Most of the pain in TMJ problems is caused due to trigger points and tight muscles. To best use this page, please ensure you follow the following steps.
— Click on the symptom you are facing (from the list below) . You will be directed to a page in triggerpoints.net. On that page check what muscle group is causing your symptoms
— Once you have identified the muscle group, return to this page and do the corresponding stretches for that muscle group helping release it and reducing your pain
Tightness in the Jaw muscles can result in a number of varied and seemingly unrelated ear problems which you would never associated with tight muscles and trigger points. There are a number of ear problem related symptoms which you might face.
- Ear Pain : Generally caused by the SCM and the Masseter (cheek muscles) muscles
- Earaches/Tinnitus (Ringing)/an annoying itchy feeling in the ear which you can’t get rid of: Generally caused by the SCM , Masseter muscles and the lateral pterygoid muscles (these muscles are also the main cause of TMJ pain and jaw tightness)
Stretches and self treatment
The linked videos are excellent options to release the SCM muscles which can help reduce the ear problems you might be having
That said, there are not too many good videos on how to treat the masseter and lateral Pterygoid muscles, so I like to demonstrate two massage techniques which I have found very effective in treating them. Releasing them not only might help with your ear problems such as ear pain\Tinnitus but also reduce your jaw pain.
To do this, you will need to put your hand inside your mouth. So ensure your hands are clean or better I would get one of these gloves from amazon
Once you have worn the gloves, follow the steps below
- If you are massaging your left side, use your right arm
- Open your mouth as much as you are comfortable and grasp the cheek muscles inside the mouth.
- Gently massage the message searching around for really sore points, they might be sore and tender to the touch but as you massage them, you will find that the tenderness slowly goes away
- Massage for 60-90 seconds and then stop, don’t over do it
- Switch to the other side (use your other arm for the other side)
If you are not comfortable with this method of putting your hand inside your mouth, you can massage your jaw outside your mouth as well which might help. To do that follow the steps below (do note the method highlighted above is more effective)
Lateral Pterygoid oral massage
The Lateral Pterygoid muscle is the only muscle that actually attaches to the TMJ itself. It extends from the base of the skull to the TMJ joint and capsule. This muscle is a stabilization muscle that aids in keeping the disk and TMJ in place as it rotates and slides. This muscle also pulls the jaw from side to side.
Massaging the lateral pterygoid muscles is fairly easy and can be done when you are showering or just before bed for like 60 seconds.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you start (yes you are going to put your hand inside your mouth again – or wear gloves)
- If you are massaging your right side, use your right hand
- Now take your index finger and run it on the outside of your molars (with your hands inside the mouth
- Keep extending your finger until you reach a hollow behind your last molar. This might be really sore and painful to touch
- Apply gentle pressure on it until you can feel the pain ebbing away
- Do this regularly on a daily basis every morning.