction of the temporal mandibular joint (jaw): displacement of cartilage disk
TMJ syndrome refers to dysfunctions of the temporal mandibular joint capsule.
TMD also includes other conditions involving the jaw structure and the muscular system such as occlusal interferences, muscular disorders, neurological disorders and biochemical imbalances. Other terms for this condition include myofascial pain and dysfunction, craniomandibular dysfunction, and masticatory muscle pain.
Causes: jaw misalignment, cranial misalignment, vertebral misalignment, scoliosis, tooth grinding, stress, bad posture, hypoglycemia (tooth grinding and clenching more prevalent), whiplash, poor dental work, trauma, poor diets causing excessive inflammation
Causative Factors of TMJ Dysfunction from Judith Delany’s article
Some of the most common factors include:
- Intrajoint dysfunction – adhesions, scarring, displacement
or destruction of disc(s), arthrosis, deposition of calcium
- Musculoskeletal – hypertonic muscles, referred pain from
trigger points, postural distortions, skeletal misalignments
Occlusal factors – loss of vertical dimension, premature
contacts, other malocclusal conditions
- Psychological – stress load, emotional distress, depression, neurosis
- Biochemical – hormonal, neurostimulants, allergies/food
sensitivities (both known and hidden), chemical exposures,
drugs (prescription, OTC, recreational), mineral and
vitamin deficiencies, biochemical imbalances or toxicity
Signs/Symptoms: jaw pain, muscle spasms around joint, clicking, tooth grinding, popping, pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, tinnitus , tooth aches, ear pain without infection, hearing changes, dizziness, sinus pain, jaw clenching, reduced range of motion in opening the jaw, pain with or without opening the jaw, difficulty biting or chewing, poor posture, scoliosis
Diagnosis : Often involves exams and testing by dentists, orthopedic doctors or other health care professionals using x-rays, mri’s, muscle palpation and range of motion measurements along with examination of the alignment of the jaw and teeth.
Indications: Massage to realign problem areas, especially, temporalis, masseter, pterygoids, cranial realignment, cervical realignment. Intra oral work is usually needed but may be out of the scope of practice in your state.
Contraindications: none: Refer to appropriate health care practitioner; Surgery can be avoided.
Self Massage for TMJD
Pull on the little tab on your the middle of your ear and gently move your jaw side to side and move in it little circles.
Put two pieces of cotton in your mouth while just sitting at home or at your desk to keep the mouth open slightly taking the pressure off your jaw to help it relax
Clinical Massage Therapy Books
Other Methods of Treatment : Physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture
Medical Massage for Jaw and Joint Disorders By Boris Prilutsky, MA – Massage Today
TMJ: Primary Problem, or Tip of the Iceberg? By John Upledger, DO, OMM Massage Today
Mind-Body Awareness Helps TMJ Sufferers – Massage Magazine
Asanas for TMJ – Yoga Journal