Do you experience jaw pain when you eat, talk, or yawn? Does your jaw click and pop when you open or close your mouth? Do you have a hard time opening wide enough to eat your favorite foods? Do you often have headaches and migraines, accompanied by chronic extreme neck and shoulder tension? You may be one of the 10 million Americans affected by TMJ every year, according to the NIH.
Oftentimes, TMJ patients will see a range of dental and other practitioners seeking relief from their symptoms. But what if I told you that massage therapy can actually be extremely effective at reducing and even eliminating your pain and tension for good – without the need for expensive and invasive dental treatments or night guards? TMJ has been a specialty of mine for over 10 years. And over the course of these years of training and experience I have found TMJ disorder to be a very complicated and multi-faceted health issue, affected by a range of physical, lifestyle, and emotional factors.
No matter which practitioner you see, the one thing they will most likely all agree upon is that stress is a major factor in how severe a patient’s symptoms are. Ie. the higher the stress level, the more pain and tension found in the head, face, neck and shoulders. Stress of course can be increased or decreased based upon the external pressures of our lives – jobs, family, school, etc. But stress can also be a sign of suppressed and unexpressed emotions. With a little thought, it makes perfect sense. Our mouths are our vehicles of communication. We use them to speak our truth, enforce our boundaries, ask for our needs to be met, and perhaps most importantly, to say, “NO” when it is the healthiest option for us. But how many of us have been taught to suppress our feelings, to “swallow our pride” (and our words) and stuff down our deepest feelings for the sake of keeping the peace and not “making waves”? How often have we been encouraged to put others’ needs before our own, to the point where we don’t even allow ourselves to have any needs?
All of this suppression of our emotions and our truth over years and decades will absolutely manifest as pain in the jaw. But the great news is that with gentle bodywork and some strategy around how to dance with and express our emotions in healthy ways, MUCH of the built up pain and tension can be totally eliminated. Many of the clients I’ve worked with over the years have reported that along with the deep relief they experience in their facial pain and headaches, they were able to move into an amazing space of speaking their truth, standing up for, and valuing themselves in ways they never thought possible.
Emotional suppression is only one of the countless factors that may be affecting your jaw. Others include posture, past head/face/neck injury (including concussions), invasive dental procedures and surgeries, and lifestyle factors. And honestly, each one of them could be their own blog post! But with The Body Temple’s TMJ Recovery Plan (link here), we will dig into all of these factors together over a period of 7 weeks. As we release the muscles of your jaw, head, neck and shoulders, we will also talk about lifestyle changes that support the jaw, and help you to feel confident and masterful in your emotional landscape.
This is what makes my natural TMJ relief program so different from other practitioners. I treat TMJ in a truly holistic way that addresses everything except the teeth and the bite (I’ll leave that to the dental experts). So if you are seeking relief from this oftentimes painful and truly debilitating syndrome, and you have been to every health practitioner you can think of, know that there IS hope. I am dedicated to working with each person until they feel they have everything they need to feel their best even after our sessions are completed. Are you ready to get started? Then book today and let’s get you on a path to being free from your TMJ symptoms - naturally! You can do this! I can help.
*The Body Temple Deep Integrated Bodywork was designed to be a complementary therapy to traditional approaches to physical, mental, and emotional unrest. DIB is not meant to take the place of medical or psychological care and advice. Please consult your physician before you make any changes to medications, lifestyle, etc. You are always encouraged to follow your own intuition when making decisions about your health and wellbeing.