Jaw Pain and Dysfunction
The jaw (or TMJ for TemporoMandibular Joint) is frequently unacknowledged as a source of pain in many head, neck, face and vocal conditions. People who experience headaches, motor vehicle accidents, sport or work site injuries, often have jaw issues that can accumulate to overwhelming levels.
Clenching the teeth is a very common habit during sleep, while concentrating, or from stress. This often results in an accumulation of both compressive forces in the joints and asymmetrical muscle tightness which can lead to clicking, pain and ultimately joint damage.
Resolving the joint compression and muscular tightness can re-pattern the jaw mechanics and save pain and difficulties decades later.
Why do some jaw joints click?
The jaw is exceptional in that it operates as two separate joints bound together by one bone - the mandible. The muscles responsible for moving the joints work in tandem with how the teeth fit together (occlusion), along with the fit and movement of the cranial bones, creating a system of interrelated mechanics.
All is well when the jaw joints work within functional symmetry, but if one side begins to move differently many compensatory patterns can begin. These adaptive movements can be the beginning of a vicious cycle where some tissues are overworked and eventually become compromised.
A special friction-reducing disc exists inside the joint much like the discs in the spine. The disc maintains the appropriate amount of space in the joint, and moves forward and back in coordination with the opening and closing of the mouth. Joint compression and muscle tightness often accumulate resulting in an abnormally forward disc position. Then, as the jaw bone moves, the disc bunches up like a speed bump on the road, producing a click. If left untreated disc perforation can result, leaving the joint vulnerable to pain and arthritis.
Treatment involves working directly on the chewing muscles
The pelvis and the jaw are connected through the deeper fascia of the body and have a direct involvement with each other. Every TMJ treatment includes some pelvic myofascial release and joint mobilizations in order to achieve spinal balance in the torso and neck. The neck and jaw will be assessed for tension, deviations, and flexibility and the appropriate treatment will be administered. Accessing the chewing muscles involves working inside the mouth for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, alternating between right and left sides. Releasing muscle tightness and joint compression fosters mechanical symmetry, addresses pain, and can contribute to improving your bite.
"Instead of undergoing radical jaw surgery and orthodontics to remedy a TMJ degeneration problem, I chose to pursue a well-planned course of TMJ specific massage treatment by Meagan and it provided great relief. Meagan is personally engaging, professional and effective - a real find." - J.G.
''I've been dealing with terrible TMJ for nearly 4 years. It has held me back in many aspects of life. I've had trouble smiling, eating, and even talking because the muscles in my face/jaw were so tight. The treatment I've received from Meagan has helped me make a lot of progress. I no longer open my mouth and fear the pain it'll cause. Meagan's expertise in releasing facial muscles will go a long way for anyone struggling with TMJ. I'd recommend her to anyone". - J.K.
"I have had 4 sessions with Meagan to treat the onset of TMJ and perpetual neck/throat muscle tightness. Prior to these sessions, I had limited range in my jaw/mouth opening and muscle soreness in my neck, upper shoulders and jaw area. After these targeted massage sessions, I am now able to open my mouth significantly wider, breath more deeply, sleep more soundly and reduce snoring problems due to more relaxed muscles in my neck and throat area. I am so happy that I found Meagan and would recommend her as a great therapist to support anyone on the journey of health and wellness." - D.V.