TMJ Pain Relief

Written by Dr. Steve Chaney on . Posted in Pain Relief, TMJ Pain Relief

TMJ Treatment Can Relieve Stress & Pain

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

tmj pain reliefTMJ is the common term for a jaw condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The muscle that is key to the TMJ pain relief treatment described below is the masseter muscle.  The holiday season is “famous” for increasing stress as we rush around, adding more “to do’s” to our lives. Aside from the usual work and family commitments, the holiday’s mean extra shopping, parties, and therefore, stress.

TMJ Symptoms

Common symptoms of TMJ are:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Clicking when opening your mouth
  • Clicking while chewing
  • Jaw moving toward one side
  • Ear pain
  • Trouble opening mouth fully

While there are other pains that are common with TMJ, these are the most prevalent.

A Common Cause of TMJ Disorder

tmj pain relief muscleDo you find yourself clenching your teeth? Do you chew gum?  These are two of the most common causes of TMJ.

Your masseter muscle is a small, but powerful muscle that goes from above your back teeth, to your jaw.

You can feel it if you put your flat fingers on the back of your cheek and clench your teeth.

Your masseter is used when you chew.  As you hold your fingers on your masseter muscle, clench and open your jaw repeatedly. Like any other muscle in the body, it can be subject to repetitive strain injury. Normally you open your mouth wide to put in food, and then chew. This motion both contracts and lengthens the muscle.

However, if you chew gum you are contracting (shortening) the muscle, but not lengthening it. And it stays contracted if you clench your teeth when you are stressed, or at night while you sleep.  Eventually the muscle will form spasms from the repetitive movement.

It is called TMJ because of the joint the masseter crosses over at the very back of your jaw. The problem is the way your movable jaw attaches to your skull. As the muscle tightens into the spasm, it prevents your jaw from opening properly.  When one side is tighter than the other, your jaw will move toward the tighter side. As this happens the bones click over each other and you will feel pain.

TMJ Treatment Saved This Woman From a Lifetime of Drooling!

pain freeSeveral years ago a woman came to the medical office where I had my therapy practice. Both sides of her jaw were so tight that she couldn’t open her mouth at all. She had to “eat” liquefied food through a straw and her fear was if she regurgitated, she could choke.  The next day her oral surgeon planned on severing both masseter muscles. This surgery meant her mouth would hang open permanently. This would result in her drooling for the rest of her life! What a nightmare!

Her masseter muscles felt like rocks had been stuffed into her cheeks. The medical doctor who owned the office understood repetitive strains and wouldn’t give her surgical clearance until she saw me. I taught her the following TMJ treatment, and in just 15 minutes she was opening and closing her mouth normally.

First, I worked on her muscles, then I taught her how to do it. The TMJ pain relief treatment starts with first pressing the muscles as described below, holding the pressure, and then releasing it. She did this several times, alternating between her right and left sides. The last part of the TMJ treatment is applying pressure to both sides at the same time. Then while still holding the pressure, I told her to just open her mouth slowly and she did.  Without pain!

She started to cry because she was only one day away from a lifetime of drooling. And the best part is it only took 15 minutes to solve.

TMJ Pain Relief Treatment

tmj pain relief treatmentTo begin the TMJ pain relief treatment, place the length of your three middle fingers on both jaws.  Clench your teeth so you can feel the muscle bulge under your fingers.

Press deeply on just one side, feeling for the “knot” in the muscle. Press in for the count of five, and hold it for the count of five.  Then slowly release that side and repeat it on the opposite side of your jaw. Go back and forth, repeating this several times.

Feel along the muscle and find other knots and repeat the sequence. Do this to each spasm you find.

Go to the point just in front of your ear lobe and press.  If it hurts, there is a spasm. Do the same treatment. This is a small area so you’ll probably only need one finger to be effective.

After you are finished treating each spasm, put your fingers on both masseter muscles at the same time. Now, slowly open your mouth to stretch the muscles.

That’s it!  It’s easy to apply this TMJ pain relief treatment when you know where to go and what to do.

Treat Yourself To Pain Free Living  has the TMJ treatment and also has treatments for your entire body.  You don’t need to be in pain when it’s so easy to find solutions you can do yourself.

Discover the secret of why you hurt and how to stop the pain FAST!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly



About The Author

julie donnellyJulie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.

She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Latest Article

High Protein Diets and Weight Loss

Posted October 16, 2018 by Dr. Steve Chaney

Do High Protein Diets Reduce Fat And Preserve Muscle?

