Best Myofascial Release Tools for TMJ/TMD Jaw Pain Relief

Myofascial Release on the Jaw for TMJ and Headaches

Related to the solution of TMJ disorder with massaging therapy, this post will specifically discuss how Myofascial Release can help you relieve TMJ pain. 

For alternative massaging techniques to relieve TMJ, there is myofascial release that can be said as a bodywork technique using a longer sustained massage tool which is held in each spot, then use that massaging tool to gradually pressure that will slowly increase the depth, until the practitioner feels the soften fascia.  

As you know that fascia is the body’s connective tissue, like your muscles’ shrink-wrap, where these areas are said as its restriction on the muscle which is causing tension or pain, as well as acupressure points. 

On the other words, fascia is tough connective tissue spreading throughout your body in a three-dimensional web and it surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, and blood vessel and provides support, stability, and cushioning. 

If the fascia system is tightened it can lead to poor muscular bio-mechanics, altered structural alignment, and decreased strength. 

Then, releasing the fascia within the jaw joint will really help to restore and realign the structure of the muscles, which will give more mobility within the joint.

Doing myofascial to your muscle will be much slower and mindful than other methods that can also range from superficial to very deep work. 

As an introduction, it will be better if you know firstly about the cause of TMJ or TMD

What is TMJ/TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder which is also known as TMD can be said as a common condition in that the temporomandibular joint becomes strained or injured and it will also lead the natural functions of the jaw to result in pain when opening the mouth or chewing. 

Temporomandibular joint is located in front of your ear canal on either side of the head, which connects the lower jaw or mandible to the temporal bone of the skull. 

Some people may incorrectly know this condition as TMJ 

But, TMJ itself is the name of the joint rather than the condition. 

For the condition of TMD treatment, applying massaging methods such as physical therapy and myofascial release are safe and effective ways of relieving pain and restoring proper movement. 

On the other words, the best adjunct treatment for TMD can be applied with self massaging. 

The temporomandibular joint aka TMJ is a hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, located in front of each ear. 

This joint functions to move your jaw up and down, and side-to-side, where it is needed to talk, chew, and yawn. 

The primary muscles controlling such actions and subsequent muscular dysfunctions are the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoid muscles.

If this joint is strained, it is caused by an injury to the jaw, head, or neck as well as emotional stresses, postural stresses, clenching of the teeth, or arthritis. 

Besides, it can also be caused by injury or strain such as poor posture resulting from abnormal spinal curves and/or hip and neck position. 

Furthermore, such conditions will result in muscle imbalances in the jaw, head, and neck which in turn alter the position and proper mechanics of the jaw. 

Moreover, abnormal positioning of the jaw may also be the cause of the symptoms of TMD, where it may affect children, adolescents, and adults. 

What Causes TMJ Disorder ?

People with TMJ may experience anterior displacement in which it is pain with eating, chewing, yawning, and talking that result in clicking in their jaw. 

Such conditions are caused by the disc in the jaw is displaced anteriorly or it moves forwards because of the lateral pterygoid muscle 

Or, the disc is wider posteriorly which is in the back than anteriorly that will make it easier for the disc to move forwards than backward. 

To get back normal, working inside the mouth to release restrictions in the lateral pterygoid is essential for healing. 

According to this, the lateral pterygoid functions to pull the disc forwards, and releasing tension in this muscle is needed to help move the disc back into the correct position.

On the other hand, stress and emotions are the main reasons for the tension in the jaw. 

When in such condition, you may often tighten your jaw and if you can’t feel your emotions, the tension in your jaws can stick. 

The emotions pop up when the pterygoid and jaw muscles release which can help resolve the tension in the jaw and restore the jaw back to the right function.

In addition, the rest of your body may also contribute to the tension in your jaw. 

This occurs in the sacrum or tailbone and upper cervicals or neck. 

Besides, for people with weakness or postural restrictions in their body, their neck and jaw will try to correct in order to keep them upright. 

For such reasons, addressing the full body is necessary for permanent recovery of the temporomandibular joint. 

Generally, TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles controlling jaw movement 

This can then be spreading to the surrounding areas if the pain on your jawline is not getting resolved fast. 

