101 Things I’ve Learned from my Massage Therapist-Day 5

Tooth Pain

I Woke up this morning with pain in my teeth.

tooth and me

My first instinct was panic; I  took a deep breath and cradled my face. The “heat” from my hand felt so good. The exhale that followed brought me back into the moment. I was in a panic; Two or three of my teeth were aching so badly I made an emergency appointment with the dentist. The dentist poked around and she couldn’t find anything of concerned. I felt so defeated by the pain I began to cry. As I drove home in tears the solution hit me.  I had gone to school to become a massage therapist, and we learn all about the trigger points in the muscles of the face.  I pulled over and looked up my favorite reference for trigger points.

temporalis-trigger-points

Thank you www.triggerpoints.net

Amazing how my mind could send me spiraling into fear and stress even though i had the solution.  I started to rub the muscles vigorously at first and dug for the the most painful spot so I could use a really specific pressure. The pain in my teeth  and Jaw started to subside.

Pain in the face and Jaw can be a little complicated and I’ll often refer out to an osteopath or dentist; however, i do massage the muscles of the face often. Intra-oral massage meaning inside the mouth can be really effective. Before I get started with my hands in the mouth there’s usually some Orthopedic assessments; some tests to assess where I’m going to be treating. I wear latex-free gloves and generally go over what I’m going to do, where I’m going to palpate what it might feel like and then we establish hand signals.

My go to test is to draw an imaginary line from the nose to the chin and just observe whether the tracks left or right if you can’t open the mouth with out shifting left or right the muscles of the jaw Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) could be tight.

Having  somebody else put their hands inside of our mouths can make you feel very vulnerable so I always encourage my patients to work on it themselves.

  1. With your palm facing forward, close all of my fingers except for my index finger
  2. Run your finger along the side of the upper teeth on the contralateral side (the opposite side is much easier access)
  3. When you get to the very back of the teeth slide your finger  down in between the top and the bottom teeth.
  4. You will feel a little ridge of muscle might even feel like a bone. This area can be painful so be gentle and listen to your body
  5. Imagine you’re just pushing into cold butter. Stay there for a few moments and  feel how that muscle begins to melt underneath the pressure.
  6. working with the breath can be a really useful tool to dealing with pain. Keep breathing in and out and focus right through the middle of the pain.

If it hurts do less. Reassess the opening and closing of the jaw.  Was there a change?

Keep Learning! Keep adventuring for solutions! and Keep asking for help!

Peace and Love. M

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