TMJ Massage for Jaw Pain Relief
The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint connecting the lower jaw to the skull. This joint is in constant use when we talk or eat, meaning that it can be prone to pain. Another common cause of TMJ problems is stress. Stress causes muscle tension and teeth clenching or grinding. With so much stress in most people’s daily lives, it’s no wonder that so many of us suffer from jaw pain!
TMJ disorder can be treated with painkillers or natural therapies like acupuncture. However, sometimes you need fast relief in the moment when jaw pain strikes. That is where TMJ massage comes in.
What is TMJ Massage?
TMJ massage can be used as a regular treatment to manage jaw pain and inflammation. However, you can also learn a few simple techniques to use on yourself when you are in need of immediate jaw pain relief.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), jaw pain is a result of stuck qi and blood in the TMJ joint. By massaging the local area, you encourage the free flow of these vital substances, helping to restore healthy circulation and relieve stiffness and pain.
There are many different TMJ massage techniques which may offer jaw pain relief. However, the simplest version involves just a few acupressure points and can be done without any prior knowledge or training.
The Best Acupressure Points for Jaw Pain Relief
There are many different acupuncture points on the head and face, and many of them can be useful for treating jaw pain. Sometimes you instinctively know where to rub in order to get some relief, but other times things are not so clear.
If you are struggling to know where to massage, here are some of the best acupressure points to incorporate for speedy jaw pain relief:
Large Intestine 4
This point is located on the hands, in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. It can be found by running your left index finger along your right index finger to the point where the finger and thumb bones meet. You should find a hollow area between the two bones that may feel achy when you press it.
Although this point is not on the face, it is well-known for treating facial pain including TMJ problems and toothache.
Small Intestine 19
This point is located right over the TMJ joint, just in front of the ears. You can find the point by opening and closing your mouth a few times and feeling for the joint moving under your skin.
Triple Burner 17
This point is located behind the ear, in a hollow tucked away at the back of the ear lobe. To find the point, run your finger along the back of your ear from top to bottom. Your finger should naturally drop into the point when you reach it.
This point is located on the side of the head, just inside the hairline at the corner of the forehead. This point is especially good for relieving jaw clenching and can be felt moving by opening and closing your mouth a few times.
This point is on the lower jaw, between the angle of the jaw and the cheek muscle. To find it, clench your teeth and look for the most prominent part of the muscle, the point lies just back from here.
TMJ Massage for Jaw Pain Relief
Once you have found and familiarized yourself with the above points, you are ready to start your TMJ massage.
Use your forefingers or thumbs to massage each of the points in turn. Apply firm but gentle pressure and rub the points using small, circular movements. If you feel that your pain is getting worse at any point, stop and reduce the pressure. Spend a total of 1–2 minutes on each point.
It is best to do your TMJ massage regularly, although it can also act as a first aid treatment when you suddenly experience pain. For longer lasting relief, consider trying acupuncture for jaw pain too. Your provider will give you more advice on preventing and treating your jaw pain at home.