Eventhough, TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine it can cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew.

The factor of TMJ disorder may be caused by a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. 

Sometimes, there are people with jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth aka bruxism, although some of them habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorder compared to the others. 

What are Signs or Symptoms of TMJ/TMD ?

For specific description, some signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders can be included in these following lines 

  1. Clicking or popping of the jaw by itself when opening or closing the jaw
  2. Jaw feels pain or tenderness in the face, neck, shoulders, jaw joint and stiffness
  3. Jaw has limited range of motion and a tired feeling in the face
  4. Teeth is grinding or gum pain with locking of the jaw
  5. You may often feel headaches, fascial pain, neck pain, muscle spasms, ear aches or ringing in the ears, teeth pain, extremity numbness, backaches
  6. Feeling difficult to sleep, fatigue, frustration, anger, and depression
  7. You will feel aching pain in and around your ear that will make you difficult to chew or while chewing 
  8. Except getting aching around your ear, you will also feel aching on facial pain
  9. Later on, TMJ disorder will lock of the joint, which will make it difficult to open or close your mouth 

All of those signs or symptoms are caused by the soft tissue holding the joint together and allowing it to function such as muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue often presents with a tightness that can affect the normal Temporomandibular joint movement which combines a hinge action with sliding motions. 

Still related to TMJ, the parts of the bones interacting in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk that functions to keep the movement smooth normally. 

Furthermore, the tightness may be the factor leading to joint misalignment, and or excessive tension and overload on muscles, ligaments, cartridge, tendons, other connective tissue and the joint itself. 

If it lasts any longer, it can produce irritation and a constant inflammatory cycle on the area in question. 

And, if the issue is not getting the right treatment, it will spread to other muscles and even joints close by causing the symptoms to spread to the neck, headaches and even shoulder disorders. 

Can TMJ Treatment be Solved with Medication and Exercises?

Most people may choose to get the treatment of solving their TMJ disorder with pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications and exercises. 

Here, the medications merely treat TMJ symptoms but the origin cause of the issue is not getting solved first. 

TMJ treatment with exercises focuses on strengthening to correct joint misalignment, which will later increase the pain. 

Because the misalignment can cause as muscle weakness instead of tightness, so that it will increase muscle tension 

And, it also triggers overstress, the already stressed tissue and joints generally. 

Your tight muscle will always test weak positive since the fibers and contracted do not have the full length to perform in the correct way. 

Can Botox Help Relieve TMJ Disorder?

Some people may think of getting rid of TMJ with a Botox treatment option that is to inject the tight muscles.

Botox itself can be defined as a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. 

This kind of toxin is the same toxin causing a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism. 

The way of Botox work is it blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles in which the injected muscle cannot contract 

It happens with those treated muscles will atrophy, where it can be regarded with a quick solution to the pain but a long term it may be a problem for the joint 

As an illustration, it will completely change the biomechanics of the TMJ joint 

And, it is probably adjacent joints as well, because of you may be desperate enough to begin treating TMJ with Botox, then the problem spreads to other joints or areas as cervical and shoulder including muscles or joint itself 

For such reasons, the medical practitioner will offer to inject not only the TMJ muscles but all the painful ones which will then test hyperactive in an Electromyography or similar test of that. 

For basic understanding, how TMJ joint directly and indirectly works will be related to other joints such as the skull, skull-cervical joint, all the cervical segments and the shoulder joint. 

At this point, if one of them changes biomechanics in the short and long term this affects all the others at the next level. 

For further, the muscle atrophy will get to muscle weakness because it is not reversible even though Botox activity is temporal which is long enough to cause muscle atrophy in irreversible 

Well, it may be permanent if it is seen from the lead to joint and muscle imbalances and or misalignment or premature joint wear. 

Does Myofascial Release Solve TMJ?

If you think of treating your TMJ with myofascial release, the underlying cause of your pain may not be in the jaw. 

In a glance, it sounds strange, but all of your body parts will be connected through the fascial system. 

And, if you have fascial restrictions in your body, it might be the cause of the tension in the painful area will be increasing. 

