April 2010 – Relieving TMJ and Jaw Strain

Do you clench or grind your teeth? Do your jaw muscles ever get sore? Here is some help to relieve that.

We have a tendency, during intense concentration, to clench and compress the jaw muscles – particularly if we are frustrated or angry. This can lead to TMJ – temporormandibular joint syndrome – a painful contraction that extends from the jaw to the temple; to neuralgia and migraine; to permanent changes in the location and structure of the jaw and teeth. It may be even more dangerous if the jaw tightness is powerful enough to affect the neck muscles as well. This jaw tightness seems to be caused by repressed, rather than expressed anger – it is almost as though the jaw muscles are forcibly contracting to keep the mouth closed.

Tension in the face is fairly easy to relieve. Yawning frequently is one of the best and simplest ways. Opening and closing your mouth as wide as you can will also relax the jaw. Massaging and tapping on the jaw area will relax your whole face. You may be amazed to find out, through touching this area, how tight and sore it really is


Open your mouth as wide as you can, several times, tapping on your cheeks to loosen them. Rotate your head as you palpate your cheeks with one hand over the other. Open your mouth slightly and move your lower jaw from side to side, and then forward and back. Blow out your cheeks and move the air from side to side. The idea is simple: loosen the muscles and then move them. If you just loosen them, they will tighten again.

“I have been using Meir’s method for ten years. It is all-inclusive effective bodywork for muscular dystrophy. The three massage techniques release deep muscle tension and fatigue, support sick muscles, and rebuild damaged tissue. I have better balance, more mobility, and less fatigue. Self-Healing helps regenerate my body.”  Dan Dernay, DC, Concord, CA