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Teeth grinding explained – self-massage techniques

Dr. Rick Iskandar

May 13, 2020
Bruxism self-massage tutorial


Hey Fam, Dr Rick here with a self-massage tutorial for relief of jaw pain and tension headaches caused by tight muscles. If you haven’t watched the previous videos in the bruxism relief series, jump up here and have a watch. 

Before we go any further, a couple of safety notes:

If you get started, and your face is too sore for these exercises, watch our ‘Bruxism relief’ video and try some of the home remedies or talk to your dentist or physiotherapist.

Self-massage must be done consciously and gently. You’re not going to fix everything in one session, and pulling or pushing too hard can damage your jaw joint.  You should only massage to the point of feeling the stretch, not pain. 

Doing these exercises regularly – ideally, every day if you can complete these exercises without pain – will bring relief to sore jaw muscles, decrease the frequency or even wholly resolve tension headaches, improve the function of your jaw joint, prevent osteoarthritis, and even improve the appearance of your smile!

Okay, guys, give your hands a quick wash, and we’ll get started. You’ll also need your massage oil of choice, for today, I’ll be using Bio-Oil because it makes my skin feel nice 😀

For all of these exercises, it’s best to be sitting nice and tall with a straight back and relaxed shoulders, we’ll be doing exercises to stretch out the muscles, relax soft tissue and begin to break up trigger points


Temporalis Stretch open


      1. Relax your muscles, don’t try to resist the pull
      2. Your mouth will probably want to stretch away from your fingers; just let your mouth relax as well.
      3. If pulling down is too intense, you can also use your thumb and pointer to stretch the temporalis more gently
      4. You may find that your neck wants to roll forward, just be mindful of your posture and keep your chin lifted gently
      5. As you pull, you will likely feel the tension radiating to your temple area
      6. We’re going to do three rounds of ten seconds, let’s go!


2. Masseter Soft tissue massage


      1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor.
      2. Tilt your head forward slightly and place your index and middle fingers under your cheekbone.
      3. Locate the muscle by gently clenching your teeth and relax your jaw.
      4. Using your fingers in a circular motion, apply gentle pressure to the muscle.
      5. We’ll be doing this massage for about 30 seconds



3. Temporalis Soft Tissue Massage


      1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor.
      2. Place your fingertips (two or three fingers) approximately 2 fingers breadth higher than your cheekbone and your ear.
      3. Clench your teeth to locate the muscle, and relax your jaw.
      4. Gently massage this area through circular motions.
      5. Move from the front of the head (temporal area) to the middle (above the ear) to the back (behind the ear).
      6. We’ll be moving our fingers backwards slowly over 30 seconds of this massage


4. Masseter trigger point release


      1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor.
      2. Tilt your head forward slightly and place your index finger just under your cheekbone.
      3. Locate a tender point in the muscle that replicates your usual pain complaints.
      4. Apply firm pressure to this tender point, while keeping your jaw relaxed.
      5. Hold this pressure for the indicated amount of time.
      6. Perform this exercise on the affected side as instructed by your clinician.


5. Chimp-face relaxation technique


      1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor.
      2. Take a deep breath in through your nose
      3. Puff up your cheeks
      4. Blow out the air with an audible sigh
      5. Hold for two seconds, feel where there might be a bit of tension making it difficult to relax your cheeks enough for them to  blow up like a balloon, take a mental note of it feels when the cheeks are fully inflated
      6. We’ll be doing this five times in a row, really deep breath in, exaggerated, full puff out


6. Musical relaxation


    1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor.
    2. Gently say the letter N or hum while keeping the jaw relaxed.
    3. This is our final relaxation exercise, take a moment to feel how your jaw is feeling compared to when we started, see if you can feel that extra length in the jaw muscles and decompression of the jaw joint

Okay, guys, you are now equipped with the knowledge to improve your facial tension drastically, it’s just a matter of discipline and diligence completing these exercises daily to get your facial tension under control

I’d love to provide you with guidance if you feel like things aren’t settling as quickly as you’d hoped. If you have questions or need advice, leave us a comment below, if you enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe, and I’m sure you can visualise that stressed person in your life that could do with some relaxation tools and techniques, send them this video, it may just reduce your stress levels too!

Thanks for watching guys, hope you’re all staying healthy, safe and smiling, we’ll talk soon.

Hey guys, here’s a video for you in case your facial tension, anxiety or stress levels are getting a bit out of hand. Many of the patients we’ve seen for emergency appointments the past few weeks have been put in this painful situation by the effects of acute stress leading to muscle tension, tension headaches, joint pain and cracked teeth.

To help those who aren’t managing their stress too well, Dr Rick has put together a self-massage tutorial to guide you through some exercises and stretches to get that tension under control!

Let the team know how you go with the exercises or if you have any questions about how to get through it!

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