Complimentary care for tension and pain in Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Have you ever experienced facial pain while talking or chewing? A "popping" or "clicking" on the side of your face along your jaw? Or possibly you have a history of grinding your teeth? These can be a few of the signs or symptoms that decribe a condition of the jaw joint known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction(TMJD)
Most need surgery, but along with dental attention, many sufferers find tremendous relief from gentle, relaxing massage. Researchers generally agree the most common form of TMJD is myofascial pain, that is, discomfort in the muscles and their connective tissue coverings. Most frequently involved are muscles that control the jaw, neck and shoulders. Massage can relieve myofascial pain by releasing muscle tension and stretching contracted fascia. Massage also increases circulation which softens fascia, cleanses tissues of irritating byproducts of inflammation, and improves nutrition to stressed areas. Improved circulation and relief of muscle tension can also help reduce fequency and strength of headaches, another common symptom of TMJD. With TMJD, normal movements, or range of motion, in the jaw, neck and shoulder can be limited by muscle spasm. In addition, poor postural habits can contribute to TMJD by pulling muscles into chronically tight or overstretched postions. By relaxing muscles in the neck, shoulders and jaw, massage can reduce postural imbalances and improve range of motion in these areas. The body can return to a more natural posture and experience greater ease of movement with less pain or stress. Your dentist may want to have you fitted with a splint or jaw repositioner appliance. If this is appropriate, it is best to be fitted with the surrounding muscles as relaxed as possible. Therapeutic massage can help relax the muscles so that a proper fitting can be made. If you have TMJD, try to avoid chewing gum or eating crunchy or chewy foods. Applying heat(and/or sometimes cold) to the jaw joint can ease symptoms. Supporting your general health with a well-balanced, nutritious diet can help you cope with the demands of your daily life and your TMJD. In addition, you can help your condition by decreasing your stress level with activities such as aerobic exercise, yoga and breathing exercises. Finally, early intervention is very important. Consult your dentist and massge therapist so they can work together to give you the most professional, comprehensive treatment available.
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