For the initial step, you must think about the fascial system as a 3-D web throughout the entire of your body.

Happily, applying Myofascial Release as your TMJ treatment is able to decrease and eventually eliminate soft tissue tension and joint and cartilage misalignment in which these are the real cause of TMJ pain.  

If you take Myofascial Release as your TMJ treatment, it can be achieved by using structural releases directly over or around the trigger points, gentle joint mobilizations, cranial releases and other body parts fascia releases.  

If the releasing the fascia is performed correctly, you will no longer experience TMJ pain. 

In addition, if you want to learn more about how Myofascial Release can help you relieve your TMJ pain, make sure to read this post as a basic guide to solving TMJ that you can do without side effects. 

How to Do Myofascial Release for TMJ at Home by Self with Tool ?

In accordance with this, myofascial release-style slow, firm movements to massage from the neck and shoulders to the base of the skull, then to the temples, and then back down along the outer sides of the scalp and jaw.  

In the meantime, you can finish up with a few more minutes of the inside-the-mouth, fish-hooking technique.  

Beyond that, myofascial release can be used to address impaired range of motion, chronic and acute pain, pre and post workout stretching 

To deal with that, you can use foam rolling as self-myofascial release 

Myofascial treatment will also be useful after an injury to increase blood flow and to encourage healing 

Alongside, you can sometimes use Gua Sha or soft tissue tools to massage for relaxation. 

Doing self-myofascial release can be a new way of stretching your own jaw to alleviate tension that can radiate up and back to your whole head, and down your neck and even to your shoulders 

At this point, you can follow these steps to solve TMJ that you can do by yourself

Related to the jaw stretching, it is worked inside the mouth that you can do with your own finger   

  1. To do this, you can take your pointer finger, make a hook motion, and on the same side of your body 
  2. When doing so, your right hand goes to the right side of the face, hook the tip of your finger inside your cheek so that the tip of your finger will press into the inside of the cheek. 
  3. Slowly move the finger so that it’s sandwiched between your upper teeth and the inside of your cheek.
  4. Then, you can move it against the inside of the cheek, and move it back and up until you feel hitting a wall inside your cheek.
  5. Remember to slowly and carefully sink your fingertip into that wall in up and down motions inside the cheeks, as if you are scaling the wall. 
  6. Never press too hard at once when doing so just loosen it up slowly.
  7. For better results, make sure to repeat the actions for 5 minutes, then switch the inside cheek sides. 

Additionally, to treat your face beauty with gua sha tool, you can practice an indulgent facial massage every night before going to bed and after shower into evening as your routine, because it can de-puffs and boosts blood flow 

If you can do light lymphatic massage, it will really help to de-puff and keep your face from retaining extra fluid 

As a result, this extra fluid will help with long-term stretching of the skin, which adds to loss of elasticity 

When massaging your face skin, you can use both quick and slow upward strokes to energize and improve tone, as well as doing a light pressure to the bones of the face that will help keep connective tissues adhering to the bone rather than falling off, as it does with your age. 

During the massaging process, continue to swipe the gua sha tool across the face and neck with the flat side against the skin. 

At that moment, you can do light-to-medium pressure and slow strokes, which you can start from upward on neck muscles to help relax them.

Afterward do the same from your clavicle to your jaw bone, then use a bit of pressure to stimulate bone and collagen synthesis. 

Once swiping five times and wiggling the gua sha tool back and forth on the bone, continue to move it to the area between your jawline and your cheekbone, while swiping from the mouth outward toward the ear and applying slight pressure on the bone gently.  

The way you move the gua sha tool on your skin surface will make you exert concentrated pressure, as well as the cool stone de-puffed your skin which will be more noticeable compared with facial massage. 

Moreover, gua massage can also sculpt your jawline even after just one use not to mention lifts your cheekbones and brows. 

It is caused by the way microcurrent targets can lift and tone the actual muscles in the face, them through low-level electric current. 

This microcurrent can be said as a low-level current going in and stimulating down to the muscles, like having a truly fitness for your face 

In the way of the microcurrent penetrating all the way to the muscles and gliding the gua sha tool from the middle of your neck outward easily, you can apply the Gel Primer which is a necessary conductor to do that. 

