On Wednesday, I wrote of my discovery and recovery from jaw and neck pain. Left untreated, tension in your primary jaw muscles, the masseter and temporalis, can lead to dysfunction at the temporomandibular joint, commonly referred to as TMJ. As many young people in this country, I was outfitted with braces from a young age that completely shifted my bite, and as a result, changed the relationship between the soft and hard tissues surrounding my jaw.
If you suffer from jaw pain, neck pain, a clicking jaw or TMJ – try these simple Yoga Tune Up Therapy ball routines that address jaw-related aches and pains.
Enjoyed this article? Read Don’t Be So Superficial When Looking For Neck Pain.
I’ll be practicing this sequence myself and will use this information to help craft a sequence for my students!
This reminds me of the time my dentist felt around my jaw and felt the tightness of my masseter and said I should probably try yoga (and is already been practicing for 20 years). ? love the masseter and temple sequence.
My entire family has to wear nightguards because of teeth grinding. I have constant jaw clicking, so I can’t wait to try and then share these rolling techniques.
Nodding my way to sweeter dreams! Thanks for the quick reminder to use my YTU balls to roll out my massater (jaw check) and soothe away any tension before I wake up from a night of clenching and/or grinding the stress residue from my day through my teeth.
Love these videos! So important for the health of our jaw, not to mention our nervous systems! I used to chew only with one side due to dental procedures gone wrong on the other side. Massaging my masseter, digastric and temporalis were a huge help in my pain relief!
I feel a huge difference when I chew my food – after using this technique. I now chew more evenly on both sides – an imbalance I had that I wasn’t even aware of!
Thinking about how much we use our jaw each day emphasizes the importance of rolling out our masseter muscle. Stress in the face muscles creates malnourished tissue! Thank you for these tips to relieve jaw pain and tension. I will be including these YTU techniques in my ball rolling night ritual!
I tend to grind my teeth and clench my jaw muscles when I’m asleep due to stress. I can’t wait to try this!
Wow! Thank you for the TMJ relief video Alexandra. That is such a simple exercise to do yet sooo powerful! I can feel a real release in my face after just a few minutes.
My sister would grind her teeth so hard I could hear it in the other room. I love, love, LOVE the double ball technique that you have here, and I never knew how much my masseter was bothering me until I propped a YTU ball under it. You’d never catch me doing that with a lacrosse ball 😉
OMG, Alex – I cannot WAIT to try this tonight! I clench and grind in my sleep – always have, but it’s been getting worse the last year or so. I haven’t seen the dual ball use for temple and masseter yet! Genius! Totally doing this tonight, thank you times a freaking million. (p.s. Dear Insurance Companies: why do you always exclude TMJ and bruxism? JERKS!)
I’m so grateful to find some information to help people who had braces… and jaw tension ! Try it tonight ! Merci !
I learned yesterday that the average person moves their TMJ 2000-3000 times a day. WOW! I’m a talker, so my guess is I move mine about twice that much! I’m gonna add your rolling sequence to my bedtime routine. If better sleep occurs, that’s a bonus!
Rolling through these routines was fantastic. I have TMJ issues and the balls help a lot. I hadn’t thought about my early braces being a possible culprit…I’ll ask the orthodontist more questions about my kids’ treatment. Thank you!
Thank you for your blog and attaching the video of Jill Miller and Kelly Starrett. I really liked how Jill and Kelly explained of tissues involved in TMJ and neck issues and how they demonstrated the exercises.
This is great and incredibly helpful. I have been clenching my teeth at night on and off for years. We tend to conveniently ignore the consequences of these unconscious patterns, since we don’t know how to reverse them (and I have tried many things)! Needless to say, I look forward to testing out these YTU massage techniques and to see if that helps release tension and pressure in my jaw — and to help teach my nervous system that there is another way to be!
Wow! This technique is incredibly relaxing. It generally does not occur to me to roll out the muscles of the face, but I could actually notice an immediate improvement in my neck tension after trying this technique. Chewing will, of course, give face quite a workout! But, the facial muscles are incredibly reactive to our emotions, so it is no surprise that the masseter and temporalis could be so tender to the touch. I will definitely start to incorporate more face massage into my routine!
It’s amazing how much relief you can achieve on your own with these YTU balls! So many rely on doctors or chiropractors for relief in this area or simply put up with the pain.
This will really help me in between my massage and chiropractic sessions. They often massage from the inside (gloved hand) and I haven’t been able to find relief on my own outside of those sessions. Many thanks!
