Tag Archives: massage therapy

Massage therapy can help with TMJ dysfunction

by Nik Panagos, RMT

What is Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction?

(1) TMJ dysfunction is a disorder of the muscles of mastication (chewing), the temporomandibular joints, and associated structures. This disorder also presents with pain, discomfort, or limitations whilst at rest or movement.

(1) Image above depicts TMJ location and each part of the moving area.

How do I tell if I have issues with my TMJ?

TMJ dysfunction may present with a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the TMJ at rest or with movement
  • A clicking feel or sound with pain
  • Movements impaired such as chewing/swallowing/opening the mouth/closing the mouth/moving the mouth side to side
  • Headaches
  • Sinus congestion with pain
  • Ear pain
  • Poor posture

I have clicking or popping in my jaw when I chew or yawn, is that normal?
Clicking or popping sound in the jaw is normal as long as no pain occurs or no movements of the jaw are impaired. If none of the listed symptoms occur,then it is not TMJ dysfunction.

Are there different types of TMJ Dysfunction?

The three main types of dysfunctions are:

  1. Internal derangement of the joint: Dislocation, displaced discs, trauma to the lower jaw
  2. Degenerative joint disease: overuse or aging of joint, osteoarthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or perforation (puncture) of disc
  3. Myofascial Pain: Muscles surrounding the joint in a hypertensive state (high tension). Usually caused from overuse of clenching of the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles)

What are some common representations of TMJ dysfunction?

(2) Up to 70% of TMJ dysfunction patients suffer from pathology or malposition of the TMJ disc (disc displacement).

Normal movement of the jaw function: the lower jaw opens as the disc slides with the lower portion of the jaw (condyle) allowing for normal opening and closing without pain or dysfunction

Anterior disc displacement with reduction (ADDWR): The disc is displaced slightly forward causing a clicking and potentially some pain as the lower portion of the jaw (condyle) slides over the condyle ending in the proper open position

Anterior disc displacement without reduction (ADDWOR): The disc is displaced so far forward it prevents thejaw from opening fully.

(2) Image above illustrates some common anterior disc displacement of the TMJ

How do TMJ dysfunctions occur?

There are many different factors that can lead to TMJ dysfunction. Some common reasons why it occurs include:

  • Excessive use of mastication (chewing) muscles (I.e. chewing gum, chewing tobacco)
  • Careers with repetitive strain on muscles around the TMJ often due to prolonged seated posture (I.e. call centers, receptionist, instructors)
  • Accidents involving neck/upper back/shoulder trauma (I.e. Moter vehicle accident, contact sports)
  • Dental issues (I.e. missing teeth, uneven overbite or underbite, deviation of jaw)
  • Stress grinding during sleep

How can Massage Therapy help with TMJ dysfunction?

Massage therapy will help with TMJ dysfunction by physically manipulating restricted muscles, ligaments, and joint capsules surrounding the TMJ. Reducing the restricted muscle tissues will allow for movement to resume without pain or limitation. Mobilizing the joint ligaments and stretching will allow for proper function of the joint space to resume. Stretching the joint capsule will reduce pain, improve function, and reduce clicking if present. Manipulation of these structures will also help improve the overall function of the jaw.

What can I do at home to help prevent or reduce symptoms of TMJ dysfunction?

There are many different ways to help with TMJ dysfunction at home; some of the following ways you can help at home are:

  • Self-massage to the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles)
  • Reducing the use of chewing gum or chewing tobacco products
  • Keeping overall dental hygiene in good standing as tooth decay or wear can cause alignment issues that can put extra strain on muscles surrounding the TMJ
  • Follow a prescribed home exercise program to improve the strength and motor control of the muscles that influence the TMJ as well as postural strengthening exercises for the neck and upper back.

Do you treat inside the mouth as well? Is this the only way it can be treated?

Due to the nature of where the TMJ is located, treating within the mouth is usually the best way to access the joint itself for manipulation. However, the TMJ can also be treated without internal mouth manipulation.

In summary, the TMJ is an overlooked area for treatment unless it advances to a point of dysfunction or severe pain. Physical manipulation of TMJ dysfunction is an effective method of treatment for the condition.

