It is inevitable for us humans to experience pain in our jaws some point in our lives. Certain exercises are known to help ease the pain, however, a certain type of massage is known to improve jaw pain in an instant. This type of massage is called the pterygoid massage. The lateral pterygoids are muscles on each side of your head that help control the temporo-mandibular joint, or TMJ. The muscles help to open your jaw and to move it from side to side. The joint is very complex, so if you are experiencing pain, make sure to see an expert.
The Pterygoid Muscle
The pterygoid is a powerful muscle of mastication. The pterygoid muscles are two of the four muscles of mastication. These muscles are: lateral pterygoid and medial pterygoid. It is involved in closing the jaw as well as protrusion of the jaw. Therefore manual release of the pterygoid muscle can benefit those both with generalized TMJ pain and discomfort as well as people with overbite.
What causes the pain?
The jaw is virtually constantly working when talking, chewing, grinding and clenching and there are estimates that it moves more than a couple of thousand times every day. Below is what causes the pain of the jaw.
- Teeth clenched
- Poor body position
- Stress or anxiety
- Reduced jaw opening
- Clicking jaw
- Cheek tingling
- Chronic pain and inflammation in the jaw area
- Chewing too much gum
If there are trigger points present in the medial pterygoids then you will often have pain in the TMJ and also around the ear. It can also be difficult to swallow with pain referred to the back of the mouth. If you have restrictions in how far you can open your mouth then there is likelihood that you will have trigger points in this muscle, normally present on both sides of the head.
How to prevent the pain:
- Eat soft foods
- Avoid eating too much gum
- Practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques
- The use of plastic toothbrushes recommended by jaw care professionals
- Get a pterygoid massage at Elements!
Why a pterygoid massage is important for you
Everyone knows that any type of massage is beneficial for them. If you are continuously experiencing pain in your jaw/mouth, the pterygoid massage will help to ease the pain. And, coming in for continuous sessions will result in your pain going away quicker. This massage is also beneficial for headaches. If you experience frequent headaches, this massage will help control the headaches better and decrease the frequency of them. At Elements, the pterygoid massage can be added onto any type of full body massage.
After the pterygoid massage
Any time you massage trigger points in muscle groups it is a good idea to stretch them out afterwards to enhance the relaxation of the muscle. One recommended stretch for these muscles is to open your mouth against resistance by placing your hand under your chin while you slowly open the mouth against the resistance.