Dr. Ivan Stein and the team at the Headache & TMJ Center for New Jersey are sympathetic to people that suffer the excruciating pain of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD). We are always on the lookout for safe and effective ways to address the root of the problem and relieve the associated pain. One technique that has received some attention is trigger point therapy. Here, Dr. Stein explores the approach in more detail and offers his professional recommendation.
What Trigger Point Therapy Reportedly Improves
A classic symptom of TMJ is pain or tenderness in the jaw, face, head, neck and even the shoulders. TMJ pain may stem from trigger points in the jaw and anterior neck muscles — specifically, the masseter muscle, which is primarily involved with opening and closing the mouth and chewing. Surprisingly, the masseter muscle can exert hundreds of pounds of pressure. Chewing, clenching and grinding the teeth can overwork the masseter muscle, causing pain and tenderness and limiting the range of motion when the mouth opens.
Releasing the knot of tension in the masseter muscle may be the key to alleviating pain, relaxing the face and restoring normal range of motion. Massage therapy enthusiasts tout a technique called trigger point therapy, which can be self-applied or administered by a professional masseuse. Trigger point therapy concentrates on alternating pressure and release to soothe the tiny knot within an overworked or traumatized muscle.
Should I Try Trigger Point Therapy on Myself?
In certain cases, trigger point therapy can provide relief for people that suffer with TMJ pain. However, Dr. Stein does not recommend trying this on your own without his supervision.
It is important to obtain a diagnosis as well as treatment recommendations from a qualified doctor. There could be something else causing your jaw, head and neck pain. For example, let’s say you are experiencing facial pain, but it is not related to your TMJ — it actually stems from a sinus infection or an abscessed tooth. Massaging the TMJ using trigger point therapy would do nothing to help the problem. And, by unintentionally ignoring the root of the problem, you could be risking your oral and overall health. Also, if performed incorrectly, trigger point therapy could actually exacerbate the problem.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Team
The team at Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey recommends you speak with Dr. Stein before performing any trigger point therapy on yourself. If you have a diagnosed TMJ problem, we can talk to you about the TMJ treatment options we offer at our practice.
To schedule an appointment at our practice, please call (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.