Steve Finnemore, Massage Therapist
One cause of jaw pain that's often missed
Jaw and neck problems can be particularly debilitating and often clients are unaware of why the problem has arisen. I’ve noticed over the years a common pattern in those clients who come to me for help with tight muscles around the jaw and neck, often with stiffness and pain. Very often they have had recent dental treatment requiring them to remain with their heads up and mouth wide open for longer than the usual time it takes for a check up or quick procedure.
It’s not surprising really – the muscles involved are small muscles not used to maintaining that position for any length of time, let alone the 2 hours or more of a major dental procedure. Yet it has rarely occurred to the client that this could be the origin of the problem. What’s more, it seems that many dentists do not warn their patients that this could happen.
It’s funny how we expect certain muscles to have problems when we use them in a novel way – our backs when we do more gardening than usual, our legs after a new exercise or dance class – yet rarely when the muscles involved are the smaller ones that we don’t think of as working or exercising (the jaw and other facial muscles in this case).
As always, prevention is better than cure of course and there are a few things that you can do yourself to lessen the chances of a problem arising. The best way of avoiding stiff and painful muscles after an extended dental procedure is to stretch and massage the muscles involved as soon as you can after you’ve had the work done. That way, you greatly reduce the chance of the muscles seizing up.
If, after that, if you do still get stiffness and pain then arrange for a massage with someone who is experienced in specialised, remedial facial massage (this is a specialised area and can involve specific techniques which are not included in many massage courses). Fortunately, the muscles usually respond very quickly and so you’ll feel better after a single massage.
If have any muscle stiffness and pain that's causing you problems and would like an appointment, then contact me to discover how I could help.
( Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)