A few months ago I was speaking with a new client at her home. She was explaining her upper back and neck issues and I noticed that on her intake form she had checked TMJ and Headaches, so I asked her about them. She dismissed her pain as chronic, explaining what her doctor had said and noted that she occasionally saw a chiropractor and that generally helped her out for a few days. She was confused as to why I would even be asking about her TMJ and headaches as she had scheduled the appointment for her neck and back problems. While to me it was obvious that the pain in her jaw, neck, upper back and headaches were interlinked, she had never made the connection.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that well over 10 million people in the US alone suffer from TMJ problems. The jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a major target for an array of joint disorders and while jaw pain is the most prevalent ailment; headaches along with neck, shoulder and back pain are also common.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most of the pain associated with your TMJ can be treated without surgery, so if you find yourself suffering from chronic headaches and have been diagnosed with TMJ Syndrome (A very general diagnosis. In most cases it simply means the jaw is in pain for reasons unknown.) or bruxism (grinding your teeth) there is a very good chance that massage can help.
While I’ll be the first to admit that bodywork cannot heal everything, my hands can resolve the battles of tension in your back and they are up to the task of alleviating the pain in your jaw and headaches. Before you throw in the towel and turn to surgery or meds give massage therapy a try.