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Jaw Pain (TMJ): Massage and Acupuncture Effective for Relieving Jaw Pain

Acupuncture points used for jaw pain

Experiencing pain while enjoying your tasty burger?  Waking up with a sore jaw? Can’t open and close your mouth as comfortably as you could?  Does your jaw make clicking noises? You may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome/pain.  Do you often get temple headaches? More and more, I see many people walk into the clinic with a history of some sort of TMJ issue.  Let’s look at the anatomy of the jaw and figure out what’s going on.

TMJ Anatomy

Imagine a door that hinges, but is also a sliding door.  That’s the way our jaw moves. Rather than a one dimensional movement of close and open, our jaws move slightly forward then backwards.

There are many muscles of different shapes and sizes that help the jaw move the way it does.  The main muscles we can look at are also part of mastication/chewing. These muscles are:

  • Masseter
  • Temporalis
  • Medial pterygoid
  • Lateral pterygoid

 

What to expect with massage treatments

If you are looking to avoid any invasive surgery, massage therapy is a great way to treat the signs and symptoms of pain and range of motion along with the secondary symptoms. Treatment options include: external and/or intra-oral massage, cupping, or acupuncture. 

There are two ways that massage therapists will approach the TMJ.  Firstly through external massage (treating the external muscles of the jaw/mastication).  Secondly, through intra-oral massage (treating the internal muscles of the jaw/mastication).  Addressing both the external and internal anatomy is very important when treating the jaw. Intra-oral massage may seem scary, but it is one of the most effective ways to treat TMJ issues.  Don’t worry, therapists will always perform this technique with sterile gloves and with proper pressure and communication with the client.

Other modalities of treatment can include local cupping to the external muscles with local acupuncture needling to the same muscles surrounding the jaw.  With acupuncture some of the local points will help reduce muscle tension and soreness as well as improve circulation to the area. Make sure to stay updated with our feed to get a sneak peak on what acupuncture would look like on your jaw!

There can be many other reasons for why your jaw might be hurting.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to inquire with us today. Contact us to schedule your free 15 min meet & greet. 

By: Jonathan Chang (RMT)

References

Mayo Clinic Staff, TMJ Disorders. Aug 16, 2017, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/symptoms-causes/syc-20350941

Facial Cupping

 

Did you know our very own Massage Therapist Rehab (RMT) does Facial Cupping?!

Did you know that facial cupping can:

  • Reduce pain and inflammation caused by sinusitis, Jaw pain and Bell’s Palsy
  • Increase lymphatic drainage and blood circulation
  • Increase oxygen rich blood cells
  • Reduce scars
  • Stimulate the production of collagen
  • Strengthen skin and connective tissue

It’s important to note that unlike regular cupping, facial cupping does not cause bruising, however slight redness of the face is normal.

FACT: Cupping is considered one of the oldest natural healing therapy around 1550 B.C. by the Egyptian, according to EBERS PAPYRUS (one of the oldest medical text book in the world)!

Contact us today to discuss if this treatment is right for you! Book your Free 15 minute meet & greet today!

Acupuncture as part of your Physio, Chiro or Massage treatment!

Did you know that several of our Registered Physiotherapists, Registered Massage Therapist and our Chiropractor are trained and certified to include acupuncture as part of your treatment plan!

What it does and what condition can it be useful for?

Acupuncture needles are placed at certain known points that have been shown to have an impact on certain conditions and pain. Acupuncture can impact blood flow and alter the release of neurotransmitters (1) that impact the bodies natural healing process. Several reported effects of acupuncture include improvements in low back pain (2), musculoskeletal conditions (1, 3) including neck, elbow, wrist and shoulder pain related to tendonitis and muscle strains. Acupuncture is also used for treating ankle sprains and knee pain.

What does it feel like?

You may or may not feel the needle when inserted. Even if you do it is generally not a painful feeling. However, everyone’s tolerance and perception of what is painful plays a role here.  After the needle is inserted some people describe a deep aching or heaviness locally or in the area surrounding the needle. Some report they don’t feel anything at all!…but still notice improvement in their symptoms.

The number of sessions and outcome of treatment varies from one individual to another. However, improvement is usually noted within 4-6 treatments provided over a period of 2-4 weeks.

Contact us to discuss if acupuncture is right for you! We offer free 15 minute consultations (in person or over the phone) to discuss your concerns and find the best treatment option for you.

References:

  1. Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement Online 1997 Nov 3-5; 15(5):1-34.
  2. Furlan, A.D., van Tulder, M.W., Cherkin, D.C., Tsukayama, H., Lao, L., Koes, B.W., Berman, B.M. (2005). Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  3. Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1444-1453.

Treating Low Back Pain with Exercise

Treating lower back pain: A few simple exercises and stretches

This recent article and video gives a good perspective on a lot of misconceptions that people have about dealing and treating back pain. The statistics of eighty percent of the population around the world experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives is quite high. The old school of thought was that one needed bed rest and some medication to mange the issue and that was that. Society is always looking for that quick fix, or to slap a band-aid on it of sorts and move on.

You want to be able to recognize where and what is causing your back pain and be able to nurse it back to health. That doesn’t mean that you want to stop all activity right away, you may want to minimize certain things but not all. Motion is lotion for the joints.

