If you are suffering from jaw or facial discomfort, intra-oral massage can be a very effective way to relieve TMJ pain. Here’s what to expect at your appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist:
Your therapist will need to assess your TMJ (temporomandibular joint, a.k.a. your jaw) first to help determine the cause of dysfunction and understand the full symptom picture. This may include asking questions, having you open and close your mouth while they observe the movements of the jaw and any pain, clicking or locking. They may also measure your ability to open your mouth. Once on the massage table, the therapist may palpate the joint while you open and close your mouth so they can feel what’s happening in the joint during movement.
This treatment is done with you lying on your back, face up on the massage table. If during the assessment the therapist determines it beneficial, they may also do some treatment on the neck and shoulders as tension in these areas can contribute to TMJ dysfunction.
The therapist will begin the treatment on your face and jaw/TMJ area. This may include under the cheekbones, over the sinuses and in the temple area. Work will be done over the TMJ area as well. If the therapist feels it necessary, they may talk to you about performing intra-oral massage. This is a massage inside the mouth. Usually, this means treatment of the muscles inside the cheek, but outside the teeth, which reduces the chances of gagging or discomfort. This area can be quite tender to treat, but treatment inside the mouth can be up to 80% more effective than treatment of the same muscles outside the mouth.
After the treatment the therapist will reassess the jaw, again having you open and close your mouth to observe the movements of the jaw, as well as measuring your ability to open your mouth. This allows both you and the therapist to see what effect the treatment has had.
The therapist will then provide home care instructions, stretches, exercises and hydrotherapy.
If you are suffering from TMJ discomfort, consider booking an appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist who specializes in intra-oral massage, such as myself. For more information, please contact our Oakville clinic, located in the heart of Bronte Village, for details.