Treating TMJ issues: portrait of a typical patient

Based on patients I’ve seen for jaw pain since 2013, I created this portrait of a typical patient.

She’s female. It’s been said that women are nine times more likely to suffer from jaw pain.

She first experienced jaw pain in her stressful teen years.

She’s suffered for at least a decade, sometimes two decades or longer.

She clenches and/or grinds her teeth.

A dentist has prescribed an appliance to prevent damage to her teeth. The chances are 50/50 that she uses it as prescribed. I wish I knew more about this.

Her pain level fluctuates, increasing with stress, and she usually hasn’t gone more than 6 months free from jaw pain since onset.

Her neck and shoulders are tight. Sometimes she has headaches.

She may also have pelvic alignment issues.

She has sought help from physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and/or massage therapy, and it helped some, but the results didn’t last.

Can you relate? How do you fit this profile, and how are you different?

September Community Healing Circle

This is a monthly event where local healers of various types (bodyworkers, energy workers, sound healers, etc.) make themselves available for 25 minute sessions.

Receivers make a sliding scale donation of $20 to $35 for each session, and donations go to a worthy cause — nonprofits helping with immigration issues, I believe.

Yes, you can sign up for multiple sessions. If you come early, you have the most choice.

Note that the September event is on Friday, September 14, not the first weekend as it’s been in the past, and it starts later, 7-10 pm.

Same place, Soma Vida, 2324 East Cesar Chavez. Parking is in back. It’s posted as an event on Facebook.

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Treating TMJ issues: videos of self-care techniques

If you suffer from jaw pain, you may want to try some of these jaw exercises and self-massage techniques.

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TMJ Exercises & Stretches to Relieve Jaw Pain — Ask Dr. Jo. 3:03. Dr. Jo is a physical therapist who demonstrates four simple exercises.

TMJ Massage: Pressure Points for Relief by MassageByHeather.com. 3:43. Massage therapist Heather Wibbels shows you four acupressure points for jaw pain. You hold them bilaterally for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. If you’re looking for something you can do on an airplane without attracting too much attention, do these.

Absolute Best TMJ Treatment You Can Do Yourself for Quick Relief. 5:48. “Bob and Brad, the two most famous physical therapists on the internet” (as their theme song goes) show you how to massage your external jaw muscles.

10 Best TMJ Exercises to Stop Pain in Your Jaw. 11:57. Bob and Brad show you the standard relaxed position for your jaw along with several exercises. They cite the American Academy of Family Physicians as the source for these exercises. Start saving popsicle sticks!

TMJ Exercises #1, 11:25. Chiropractor Adam Fields demonstrates exercises for the back of the neck, which is often tight when you have TMD, tongue exercises, and massage, ending with a relaxation exercise. In TMJ Exercises #2, 10:07, he focuses on massaging the muscles that open and close your jaw. He helps you tie the jaw exercises and massage into really good posture — a good habit that will help relieve jaw tension.

Yoga to Release Jaw Tension from Grinding Teeth, Clenching, TMJ. 10:26. Karuna demonstrates self-massage to release jaw tension, including a technique you can do right before you go to sleep that may prevent clenching and grinding while asleep.

I’m interested in hearing back from you about which exercises help you the most. If you’ve found other helpful videos about TMJ self-care, please let me know.