Once doing so, you can then move it under your jawbone and hold it, while pulsing lightly to concentrate the microcurrent on those muscles. 

After that, you can then glide gua sha tool up your face from your chin to your ear. 

Continue to work through the side of your face entirely for proving the results where you may see the lift and contour being noticeably different. 

If you do all steps correctly, you will notice the result after a single use, in which you can gua sha tool consistently, about three times per week for ten minutes to see your jawline looking sculpted and longer. 


Normally, you can open and close your mouth comfortably and smoothly if the muscles of your mouth and face are relaxed and balanced correctly 

And, since the two temporomandibular joints are in normal condition, you can chew, talk, and yawn without pain or discomfort. 

When you are about to lessen and alleviate the symptoms of TMD, you may often seek treatment through medications, bite guards, braces, and even surgery which will be applied in medical treatment 

But, physical therapy, treating and evaluating TMD using a whole-body wellness approach is needed for the first step. 

At this point, your physical therapists will conduct a postural assessment checking for muscle and spinal imbalances as well as other injuries that you may feel on your body while discovering the main problem causing the TMD symptoms. 

For further steps, the combination of an individualized treatment with a manual therapy, myofascial release, exercise, and stress intervention techniques are needed to solve TMJ symptoms issues.  

To get your two temporomandibular joints back to normal condition, you can try applying the massaging method of Myofascial Release which has been found to be an effective treatment for TMJ.

This myofascial release to relieve TMJ relies on finding the pain while looking elsewhere for the cause, such as the fascial web that may be the main cause of many pain patterns to be referred from the primary site. 

Knowing the main causes or contributing factors of TMJ may include direct injury to the jaw, face or head from a heavy blow or whiplash. 

A person with TMJ often feels clenching or grinding the teeth, arthritis,dislocation of disc, and psycho-emotional stress. 

On the other side, some indirect or extrinsic factors may include trauma to anywhere else in the body, poor pelvic alignment, muscle or postural imbalances, poor oral habits and or body mechanics at home and work. 

Again, treatment for tmj ranges from various conservative care protocols to surgery if you take medical steps. 

If you take non medical steps, you can try massaging your face area with myofascial release method

The treatment and management of TMJ with this method focuses on structural and fascial misalignments and the resulting compensations within the body. 

You may firstly need to evaluate and treat the many components involved in creating tmj symptoms.  

However, if you feel TMJ symptoms for the first time, you can do these steps for prevention

  1. Be sure to evaluate and improve your stress, diet and exercise. 

Related to this, you can start doing something daily with a positive impact on stress, diet and overall wellness of the body and mind. 

Do self exercise with a few stretches throughout the day that promote good body mechanics, open and expand the body, increase oxygen and cardiovascular performance and decrease stress. 

  1. You can continue to use manual techniques to treat yourself like massaging your face area with myofascial release which may involve working on the muscles and soft tissues of the neck, shoulders, jaw and head.  

In the process, this method will include work inside the mouth which can be extremely beneficial to release soft tissue restrictions.

Later on, with the help of a longer sustained massage tool with myofascial release method, you can use much deeper pressure while still inducing profound relaxation.  

Applying myofascial release to relieve your TMJ syndrome is much more noticeable and longer lasting than other deep tissue modalities.  

Additionally, myofascial release massage technique can be said as an intention behind a slow massage technique, which will deliberate sinking in to the fascia and to release the tightness where this issue requires a firm but gentle touch 

At a time, you can use this technique to all over your body especially on the hands and feet 

Once again, Myofascial Release helps relieve the pain and discomfort of one of the most common jaw joint disorders, temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD caused by pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. 

To get better results, you can combine Myofascial Release and CranioSacral Therapy to alleviate pain and increase range of motion within the jaw joint by releasing fascial which is connective tissue restrictions. 

Such techniques focus around the muscles that control jaw movement

Releasing fascial restrictions helps to restore movement by elongating the connective tissue surrounding and penetrating the muscle. 

Read this article to learn more about how to solve tmj with gua sha tools

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