Did you know that your physio can effectively evaluate and treat TMJ (temporalmandibular joint) pains? Many dentists and physicians refer their patients with persistent headaches, earaches, and facial pains related to the TMJ to physios. Sometimes TMJ conditions are disabling, however can be managed with education, effective home exercise programs, and gentle mobilizations.
The lateral pterygoid muscle is often times quite tender in most individuals with TMJ issues or bruxism (the involuntary/habitual grinding of teeth, typically during sleep). Place your index finger inside the mouth. Apply GENTLE pressure towards the head direction, underneath the zygomatic arch. Start with gentle pressure, and gradually increase the muscle squeeze as tolerable–there is no need to go into pain. Compare left versus right. If you find that this area around your jaw is tender, you can self-massage the area for 1 minute several times per day. Sometimes, relief of the headache, jaw, or other facial pain is sometimes immediate.