Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Do you wake up in the morning with a headache, tight or painful jaw? Do you unconsciously rub your cheeks or jaw throughout the day?
How about a painful jaw and painful hips?
You might be experiencing TMJ or TMD (Temporomandibular disorder) and it can be quite painful and debilitating.
According to Patient Info approximately 25% of the UK population suffer with this condition and approximately 5% of the population will seek medical attention. It effects more women aged between 20-50, than men.
Typical symptoms are:
pain around the neck, ear and jaw
jaw locks when you open your mouth
frequent headaches around the temples
clicking or popping noises as you open your mouth
tinnitus and/or dizziness
bi-lateral piriformis or hip pain
pain is worse when you are tired or stressed.
The jaw is a complex joint and is considered different to other joints in the body. The jaw has two actions; hinge and sliding motion and the tissues that make up the temporomandibular joint differ from other joints like the elbow and hip. The joint itself is exceptionally strong and the most used joint in the body. Just think how hard it works tearing and chewing throughout the day! This makes any condition arising in this area quite complex.
Complementary Health practitioners, such as myself or Osteopath, Chiropractors will often treat the jaw if there is piriformis or gluteal pain bi-laterally, (both sides). Clearly there isn't a physical connection between the two but there is a myofascial relationship.
Myofascia is connective tissue that envelopes and holds our inner body together and keeps us aligned. The myofascia network is so large that it's thought to be larger than our skin. Science has endeavored to understand if there a myofascial connection between the jaw and hips. Still a little unclear as to how but NCBI have established that there is a connection. In June 2009 a study was undertaken that resulted in the following conclusion - The results suggest that temporomandibular joint dysfunction plays an important role in the restriction of hip motion experienced by patients with CRPS, which indicated a connectedness between these 2 regions of the body. (CRPS - complex regional pain syndrome).
Tom Myers one of the worlds leading experts in myofascia has identified a flow of fascia that runs through the anterior, (front), of the body and called it the 'Deep Front Line', see image below.
Credit: Anatomy Trains
Tom Myers suggests that TMJ issues maybe influenced by our eating habits, grinding our teeth and how we hold on our jaw. Do you notice when your concentrate your jaw feels tighter?
The areas indicated in blue in this image indicates the flow of the Deep Front Line. See how it travels from the jaw, the neck, into the rib cage, quadratus lumborum, psoas, (positioned either side of the spine) and particularly the diaphragm. This myofascia connection would indicate releasing the jaw can improve mobility in the hips and so conversely gripping the jaw can create tension in the hips.
In addition any pelvic imbalance, one side higher than the other could effect the position of the jaw. Poor breathing patterns, such as chest breathing or holding your breath as you concentrate can all influence the jaw.
One yogic school of thought refers to the to jaw as a another 'diaphragm' called Jalandhara-Bandha and the pelvic floor, called Mula-Bandha as another. Bandha's can be described as internal yogic locks and can be used to manage the flow of prana - universal energy or life force. More can be read about Bandha's here.
Here are some suggestions to that may help reduce your jaw pain
Practice meditation and mindfulness - lots of apps such as Headspace or Calm
Next time you are at the dentist check if you grind or grip your teeth - it maybe necessary to use a splint
Trip to the GP to check for any underlying medical condition
Do you chew gum, if so consider reducing the amount of time spent chewing gum, as this will overwork the muscles in the jaw
The application of hot or cold compresses to the painful side
Self massage, using your pad of your thumb and index finger; place the thumb on the inside of your cheek, and 'fan' the cheek away from the jaw
Lie down and relax your feet and pelvis - see if that relaxes your jaw. This may take upwards of 1 - 2 mins to feel a change
A daily practice of Constructive Rest, will release musculoskeletal tension in the body, link to my YouTube clip here
Soften the jaw when you are walking, in a shower, driving, sat at your desk; let the lower part of the jaw gently fall away from the top jaw
Set a timer for 20 minutes when working so you get up and move about, focusing on softening the jaw and pelvis
Traditional Chinese Medicine connect the jaw and pelvis through the gall bladder meridian or energy channel. Consider using acupuncture to clear any blockages along this meridian
Book a treatment with a me! Click here now
I use a mix of techniques to release jaw tension; EMMETT Technique is a modality that I use to release tension and improve range of movement. Releasing tension held in the Diaphragm and Psoas releases stress and assists in 'opening' the front of the body, Trigger Point Therapy tackles muscular restrictions within the muscles of the jaw. Myofascial stretches to open the front body allows you to take a deeper breath, aligns the pelvis and creates a ripple effect along the Deep Front Line often releasing tension felt in the jaw, shoulders, pelvis and legs.
Sports and Remedial Massage uses a mix of Eastern and Western techniques that range from Deep Tissue Massage, Myofascial Release, EMMETT Technique, Soft Tissue Release, Assisted and Passive Stretches. Using my Functional and Restorative Yoga training I can suggest a number of self-care exercises that you can complete at home.
Book you treatment with now! Any questions please call me on 07795 550963 or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
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