Sore Jaw? Healing TMJ

We must be a very stressed out society. The number of people I see with TMJ lately is astounding. We all seem to be clenching our teeth all the time. Even mouth guards that dentists like giving us don’t seem to be working.


TMJ is the term we use to describe jaw pain caused from tightness in the temporomandibular joints on each side of our jaws. At times, the jaw can become so tight that it ‘clicks’ when opened wide enough or moved back and forth. Our jaws can get locked and become difficult or impossible to open. Headaches, earaches and pain in the neck can even develop if TMJ isn’t addressed quickly.


According to WebMD.com there are 7 home treatments that can be done to reduce the symptoms of TMJ:

1. Take over-the-counter medications. ...

2. Use moist heat or cold packs. ...

3. Eat soft foods. ...

4. Avoid extreme jaw movements. ...

5. Don't rest your chin on your hand. ...

6. Keep your teeth slightly apart as often as you can. ...

7. Learn relaxation techniques to help loosen up your jaw.


There are several traditional medical treatments as well. These include medications such as higher doses of NSAIDs for pain and swelling, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressants.


Often, dentists will recommend a splint or night guard if you grind your teeth at night. Sometimes they will want to do dental work such as crowns or braces to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth. Pain medication or anesthesia can also be injected into the tender facial muscles to relieve the pain. Sometimes even surgery is recommended to remove inflamed or damaged tissue, or to realign the disc or joint.


What’s interesting is that WebMD.com doesn’t mention that there are some very effective massage techniques that are very effective in the treatment of TMJ. If you think about it, how does TMJ form anyway? When you clench or grind your teeth, you are overusing some of your muscles, including the sternocleidomastoid, which extends up from the thorax to the base of the skull behind the ear. The other muscles involved are the masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid. These muscles are in your cheeks and extend above the ear.



Through gentle massage and mild to medium pressure, these muscles can be relaxed and the pain can be greatly reduced or eliminated. I have found much success in doing just this for my clients. As one of my clients indicated in part of his review on Google, “Recently Karen was able to release years of tighten knotted tissue in my jaw and temples as a result of TMJ,” it’s never too late to have it treated.

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© 2018 by Karen Kraft

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