Text References

1 Clinical Massage Therapy, Fiona Rattray, Linda Ludwig, Jan, 2005 Pg 597 (Citation 2021-07-13)

2  Meghan K Murphy, BE, Regina F, MacBarb, BS, Mark E. Wong, DDS, and kyracos A. Athanasiou, PhD, PE. November/December 2013. Temporomandibular joint disorders: A review of etiology, Clinical management, and tissues engineering strategies Volume 28, Issue 6 (Citation 2021-07-13)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4349514/

Image References

1 Depiction of temporomandibular joint and associating structures, (Citation 2021-07-13), motionspecficrelease.com. http://bodytechphysio.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/5a1f7-4a037c_398c46d6c03c45e0bf0fe91839b2fc33mv2.webp2 A schematic representation of the position of the TMJ disc in three different conditions, (Citation 2021-07-13), researchgate.net.
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tarun-Goswami-3/publication/24147487/figure/fig6/AS:668687967195141@1536439043532/A-schematic-representation-of-the-position-of-the-TMJ-disc-in-three-different-conditions.png

Cupping Therapy

By Tim Penner, Registered Massage Therapist

Cupping therapy is a technique using cups applied to the skin to treat an array of illnesses. Used for centuries, its popularity continues to grow as people seek alternative and natural methods for treatment. Cupping stimulates healing by pulling blood to the region being treated. It promotes new blood flow to the area and removes stagnant blood which causes an anti-inflammatory effect by encouraging the body to release white blood cells, platelets, fibroblasts and other healing substances. Cupping is an effective technique to stretch fascia and muscles by helping to separate the different layers of tissue through the use of suction.

Cupping therapy uses cups, made of soft silicone and hard plastic, to suction soft tissue.  It is this vacuum effect, or negative pressure that provides a therapeutic result when applied to the skin. Many types of cupping therapy have been developed over the years. At BodyTech Physiotherapy our massage therapist uses 2 different types of cupping techniques: massage cupping and dry cupping. Massage cupping is usually done in a massage therapy treatment in which the cups are applied to the skin and moved around. Dry cupping is slightly different as the cups are applied to the skin and the affected body part is moved around to create a stretching effect.

Is cupping for me?                          

Massage or dry cupping can be used for many different conditions. The effects on the body include helping decrease stress, encourage relaxation and improve circulation. It can also be used to decrease swelling in certain areas and can help improve respiration when applied to the ribs and chest.  When it is used in conjuntion with massage and in specific areas, it helps reduce tension in muscles, and fascial tissue restrictions. The combination of massage and cupping leads to improved range of motion and posture. It can reduce tone in the muscles, help to improve flexibility and aid in reducing fascial adhesions left behind by old injuries. Cupping can help with many conditions such as low back pain, fibromyalgia, whiplash and tendonitis.

Some conditions that can be treated with cupping

  • Tendonitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Low back pain
  • Whiplash
  • Tension headaches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Sprain/strain
  • Golfer/tennis elbow
  • IT band friction syndrome

cupping1                cupping2

Low back pain                                      Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

Along with the conditions listed above, cupping also can be beneficial to the people suffering from the effects of Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, as well as using it to aid in rehabilitation after a major injury or surgery.

The most common side effect of cupping therapy is the bruised appearance that you see after the treatment is completed. The discolouration of the skin is only on the surface of the skin and does not generally cause pain after the massage. The bruised appearance can last for a few days or even up to a week. If significant bruising occurs your therapist will promptly remove the cups and discuss the effects with you.

Overall, cupping therapy can be beneficial to almost everyone. Just like massage, every treatment is specific and individualized to each client and their needs.

Why is massage therapy a good idea for everyone?

Many people think of a spa like setting when they think of massage therapy, however, a Registered Massage Therapist can work in many different locations including a physiotherapy clinic.

Massage therapy can be useful in combination with physiotherapy or as a sole treatment option depending on the issue. Even when there are no specific problems, massage therapy is a great option for the prevention of injuries, particularly for those individuals with sedentary jobs.

Massage therapy in combination with physiotherapy is an excellent option for many people. Often an injury involves more than one type of tissue, such as muscle, joint, tendon and/or ligament, and would benefit from a variety of treatments. Massage therapy can help facilitate physiotherapy treatments by addressing other components such as shortened, tight or sore muscles. This allows the physiotherapist to focus on function and mobility, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises.

As an exclusive treatment option massage therapy can help with many conditions either chronic or acute to relax and alleviate sore muscles. In addition, massage can help prevent injuries. For individuals that spend their day at sedentary work stations these positions and postures can predispose you to many aches and pains. Massage therapy can help maintain good postural health and muscle balance.

BodyTech Physiotherapy