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When treating the muscles associated with TMJD and headaches, it's important to treat all the muscles of mastication both inside and outside of the mouth. While the MyoFree® Solution does an excellent job with intra-oral trigger point release therapy, it's also important not to neglect the very important temporalis muscle. As you can see from the diagram, the temporalis is a very large muscle that attaches at the top of the mandible and fans out on both sides of the head along the side of the skull. The temporalis muscle exerts an upward force on the mandible and also helps to stabilize the TMJ while keeping the mandible in the rest position.
When one clenches the teeth, the temporalis is activated, and all parts of the muscle are involved. Bruxism, or grinding the teeth, causes increased muscle strain to the temporalis, as does anxiety or stress induced muscle tension. The temporalis muscle works in conjunction with, and is affected by the other muscles of mastication, also known as the chewing muscles. Therefore, it is important that we also treat any tenderness or trigger point involvement in the temporalis along with the other chewing muscles.
Common symptoms of trigger points in the temporalis are head pain, toothache and tension type headache behind the eyes. Poor posture, clenching the teeth, and stress can all perpetuate trigger points in the temporalis which is the primary cause of tension type headaches. There is also a strong correlation between the neck and shoulder muscles with the temporalis, so all surrounding muscles must be considered and treated for both active and latent trigger point (TrP) infestation. Active TrPs cause an active pain complaint. Latent TrPs while still in the muscle don’t cause an active pain complaint but need to be treated to prevent pain symptoms from becoming active down the road. Latent TrPs will also be tender when pressure is applied so that’s why we recommend searching the muscle thoroughly and treating all tender areas.
A common stretch is to take both hands, spread them out and place them on the temples on both sides. Press the temporalis muscle upward while opening the mouth.
Trigger point massage tools are very helpful to inactivate trigger points within the muscles. Each muscle group, both inside and outside the mouth, need different sizes and shapes to provide the best therapeutic effect. During my search for the perfect tool to treat the temporalis muscle, I came across the Knobble II which is a small handheld massage tool that is round and fits perfectly in the palm of your hand with a small knob that imitates a thumb. Using the tip didn't have the effect I was looking for… so I found that lying down on the Knobble II sideways (using the large round part) was the most effective way to really get in there, locate TrPs and treat. Locate this muscle by starting across the top of your cheek bone by the ear and look for areas of tenderness and trigger points. Massage all around the temples and when you locate the very tender areas apply direct, sustained pressure to release trigger points, taut bands, and any tenderness. You can also open and close your mouth while applying pressure to tense contracted muscles which will help release the tenderness. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you.
The Knobble II is a perfect complement to the MyoFree® Solution. The Knobble II is a free gift when placing an order within the United States from www.pressurepositive.com. By using both the Knobble II and the MyoFree® massage tools, you will effectively be able to treat all the muscles of mastication that cause head, face, jaw, and neck pain.