How do you deal with your stress?
Do you clench your teeth? How about shrugging your shoulders at a loss of what to do next? Do you swallow your screams instead of lashing out?
The truth is that many of us are finding ourselves more stressed than ever. Working from home gives us few escapes from “the office,” and that prolonged stress can add up.
All of the ways you cope with stress can wreak havoc on the body – particularly in your jaw, neck, and head.
So how do you treat these symptoms?
You can’t treat your jaw pain, your neck pain, or your headaches without starting at the jaw and shoulders. You’ll want to trigger point your neck and shoulders as well. You can find out how to treat those muscles in other posts on the site.
The main three sets of muscles that you’ll want to treat are the masseter muscles, temporalis muscles, and the medial and lateral pterygoid muscles.
Finding and treating the masseter muscle.
The masseter muscles are located on the side of your jaw. Your jaw is made up of one bone that attaches to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), located in front of both ears. The masseter is located on the mandible, part of the jaw bone on the side of your face, below the cheekbone.
You can treat the masseter by pressing in with both hands on the sides of your mandible/ jaw bone. Feel around for the most sensitive spot, and press there, for 5-10 seconds. Then, move your hands up so you are touching your face, in front of your ears. You want to have your fingers right where the mandible meets the cheekbone.
As you slide your fingers up onto your temple, you will feel your temporalis muscles. As you find sensitive, stringy spots, apply pressure with both hands on both sides.
The last muscles you will treat are the medial and lateral pterygoid muscles. You have muscles on the inside of your mouth, just like you have muscles on the outside of the jaw. The muscles on the inside of the mandible/ jaw bone, are the medial and lateral pterygoids.
The way you’ll treat the left side is by taking your right hand, palm out, with index finger extended, and place it in the inside of the left side of your mouth, next to the check.
You’ll then place the front/ anterior tip of your index finger on the inside of your left mandible, between your upper and lower molars. You’ll then slide your finger up the side of the mandible/ jaw bone until it is in the little pocket behind your upper molars. Apply pressure towards the outer ear.
This is one of the most tender trigger points in the body. Go easy.
This will help you to have a pain free day.