Body Sense

SPRING | 2019

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Page 11 of 16—your resource for all things bodywork 11 SYMPTOMS OF TMD Pain is the number-one symptom of TMD. That pain can be sharp, dull, jabbing, or electrical. It can be at the jaw, in the teeth, and/or in the eyes, ears, and over the back of the head. It is often exacerbated by activity at the mouth—not just eating, but any kind of vocal expression can elicit pain. In addition to mouth and facial pain, TMD can cause headaches, and trigger points can form in overactive muscles that stabilize the neck and head. TMD can lead to vertigo, neck pain, arm and shoulder pain, back pain, and changes in how you walk, all ripples of TMJ dysfunction, as the body tries to compensate for problems at this location. CAN MASSAGE THERAPY HELP? Many dental professionals enthusiastically recommend massage therapy as an early intervention for TMJ disorders. Many bodywork clients report that craniosacral therapy has helped their TMD. If someone has chronic TMJ pain, chances are good they have pain elsewhere too, which could affect the shoulder girdle and the position of the pelvis, as well as how the feet hit the ground— they're all connected. Let your massage therapist know about your jaw pain, the symptoms associated with it, and how you've been managing your pain. Together, develop a treatment plan that will help you move away from the pain caused by this common ailment. Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and a continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology, (available at, now in its sixth edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide.

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