Masseter muscle massage (MMM, which is almost as tasty as an alliterative, consonant whole as it is an acronym) is a home care technique that you might try for TMJ and may reduce muscle-related jaw pain. In keeping with our previous rationale, we’ll evaluate this type of home care for your TMJ, then walk you through the basic steps of how to perform it.
4 Questions about MMM
Remember the four questions to always ask about home care for TMJ? Let’s ask them of MMM:
Is it harmful? No. It’s very unlikely that you are going to harm yourself with this home care technique.
Is it effective? While there are no real studies evaluating the effectiveness of this technique rigorously, we know that people anecdotally have experienced benefit from this particular home care technique.
Is it expensive? Nope. There’s no cost involved but your time.
Is it complicated? Not really. It may take a little while to figure out how to do it, and you may not be able to get good results, but there isn’t much to this technique.
How to Perform MMM for Your TMJ
The masseter muscle is one of your largest chewing muscles. It connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw, running from the rearward portion of your jawbone toward the forward part of your cheek, just under your cheekbone.
First, put your index finger inside your mouth so that the fingernail rests against your upper molars. The finger should be up against the cheekbone, also known as the zygomatic arch.
Place your thumb on the outside of your cheek and pinch down hard enough to cause moderate discomfort. Hold for about 20 seconds.
Then move finger and thumb down one finger width and pinch again. Work your way down to the bottom of your cheek, until your fingernail is resting against your lower molars. Repeat on the other side. You can also consult more detailed instructions here.
If you’re lucky, you might experience a release in the muscle pressure on your TMJ. If not, it may be that this technique is not effective for you, and you should seek professional TMJ care.