Before taking some of the YTU trainings this year, I hadn’t even considered rolling anywhere on my head, but I did try this exact movement a couple of months ago and it was so fabulous it has become a regular addition. I love using sustained compression as I watch TV lying on my side and the laziness of just moving my jaw or cheek to shift to another spot! I am convinced this has helped alleviate the sustained gritting of my teeth when at work.
Thanks for these, Alex. I’m going to try them tonight while I watch tv. I’m also going to share them with my mom, who has a clicking jaw. Can’t wait to see how it works for her.
Such a great reminder that the face loves rolling too! And I second the down regulation comments.
Thank you Alexandra,
I’m looking forward to trying this before bed tonight. I saw the dentist last week because my mouth guard was causing my teeth to shift and seemed to be causing more pain than support. I’ve stopped wearing it and have been looking for alternative solutions that are less invasive and more therapeutic.
First off, before taking the teacher training, i had no clue that there even was a muscle in the jaw (ok, i knew there must be something but i never put any thought into it). But now I will say that the Masseter gets a lot of love from me!
These sequences are a gem!
Thank you Alexandra!
Yes, yes and yes. This was the first time for me trying the therapy balls in the tote, and it did not disappoint! Thank you for sharing this relief technique Alex!
Besides the great help these exercises provide for TMJ issues, I found , as a rookie to the technique, that the relaxation and emotional release was tremendous and it set me for a great night sleep! I am curious to try a full head and face sequence on a regular basis now. Those muscles are definitely neglected in regular training programs and I realise there is so much tension accumulated there hence I would not be surprised that it may affect my sports performances and general well-being for the better. Keep it rolling baby!! 🙂
I never thought of putting the balls in the tote.. it doesn’t get as deep, but that can make it a good modification if one ball alone is too much.
Great Post! Thank you for the videos, they have wonderful tips in there. I suffer from jaw pain and it is mostly caused from grinding or clenching my jaw when I sleep. These tips will definitely help especially the two balls on temporalis and the masseter!
Thank you…I talk a lot while teaching and have often experienced headaches and neck pains. The YTU masseter ball routine has worked wonders for me personally and for my students.
THis is fantastic. In addition to TMJ and gum chewers,this would be applicable to people who are frequently smiling. A great emergency kit addition to brides on their wedding day. I know my face was tired from smiling all day!
As I massage therapist I encounter endless jaw tension in my clients…many of whom had no idea they were even clenching/grinding their teeth. When treating TMJ dysfunction it is equally important to treat the internally accessed muscles of the pterygoids. Please ensure the therapist is properly trained in this modality.
You can also often find the jaw will compensate for inhibition throughout the core. The jaw will help create false stability for an unstable core.
I’ve never had jaw clicking or braces but this sequence with the balls on the temple and masseter still felt amazing.
I often use the YTU balls on my jaw and temples before bed. But I’d never tried rolling on both the temple and masseter at the same time. Love it! and I also am adding scalenes work into my jaw-focus routine. Thanks for this great post!
I’m a dental hygienist and can’t wait to share these videos with patients ,family, and friends. Many patients have problems (pain & fatigue) prior to and after their dental appointments. I think these techniques will be very beneficial to them. Thanks!
Gonna try adding the woe is me. Off to bed really soon but first a little Masseter and temple release. Nighty night.
I love this sequence. As a massage therapist, who often treats 4 clients back to back, I began to realize that as my body became tired my body mechanics would become worse and worse. I got into a habit of leaning my head forward to look at my clients; bracing myself with my SCM and jaw for some of my techniques and began experiencing neck pain and tension headaches. My SCM’s looked like 2 cables working to hold up a 100 story building! This jaw technique along with pin and spinning the SCM has alleviated this problem and I find it much easier to maintain good body mechanics throughout my day treating clients. My SCM’s have settled back into their happy home in my neck and the jaw sequence provides instant relief to a tension headache and puts me right to sleep.
I can’t wait to try the technique in your video, Alex. One of my fellow co-trainees at the Level 1 training this week created a sequence for the masseter using one ball, which gave me great results. I bet the results are even better with the two-ball technique! I showed my son how to roll one ball on his masseter, and he couldn’t believe how he could open his mouth wider. (Of course he wasn’t too keen on the fact that I had him rolling his feet on the ball first, and then he had to use it on his face.) I was also fascinated when Jill mentioned the connection between fasciae in the jaw and the hips. Gabriela’s comment above added more insight to that connection for me.
