The masseter muscle is located at the angle of your jaw. As you clench your jaw you can feel this muscle contract. it’s primary action is to close the jaw but can also contribute to retracting (pulling the jaw backwards) the jaw.
Pain can refer to the ear, TMJ, over the eye and into the upper and lower teeth. It can be involved in tension-like headaches, cervicogenic headaches, ear aches or molar pain. Problem with this muscle can also be a cause tinnitis, ringing in the ear.
This muscle may be aggravated due to head posture, prolonged open jaw during dental surgery, habits of clenching the teeth, gum chewing, cracking hard candy.
Often overlooked systemic perpetuating factors are low thyroid function, anemia, vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte disorders, and depression.
To treat the superficial component of the masetter find a tender point using your thumb or ball then open up your jaw. Feel the tension under your thumb or the ball.
To relax the deep masseter partially open your jaw. Then attempt to jut your jaw out while using your hands to resist this movement. This causes the muscles that retract (pull the jaw backwards) to relax.
The temporalis is the muscle that you feel over your temples when you clench your teeth and as you chew.
The muscle can be tender to touch and can refer to the upper teeth, over the eyebrow and on the side of the head and sometimes to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
It is responsible for closing the jaw (when both contract), moving the jaw from side to side (when one contracts) and a little bit of retraction (pulling the jaw backwards)
It is often affected by excessive gum chewing, jaw clenching, trauma to the muscle and head position.
In my practise I often use active release technique (ART) or acupuncture to specifically treat this muscle in addition to addressing the causes of this muscle being over worked
To perform your own self treatment of this muscle (self myofascial release) take your thumb or a ball (the smaller the ball the more focused the pressure can be). Pin the tender point down. You don’t need to crush the muscle to do this. Mild to moderate discomfort is fine. Since this muscle fans out from its insertion, once you have pinned the muscle out direct the ball/thumb in different direction.
To add a stretch to it simply open up your mouth. If you deviate your jaw to the other side you will add a little more stretch the the muscle.
If you are dealing with back pain some of the easiest tasks in life might prove to be more difficult. If you find brushing your teeth, plucking your eyebrows or shaving too uncomfortable try this out.
Most often when brushing our teeth we lean forward over the sink, bending over at the lower back, in case toothpaste drips. There are two ways you can minimize the discomfort while brushing your teeth. One way is to simply stand up straight. The other way is it support your upper body by placing your free hand on the sink and sticking your buttocks out. Sticking the buttocks out helps you bend at your hips and keep your lower back neutral. The less bending at the lower back and the upper body support lessen the stress on the spine an the muscles supporting the spine.
Dr Notley’s practice is an evidence informed, multi-modal treatment method which combines spinal manipulation/mobilization, exercises, acupuncture and other modes of care, along with patient education. Dr Notley is available, by appointment, through the following link https://drnotley.com/contact.
You may be suffering with back pain right now and it is excruciating to get into or out of your bed.
Dr Notley, Winnipeg Chiropractor and Athletic therapist, demonstrates two methods on how to get into and out of your bed when you are experiencing back pain. Though you may still experience pain hopefully this will minimize the discomfort.
Slide hands down your thighs and your hips flex forward. This is the short stop position.
Place one hand on the bed and lift up the leg closest to the bed.
Place the other hand on the bed and lower your body down onto the bed.
Lift the other leg up onto the bed.
Reverse the order to stand up.
Facing away from the bed move into the short stop position to help you sit down onto the bed.
Lower yourself onto one elbow as you bring your legs up onto the bed.
Lower yourself onto your shoulder.
Turn your hips and pelvis at the same time to roll onto your back.