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Many people suffer from Temporomandibular Joint problems, or TMJ.  It is a very common condition that causes pain and discomfort, and can be challenging to manage.  Our patients are often surprised to hear that we can treat the symptoms of TMJ right here in our clinic through the use of massage therapy.

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw on either side of the skull.  Structural causes, stress relieving habits and acute injury can cause disorders of the joint that lead to symptoms ranging from mild to severe.  Most of the time, symptoms are temporary and can be relieved with treatments such as massage therapy and other modalities.  In rare cases, surgery is required to treat the disorder.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ?

Symptoms of this condition may vary from person to person.  Usually a combination of symptoms leads to a diagnosis of TMJ:

  • Pain in the Jaw
  • Headaches
  • Facial Pain
  • Earaches
  • Grinding or Clicking of jaw
  • Discomfort while chewing

Causes of TMJ

TMJ can be caused by a number of different factors:

  • Bruxism – or grinding of the teeth – can lead to TMJ. Patients are often unaware that they grind their teeth, with many doing so at night while they sleep.  Bruxism can often be attributed to stress, and patients often discover this problem while in their dentist’s chair.  While the dentist can give you a guard to protect your teeth from damage, massage can help to treat the painful side effects of TMJ.
  • Clenched Teeth. As with bruxism, clenching teeth, either during the day or at night, can often go unnoticed by patients until they begin to see other symptoms of TMJ.  Clenched teeth can also be related to stress, making massage therapy a great choice for treatment.
  • Misaligned Teeth. If your teeth are not aligned properly, it affects the way your jaw opens and closes, and also alters the normal resting position of the jaw. Over time this can lead to TMJ.  Your dentist and orthodontist are an important part of treatment for this condition, and your RMT can help to relieve painful symptoms as well.
  • Injury to the Jaw. If you’ve experienced an accident that could have caused damage to your jaw, you may suffer from TMJ as a direct result of your injury.

How can your RMT help to treat TMJ?

Massage therapy is a great, non-invasive treatment for TMJ.  RMT’s can help to bring relief to strained muscles, reduce inflammation, mobilize joints, improve circulation and promote healing.  Massage therapy can also help to alleviate the stress that often leads to TMJ, and can help with relaxation and ease tension that is common to those suffering with any chronic condition.

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