Exercise is not only for strengthening certain areas but also for stabilizing them as well. To incorporate a consistent daily stretching program is an important key to long term recovery and preventing recurrent episodes.

There are many resources and outlets you can use to find out what is the cause of your back pain and how to treat it and it goes well beyond visiting your primary care physician. Health care practitioners such as physiotherapists, registered massage therapists and chiropractors are well versed in addressing these issues and coming up with a program that would best suit the patient. Contact us today to book your free 15 min meet & greet with one of our therapists to find out how we can help you.

By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese

Torticollis and Plagiocephaly: What is it? How can it affect your baby?

Baby in White OnesieTorticollis is a turning and/or tilting of the neck causing restriction in the available range of motion. This can cause the neck to be turned or tilted away from midline and difficult to move the head to a particular side. For example, the neck at rest can be turned towards the right and tilted towards the left, giving the appearance of a “twisted” position. Torticollis with this alignment can make it difficult to move the head in the opposite directions: rotating left and tilting right. The causes of torticollis can be from pain, stiffness, head/neck injury, or muscle spasm.
Torticollis can occur across the lifespan from newborns to adulthood. The difference for newborns and infants is that their skulls are largely cartilaginous and can be shaped. This combination of malleable shaping of the head and torticollis can result in a progressive flattening of a particular side or portion of the head due to any constant turning to a side, away from midline at rest. This flattening is referred to as plagiocephaly. Flattening can be congenital, developed in utero, or can be related to head position (i.e. with toricollis); in the latter case, the flattening is termed positional plagiocephaly and is often linked with torticollis. It is important to note that although toricollis and plagiocephaly affect the shape of the head, there are no direct affects on brain development or function.
If there are concerns with the baby’s neck range of motion or positioning, physiotherapy can help guide stretches and exercises to restore full range of motion. There are additional concerns with plagiocephaly, physiotherapy can help with establishing exercises are strategies to counteract this shaping.
Questions or concerns regarding your child? Book your 15 minute free consultation today! 

Do you ever feel “trapped” by your traps?- The Neck Series Part III

Free stock photo of man, person, hands, relaxationMany of us often suffer from neck pain, headaches and much more all due to one of the biggest muscles the connect our neck and shoulders – the trapezius muscle.

Given the name, the trapezius muscle is trapezius shaped and has multiple attachments to our neck and shoulder blades.  It is one of the more superficial muscles that covers the upper half of our back.  It is responsible for moving our shoulder blades and the neck.  There are three different fibers to the trapezius– upper, middle, and lower fibers.  With our focus on the neck, we will dive into the upper trapezius fibers.The muscle has many attachments and mainly involves moving the neck and the shoulder blades.

 

Origin External occipital protuberance

Spinous processes of C7 to T12

Nuchal ligament

Medial superior nuchal line

Insertion Lateral third of the clavicle

Acromion

Spine of scapula

Action Lateral flexion

Lateral rotation

 

Both sides will bring the neck into extension

Nerve Innervation CN XI (accessory nerve; motor)

C3 and C4

 

Most common issues I come across involve and include:

  • Headaches/migraines in the front, sides, and back of the head
  • Pain in and around shoulder blades, eyebrow, and even around the jaw.

Most of the issues will either by directly affecting the muscle and the attachments or by trigger points causing referral pain (not local to the muscle).  The upper trapezius muscle is a pivotal muscle that can cause chronic problems over-time if not conditioned properly and taken care of.  From experience, most problems occur with improper alignment of your neck and shoulders over prolonged periods of time.  Going in to see your chiropractor might also be a great idea to help with the issues above!

Trigger Points in upper trapezius.

Stretches for upper trapezius:

  1. Set up in a neutral position making sure everything is straight and comfortable. Performing the stretch in a mirror for the first time may help determine your neutral alignment.
  2. Bring your arm over and on top of the opposing ear
  3. Gently pull the ear to your shoulder
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds

 

It’s important to make sure you feel the stretch where you want to pain-free.  If you experience any sharp stabbing pains, make sure to stop the stretch.

 

Hope this stretch helps you out at work or wherever you are!  More muscles to come!

 

By: Jonathan Chang, RMT, SMT(cc)

 

References:

http://www.triggerpoints.net/muscle/trapezius

 

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Trapezius

 

To book you massage or ask us a question contact us today!

Remember to take care of you!

Coughing, sneezing and back pain- OH MY!

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a chronic condition characterized by a compression of the neural and/or vascular structures, which may lead to one side or two-sided pain/discomfort in the back, buttocks, thigh, calf and/or foot. Etiology: The compression arises as a result of a narrowing within the central spinal canal (as shown in the picture). This can be a result of traumas, motor vehicle accident, thickening of the osteoarthritic facet joints or bulging of degenerative discs.
Sign & Symptoms:
Tingling and numbness on both sides of low back, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet may lead to weakness with walking and prolonged standing aggravated by coughing & sneezing alleviated by sitting, prolonged rest or postural changes If you have any questions and concerns, please come in to see our physiotherapy team. We provide hands on treatment with individualized exercises program to get your back better and stronger!
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us today!