About 90% of the pain you feel in TMJ is due to trigger points or muscle knots in those muscles. There are primarily five muscle groups you should focus on which should help release a lot of your pain
Trapezius or shoulder muscles which can refer pain to the temples, can cause trigger points in your SCM muscles (neck muscles) and are often the result of poor posture or forward head posture
SCM Muscles – these are the muscles at the side of the neck and trigger points in them can cause a whole host of issues such as headaches , migraines, dizziness, feeling of being disoriented ,ear pain, reddening of the eyes, throat pain, visual perception problems and so on
Masseter and lateral petrygoid muscles – these muscles are inside your mouth can they can cause toothache, jaw stiffness , ear pain and even difficulty in opening in the jaw if they become too tight. I would strongly recommend learning how to do intraoral massage to help release them.
Temporalis muscles or muscles on the side of the head– they can cause headaches and tooth aches as well, since they are are often due to referred trigger points and tightness in the shoulders and the neck, I would focus on ensuring you release your shoulder, neck and jaw muscles before working on these
Suboccipital muscles – These are the muscles of the back of the head and can cause pain in at the back of the head and even refer pain to the forehead like a tension band. Here are some exercises which can help release them
If you are more interested in learning how to resolve TMJ symptoms, please look at the links below
- pain in the jaw muscles
- pain in the neck and shoulders
- chronic headaches
- jaw muscle stiffness
- limited movement or locking of the jaw
- ear pain, pressure, fullness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- a bite that feels “off”
- vision problems
What is TMJ Dysfunction (TMD) anyway
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction (TMD, TMJD) is a term covering pain and dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (the muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints (the joints which connect the mandible to the skull). Here is an image showing the TMJ joint in context to the skull
Though it’s sometimes common to have clicking or discomfort in the jaw , it’s not a cause for concern and not an indication of TMD problems Often, the problem goes away on its own in several weeks to months and best treated by a conservative approach.
Why do trigger points cause pain.
A trigger point is a small muscle knot which can cause intense pain in the local area or a referred area (also known as an active trigger point). If you feel or press on your trigger point, it can feel like a little indentation under your finger, that is located in the muscle. A person with trigger points can normally experience localized pain and referred pain with a potential decrease in mobility of the muscle.Certain trigger points might also refer pain beyond the local point of the trigger point such as the infamous SCM muscle.