TMJ Relief

I work with busy, stressed women and men to ease tight, painful jaw muscles – because you’ve got better things to do than suffer. 

Transform chronic pain into freedom to enjoy life

It breaks my heart to realize how many people suffer from chronic jaw pain for years, even decades. I’ve learned that many people have “normalized” their jaw pain and tension. It’s there, it’s constant, and it detracts from their quality of life. They live with it and are resigned about it.

Sometimes it really drags them down and they seek help. Maybe they’ve gone to various practitioners in search of help, that either didn’t help or didn’t last or was painful. Maybe they’ve worn through mouth guards or found them so irritating, they quickly stopped using them. Maybe they’ve even had jaw surgery, that didn’t solve the problem.

Their dentist knows about their TMJ problems and of course wants to help — but did you know that studying the temporomandibular joint is not a required subject in dental school, and only 12 dental schools in the U.S. even offer a course in it?

Mouth guards protect your teeth from damage from clenching and grinding, and that’s needed. I am grateful for dentists — and yet the vast majority of dentists specializes in teeth and gum disease, not TMJ disorders.

Massage therapy specializes in the soft tissues — muscles, fascia, tendons — and most of the time, muscle tension causes jaw pain. Even when the disc between the bones is involved, muscle tension is usually present.

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Most people — including dentists and doctors — are unaware that a treatment program from a caring, licensed, board-certified massage therapist — who is well-trained and experienced in intra-oral work — can reduce and often eliminate jaw pain in a gentle, respectful, and holistic manner.

The sessions I offer are relaxing. You can sink into my table, heated if you prefer. I offer a blanket, bolster, and a wedge pillow for comfort. We listen to soft ocean waves, and my private picture window connects us to the natural world outside.

Treatments are progressive and individualized to your issues, sometimes beginning with full-body alignment, releasing tension in the upper back/shoulders/neck, massaging the external and internal jaw muscles, doing lymphatic drainage to speed detoxification, and ending with relaxing craniosacral therapy.

I work as gently as possible and never make any sudden moves.

I offer CBD oil before working inside your mouth to reduce anxiety, pain, and inflammation.

If you’ve had bodywork for your jaw issues that didn’t help that much, here’s what makes sessions with me effective: I work on the small, nearly-inaccessible medial and lateral pterygoid muscles inside your mouth. Not all TMJ-focused practitioners touch these internal jaw muscles. I’ve found that most of the time, releasing tension in the pterygoids is key to feeling a relaxing sense of spaciousness instead of tension in the jaw.

Here are some clear, simple choices to work with me for lasting relief from tension-related jaw pain:

  • Start here: schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn whether I can help you. We’ll discuss your jaw problems. I’ll evaluate you to see if you are a good candidate for the treatments I offer, and you can ask me anything you like. There’s no pressure and no obligation.
  • If you’d like to experience a session, schedule a single TMJ Relief session and see for yourself what it feels like for your jaw to feel spacious. Sometimes, depending on my schedule, you can schedule this right after the consultation, make one trip, and go home feeling a lot better.
  • With just one treatment, your jaw will often revert back to tension within days, weeks, or (maybe if you’re lucky) months. Like exercise, it takes repetition to create lasting results . If you’d like to experience lasting relief, sign up for my TMJ Relief Program (5 sessions over 4-6 weeks) and schedule your second session 3-7 days after the first, paying the balance when you return. Or you can sign up for the program before your first session.
  • There’s an educational component with this program: you’ll get an email from me after each session with support for habit change, self-care tools, supplement suggestions, exercises, and more.
  • If this timetable doesn’t work for you, you can always schedule single TMJ Relief sessions as needed.

If you have jaw tension and/or pain, the earlier treatment begins after onset, the better the outcome, because jaw dysfunction can become progressive, increasing in pain and dysfunction, leading to damaged teeth, jaw joints, bone, cartilage, and ligaments, potentially requiring surgery. Why suffer for years when there’s an alternative?

The best outcome is when you can commit to a few weeks of excellent self-care while receiving your five sessions. This might include:

  • adding yoga and/or meditation into your life
  • taking regular Epsom salt baths or magnesium supplements
  • resolving problems that contribute to stress

How long will five TMJ sessions last? I wish I could predict that. There are many variables, including your constitution, how long you’ve had jaw tension, how severe it is, whether you’ve had related problems such as whiplash, and your ability to change the habits that create muscle tension. What you do during and after the series has a big impact on your outcome: transforming habits, practicing self-care, reducing stressors, relaxing deeply and frequently, and adapting to change are determined by your intention and commitment.

Five sessions result in a significant difference for most clients. Some never need another TMJ session, and some return for TMJ Relief sessions only after major life stressors or prolonged dental work.

Here are a couple of testimonials:

Dr. Sue Muschett, DC, LMT, 8/20/18, writes: “I saw MaryAnn after literally trying everything I could think of for my facial and TMJ pain: my dentist, primary care doc, chiropractic neurologist, craniosacral practitioners, massage therapists and chiros galore, you name it! After one session with MaryAnn, I could open and close my mouth more easily, more completely, and with less awful crunching noises than ever before. It was surprisingly relaxing (I’ve had lots of excruciatingly painful work around that area, and was expecting more of the same), and she is very gentle and deliberate in her work, allowing you the time and space you need to relax. Her knowledge of the anatomy and biomechanics of the jaw and skull are tip-top, which is very impressive given the complexity of this area. After a second session, I have been virtually pain-free for over a month, and am no longer afraid of the deadly carrot stick at lunchtime! I cannot recommend MaryAnn highly enough, and am sending her all my TMJ patients from now on!”

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See What People Are Saying for more feedback from TMJ clients.

If you’re not sure you’re ready or don’t live in Austin, I started a Facebook group, Word of Mouth: Resources for Jaw Pain/Dysfunction, where people can share what helps them manage their jaw issues. I’d love for you to join! The group includes some educational units (click Units on the left sidebar) to aid in understanding the anatomy and self-care practices.