Southlake, TX | Self Help For Jaw Pain, TMJ Disorder, TMJ Treatment | Integrative Pain and Wellness
Dr. Matthew Barker: Hi, Dr. Barker here, with Integrative Pain and Wellness Center. Today, I'm going to demonstrate some stretches that you can do for jaw pain or for TMJ. I treat a ton of patients that suffer from jaw pain and have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder. The symptoms can be pain here in the jaw region, into the ear, into the top of the head, the neck, you can have jaw popping, clicking or locking. Any of those things can relate to a problem in the joint here, between the lower jaw and the temporal bone. So, a few stretches that you can do at home to try to alleviate your pain. I'm going to demonstrate today.
Dr. Matthew Barker: The first one, if you take your finger pads and start up here, toward the top of your head, and just push and slide your finger pads down the side of your face, keep your jaw slack so that as you traction down to the bottom of the jaw, it should kind of bring the jaw down. And so you'd want to do about 10 passes. And so really engage these muscles that are from here down to the bottom of the jaw, with the finger pads. And it should feel like enough pressure where it feels good like someone's massaging your jaw muscles. Again, you do that about 10 times.
Dr. Matthew Barker: The next one I'm going to show you is take your pointer and middle finger pads, and if you start at the corner of your mouth and kind of walk your way back to where your lower and upper jaw meet. And you're going to engage that muscle there, which is the masseter muscle, it's the large jaw muscle that closes the jaw. And so you're going to engage it and put enough pressure where it's going to be a little bit tender, and just hold that pressure there until that muscle starts to relax.
Dr. Matthew Barker: Now, it may take anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes of engaging that muscle before that spasm will let go. So just hang with it, feel that muscle, as it starts to let go and become less tender, you know that that technique is working.
Dr. Matthew Barker: The next one I'm going to show you, if you take your thumb behind the jawline on both sides, and you're going to let your jaw just kind of go slack. You're going to be tractioning the jaw forward. Now, often you'll notice that one side is tighter. So on mine, the left side is tighter. So I'm going to go to the end range of motion on the left side and the end range of motion on my right side, so it's going to come a little bit further on the right, and you're just going to hold that pressure steady. It shouldn't be painful. It might be feeling tight. And you're going to hold that there, and as your body starts to relax, the side that's tighter, so my left side will kind of catch up and become more equal to the right side. That's when you know that that technique is done. That one tends to be anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute and a half for it to fully let go.
Dr. Matthew Barker: And then the last one I want to show you is a counterstrain technique. That's where we find a tender point on the body and reposition into a position to relax that. This technique is best done lying down, but I'm going to demonstrate it sitting. This spot here on the back of the jawline, if you push in this forward direction with a little bit of pressure, not a ton. Very commonly tender in patients with jaw pain. And so check both sides. You can treat both sides.
Dr. Matthew Barker: But the treatment, so if I have a tender point on this side, I'd be laying down and I'd slowly rotate my head as far as it'll go to the opposite direction. And then I would retest this spot for tenderness. And the goal is to get the head into position where that tenderness goes away mostly, so at least 70% pain reduction. And if you've achieved that, then you would just stay in that position for about two minutes, maybe a minute and a half, and then slowly come back to the neutral position and recheck. If both sides are tender, treat both sides. Again, you'll want to do that on laying down. And if you have somebody else that can actually position your head for you, that's even better, if you're not using your own muscles to get in and out of the position.
Dr. Matthew Barker: These are some stretches again, that you can do at home, if you're having jaw pain or have TMJ, and can't make it into the office for a treatment. But if you're doing these techniques and you're still having pain, then please give our office phone call. You can check us out online at www.IPAWC.com. Thank you so much. Have a good day.