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

Healthy Diet food group, proteins, include meat (chicken or turkAre high protein diets your secret to healthy weight loss? There are lots of diets out there – high fat, low fat, Paleolithic, blood type, exotic juices, magic pills and potions. But recently, high protein diets are getting a lot of press. The word is that they preserve muscle mass and preferentially decrease fat mass.

If high protein diets actually did that, it would be huge because:

  • It’s the fat – not the pounds – that causes most of the health problems.
  • Muscle burns more calories than fat, so preserving muscle mass helps keep your metabolic rate high without dangerous herbs or stimulants – and keeping your metabolic rate high helps prevent both the plateau and yo-yo (weight regain) characteristic of so many diets.
  • When you lose fat and retain muscle you are reshaping your body – and that’s why most people are dieting to begin with.

So let’s look more carefully at the recent study that has been generating all the headlines (Pasiakos et al, The FASEB Journal, 27: 3837-3847, 2013).

The Study Design:

This was a randomized control study with 39 young (21), healthy and fit men and women who were only borderline overweight (BMI = 25). These volunteers were put on a 21 day weight loss program in which calories were reduced by 30% and exercise was increased by 10%. They were divided into 3 groups:

  • One group was assigned a diet containing the RDA for protein (about 14% of calories in this study design).
  • The second group’s diet contained 2X the RDA for protein (28% of calories)
  • The third group’s diet contained 3X the RDA for protein (42% of calories)

In the RDA protein group carbohydrate was 56% of calories, and fat was 30% of calories. In the other two groups the carbohydrate and fat content of the diets was decreased proportionally.

Feet_On_ScaleWhat Did The Study Show?

  • Weight loss (7 pounds in 21 days) was the same on all 3 diets.
  • The high protein (28% and 42%) diets caused almost 2X more fat loss (5 pounds versus 2.8 pounds) than the diet supplying the RDA amount of protein.
  • The high protein (28% and 42%) diets caused 2X less muscle loss (2.1 pounds versus 4.2 pounds) than the diet supplying the RDA amount of protein.
  • In case you didn’t notice, there was no difference in overall results between the 28% (2X the RDA) and 42% (3X the RDA) diets.

Pros And Cons Of The Study:

  • The con is fairly obvious. The participants in this study were all young, healthy and were not seriously overweight. If this were the only study of this type one might seriously question whether the results were applicable to middle aged, overweight coach potatoes. However, there have been several other studies with older, more overweight volunteers that have come to the same conclusion – namely that high protein diets preserve muscle mass and enhance fat loss.
  • The value of this study is that it defines for the first time the upper limit for how much protein is required to preserve muscle mass in a weight loss regimen. 28% of calories is sufficient, and there appear to be no benefit from increasing protein further. I would add the caveat that there are studies suggesting that protein requirements for preserving muscle mass may be greater in adults 50 and older.

The Bottom Line:

1)    Forget the high fat diets, low fat diets, pills and potions. High protein diets (~2X the RDA or 28% of calories) do appear to be the safest, most effective way to preserve muscle mass and enhance fat loss in a weight loss regimen.

2)     That’s not a lot of protein, by the way. The average American consumes almost 2X the RDA for protein on a daily basis. However, it is significantly more protein than the average American consumes when they are trying to lose weight. Salads and carrot sticks are great diet foods, but they don’t contain much protein.

3)     Higher protein intake does not appear to offer any additional benefit – at least in young adults.

4)     Not all high protein diets are created equal. What some people call high protein diets are laden with saturated fats or devoid of carbohydrate. The diet in this study, which is what I recommend, had 43% healthy carbohydrates and 30% healthy fats.

5)    These diets were designed to give 7 pounds of weight loss in 21 days – which is what the experts recommend. There are diets out there promising faster weight loss but they severely restrict calories and/or rely heavily on stimulants, they do not preserve muscle mass, and they often are not safe. In addition they are usually temporary.  I do not recommend them.

6)    This level of protein intake is safe for almost everyone. The major exception would be people with kidney disease, who should always check with their doctor before increasing protein intake. The only other caveat is that protein metabolism creates a lot of nitrogenous waste, so you should drink plenty of water to flush that waste out of your system. But, water is always a good idea.

7)     The high protein diets minimized, but did not completely prevent, muscle loss. Other studies suggest that adding the amino acid leucine to a high protein diet can give 100% retention of muscle mass in a weight loss regimen – but that’s another story for another day.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.