It is believed that 65 – 85% of Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction or more commonly known as TMJ. Typical symptoms of TMJ usually consist of pain in head, jaw, neck and shoulders. This pain can sometimes cause headaches, earaches, the jaw to make clicking noises or to have less than full range of motion. Most likely these symptoms are caused by whiplash, grinding teeth or clenching the jaw, misalignment of teeth, anxiety, long term stress or postural dysfunction.
Massage therapy can be a viable treatment option for those suffering from many of these symptoms. In fact, massage therapy showed greater relief than conventional treatment.
According to a case study, with regular massage therapy treatment, clients noticed a decrease in their symptoms when given consistent massages over the course of several weeks. Myofacial release was performed on the neck muscles and pectoralis major to ease tension. Since many of us spend most of our time with our shoulders rounded forward, this posture can create a lot of tension in the jaw, neck and shoulders exacerbating the pain we might experience in these parts of our body. The massage also increases blood flow to those muscles, which also means less tension.
It seems that stress can play an important role in creating symptoms or making them worse for TMJ patients. The massage provides a much needed tension release. The increase in endorphin levels allows clients to experience a lift in their mood.