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.