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Community Health Training, Inc.
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Pain Control Without Drugs
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Pain Relief for Face and Jaw Pain
Body Region: Face and jaw
Conditions Associated with TPs: Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD or TMJ)
General Symptoms: Face pain, jaw pain, grinding down of teeth, headache, neck pain
Common Causal Activities: Most common is grinding or clenching of the teeth while a person is asleep. A dental specialist should be consulted to determine that there is no dental or TMJ pathology.
Anatomy Picture:
Self Care: Usually the fingers can be used. However a tool can be used but the amount of pressure must be at the direction of the patient - especially in the area below and behind the ear.
Therapist Care:

The area behind and below the ear is very tender. A very mild pressure is sufficient here. Use the tip of a single finger. Press on three spots beginning as high as possible in the groove below the ear and then one finger width below that and then one more finger width below the second. As soon as you reach the posterior angle of the jaw you need go no farther.

The masseter muscle in front of the ear across the cheek is done with the index, middle and ring (1,2,3) held flat against the cheek with the first two bones of the fingers as a paddle against the muscles. This allows the area to be covered a little faster and to roll the pressure around the area to find and treat the trigger points.

Special Note:

Since the primary cause in most cases in the night time grinding of the teeth called bruxism the way to cure this condition is to change the behavior of the patient. It's difficult but both sleep and dental studies have proven that if a stimulus is invoked each time the bruxism occurs it will eventually stop as the patient subconsciously changes their sleep habits to gain a full nights sleep.

A company called Cycura Corp found on the internet at www.cycura.com invented and patented a device which a patient is able to wear while they sleep. It involves a mouth guard with a small tube leading to an earpiece that sets off a tone when the teeth begin to create pressure. The tone doesn't wake the patient but it does change the sleep habit over several weeks to break the habit.

 

Click here for more detailed instructions