I have a lot of neck pain and jaw tension, so I found these exercises to be extremely helpful for myofascial release, opening things up right away. Previously, I’d been afraid to put too much tension on these muscles for fear of increased pain, but strumming them with just the right amount of pressure from the therapy balls feels amazing, especially on that tough masseter! Thank you!!
I often see people unconsciously tighten their jaw in yoga practice – I can’t wait to teach those new techniques.
This is a great way to release tension at the TMJ. Also, its amazing how releasing this particular joint will have an amazing effect on the hips. By releasing TMJ ,fascia is released too so the sternocleidomastoid, a muscle inserted at this joint, relieves any tension that could have, helping the Trapezius, a triangle shaped muscle that originates at the craneal base toalso release tension. This also has an effect on the Quadratus Lumborum. All the release fascia and connecting tissue around all these muscles will have a tremendous effect on the pelvis. So, a “small” movement goes a long way. The whole body is connected and I love the way you can see and be aware of that by moving and working on your own body and these Yoga Tune Up balls are perfect to work on yourself and becoming more aware of the mechanics of the body.
This actually works. Wow! My new favorite! Years of clicking jaw instantly better. Thank you!
Hit these tight wonders tonight in the ball rolling class and the Yoga Tune Up therapy balls were such a quick and easy to use tool and with less than a minute these vice-like muscles softened and relaxed! Now that’s something to chew on!! Thanks for the post!
When these muscles are tight they can put pressure on the trigeminal nerve causeing lots of problems. The trigeminal nerve regulates blood flow to the perfectal cortex, so if you are feeling slow in the head. Check for a tight jaw.
Today I rolled out my infraspinatus, suprispantus and treres minor – the amount of tension I found in these areas was quite reveiling. What surprised me even more was the amount of jaw tension I experianced while rolling out my shoulders. It was the first time I rolled my blades like that. I found the jaw tension I was transfering from one body blind spot to another was fascinating and used the above techniques to further eradicate the tension from my body. The rest of the day i noticed an increased awareness in both areas. Rolling my masseter mindfully allowed me to connect to the work I did deeper down the line!
This is a GREAT before bed tip. I know a lot of people who say that during the day when they’re busy, they don’t notice jaw tension, but when they start to unwind and de-stimulate themselves at the end of the day, they discover an extraordinary amount of it. Likewise with headaches. Doing this short routine with the balls can definitely help undo that; if you don’t take the time, and you fall asleep with that tension, chances are it’s going to continue in your sleep (grinders don’t have a long way to go if they’re going to bed with wound up jaws).
Perfect! A simple fast bedtime routine. Thank you for posting.
I tried this last night for 2 min each side. I found my neck was way more relaxed and I had an issue with grinding my teeth. I’ll have to do this on a more long term basis. I’m excited how a simple therapy ball massage could release so much tension. Thank u so much!
I had never considered how wearing braces could ead to TMJ. Thank you for lining these two great videos to help all of those afflicted.
This is a great tool for life! Not just for people who have had braces but us night time grinders where we can’t control contracting our masseter and temporalis muscles for long periods of time that also gives us headaches. Thank you for the videos 🙂
This was a good one, Kelly no more gum chewing for me!
Alexandra thanks for the night time tip,
My daughter wears braces this sounds like the answer:-)
Alex, thank you! To hit the masseteur and temporalis at the same time with the balls in the tote will help relieve so much jaw tension. I appreciate the tip. Up to now I have only worked them with one ball at the masseteur. Good insight.
Really enjoyed these videos. I also had braces as a kid and my jaw has been clicking for years – I’ll definitely start incorporating all these techniques into my daily routine!
Great Tip Alexandra, my boy is getting orthodontic treatment coming is way I will make sure to introduce him to that ball series.
I think besides braces, talking and chewing gum there is also a great portion of psychological tension that affects the masseter and temporalis, whenever there is something you have to “chew” on.
i tried this and it is incredibly relaxing. I don’t have TMJ, however, you don’t know how much tension you carry in an area until you relieve it.
I like the 2 ball in the tote technique to hit the temporalis and the masseter. It is also just great to hear Jill and Kelly talk about the body. So interesting!
Great videos showing alpha ball placement where the scull meets the neck and on mastoid process, Plus ball on temple and messeter.
Jill’s Roll Method book goes through a whole series of rolling to help the head/neck/jaw muscles. Word of caution – it is very down regulating, so make it last, not first in your rolling!