If you’re experiencing jaw pain it can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. But don’t fret, there are several masseter muscle pain relief techniques that you can perform yourself or have a therapist do.
Jaw pain, or pain with the masseter muscle, is also called myofascial pain disorder or may be Temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
According to the National Health Service in the UK (NHS), as many as 30% of adults will experience TMD in their lifetime. So knowing how to recognize the symptoms and do something about it is very important.
- 1 What Is the Masseter Muscle?
- 2 Symptoms of Masseter Muscle Pain or TMD
- 3 What Causes Masseter Muscle Pains and Discomfort
- 4 How to Treat Jaw Pain or Masseter Muscle Pain
- 5 Masseter Muscle Pain Relief Through Massage
- 6 Final Thoughts
What Is the Masseter Muscle?
The masseter muscle connects your lower jawbone and cheekbones. It’s the muscle we primarily use to chew so I’m sure you’ll agree it’s an important muscle to look after.
There are actually four muscles that work together when you chew, but the masseter is the key muscle from the group.
Symptoms of Masseter Muscle Pain or TMD
If you’re experiencing any of the following you may have TMD or be developing masseter muscle damage:
- Grinding, popping, or clicking noises as you chew foods.
- Pain or aching sensation around your jaw.
- Problems opening your mouth fully and restricted movement in your jaw.
- Earache or pain around your ears and across your cheeks.
- Headaches, migraines, and pains across your head or down your neck and shoulders.
What Causes Masseter Muscle Pains and Discomfort
In some instances, you just won’t be able to narrow down what has caused the pain in your jaw to start.
There are some typical causes that affect most people with these symptoms however, these are:
- Grinding your teeth while you sleep, or even while you’re awake.
- Clenching your jaw or putting excessive pressure on your jaw for any reason.
- Having an uneven bite due to teeth being out of alignment.
- Some chronic diseases or health conditions.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Direct injuries to the jaw or surrounding areas.
How to Treat Jaw Pain or Masseter Muscle Pain
The first thing you should always do is seek medical advice if you have pain in your jaw to get a professional assessment.
However, once you’re well aware of what your issue is and know your options it’s going to be down to you to choose the best route of treatment you want.
There are a few things you can do to ease the pain at home. If the following hasn’t been recommended by your doctor, consider trying any of the following:
Cold packs can reduce any swelling and ease inflammation. Try both hot and cold packs and see which feels best for you.
Medications – Often the first things to try are painkillers and anti-inflammatories. They work differently for each person, but worth trying if the pain is causing you discomfort.
Less jaw stress – I know how hard it is to avoid some of your favorite foods. But if those foods are chewy and aggravating your masseter pain you need to avoid them for a while.
Don’t grind your teeth – If you grind your teeth while you sleep this is a separate issue you need to address. Mouth guards, finding the source of the reason etc, do what you need to stop grinding your teeth.
De-stress and relax – You can’t put your life on hold, but you can take steps to destress and relax a little more.
Masseter Muscle Pain Relief Through Massage
It’s actually very easy to massage your masseter muscle yourself. It doesn’t take long and you can massage your jaw whenever you can grab a few spare minutes.
There is a spot just in front of your ears that is a trigger point usually responsible for most of the jaw pain people experience.
There are a couple of videos below showing you how you can perform some massage techniques yourself:
Masseter Muscle Massage You Can Do Yourself
Here is a useful video showing you how you can massage your jaw yourself if you can’t get to a physiotherapist, or maybe you just want to resolve the pain yourself.
TMJ Muscle Pain and Joint Stiffness Relief
If you’re suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ) this video highlights how you can massage the trigger points yourself to relieve the pain and stiffness.
The key to finding the best course of Masseter Muscle Pain Relief is to take action sooner rather than later and listen to your body.
By following the advice in this article and using the techniques shown in the videos you should be able to find some relief from the pain. There are several techniques and I’ve always found that some form of massage as demonstrated in the videos will work.
Try and make some of the lifestyle choices going forward to put less stress on your jaw and the muscles that work together around your jaw. You should be able to resolve the issue and keep the pain away in future.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.