The medial pterygoid is a muscle of mastication (chewing).
It attaches onto the jaw near it’s angle but can’t be easily touched from out side of the mouth because there is bone is in the way.
Most of this muscle is found on the inside of the mouth just behind the bottom molars.
The action of this muscle is to close the jaw and to shift the jaw to the opposite side.
When it is a problem the ability to open the jaw is restricted. and it can be quite tender to touch.
Pain can often be felt in the mouth but also around the TMJ.
I’m going to show you to methods to methods to treat this muscle. But remember that this muscle can be quit tender to do not be overly aggressive.
Slide your index finger down the inside of your cheek. The pad side is against the cheek and the nail said up against the molars. When you get to back of the molars you will bump into bone. Open your jaw and slide your finger in to the inner side of that bone . The muscle is right there. Apply mild to moderate pressure and wait for it to relax. Hold until it relaxes. Perform once 1 to 2 times a day.
Though not direct, this method helps treat the distal part of the muscle. As you can see, the muscle ends up at the angle of our jaw. Take your thumb and tuck it underneath your jaw at this point. Use the pad of your thumb to contact the tender point o this muscle. You will have an easier time getting into this spot if your tuck your chin down. Hold until it relaxes. Perform once 1 to 2 times a day
when trying to contact the muscle from the outside you need to be aware that there are salivary glands near here as well. If you feel like you are starting to salivate that tender spot may be the salivary gland.
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.
When you are injured the degree of pain is not proportional to the degree of damage. There are more variables that are involved than tissue damage. The body, brain, interprets how dangerous the situation is. It looks at the present situation (ie, physical, emotional, environmental, psychological variable), past injury situations, and it looks at the future consequences of the injury. It evaluates the situation and then outputs what degree of threat it is.
One person may stub their toe and just keep on going. Another person, who had previously broken their toe, may be writhing in pain.
For some, they may tend towards anxiety, depression, or they may catastrophize the situation. This increases the danger and thus more pain will be experienced. A draw back to this is that these “Danger in Me” thoughts cause people to avoid what they need to do. This slows their progress in rehab, reducing their enjoyment and quality of life.
My job, with my athletes, is to reduce the anxieties or worries of their pain. Also, I am to help put themselves in situations where they can work the injured area in a “Safe in Me” environment. Building themselves up to the point where they can enjoy their sport, activity or life again.
The shoulder blades or scapulae have muscles that extend to the neck, thoracic spine, ribs and shoulder. The shoulder blades, therefore, can influence these other regions. Having control/mobility over the scapula would thus be a potential area to work on if you are having problems in these other areas.
I often have my athletes and my desk athlete’s perform scapular circles if they have any problems in these regions. They are easy to do and can be done anywhere.
Shoulder blade / scapular circles (CARs)
Shoulder blade circles/scapular circles (CARs) can and should be performed with the arms in any position.
To show the movement of the shoulder blade I will perform this movement, in the video, with my arms out in front of me. I will only move one arm so you can see how much the shoulder blade contributes to the movement. Keep in mind you can perform this exercise with both shoulders simultaneously.
I often start my athletes off with their hands resting on their laps. This tends to be the easiest way to start. As they get more accustom to controlling the movement of the shoulder blade the arm can be placed in different positions.
start by pulling the shoulder blades together. Once you’ve hit your max then keep the shoulder blades and raise them up as high as you can. Once you have reached your max then round/reach the shoulder blades forward as far as you can, keeping the should blades up. then when you reach the end point keep it there and drop the shoulder blade down.
Perform this movement slowly.
Take about 30 to 60 seconds to complete one circle.
This is another one of my exercises that I give to athletes/patients in the controlled articular rotations (CARs) category. The training method and acronym is popularized by Dr Andreo Spina. It was taught to me at a Functional Range Conditioning course in Winnipeg. I call them “circles” to my patients because it’s easier for them to understand. What I like about CARs is that they are easy, yet challenging, and expose to my athletes areas of mobility that they are lacking in. I recommend performing this exercise on a daily basis to help self assess your mobility.
Neck Circles (CARs)
The intent of this exercise is to actively pull the neck through it’s full range of motion. Challenging all angles that the neck can move through. Scribing out the largest circle possible with your neck.
Imagine, as you perform the exercise, that you are fighting against an invisible person trying to push you away from your end range of motion. Often, when athletes are performing this move, they miss part of the circle. They cut the circle short when they bring the neck behind the shoulders. To maximize the range of motion, as you get your ear to your shoulder reach the head back as far was you can before you start to look upwards.
Take 30 seconds to a minute to perform one rep repetition. repeat multiple times a day.
Pinching pain, tingling/numbness, and dizziness are not desirable.