I get a lot of neck and shoulder pain with my TMJD. I use heat and stretch. I can't tolerate ice due to the arthritis in my TM joints. I have a lot of trigger points. Has anyone benefited from massage therapy and if so, how do you find someone experienced with TMJD? Is there something else I can try? My specialist is supposed to be giving me a diet and exercise plan etc. but that won't be for several more weeks. I am miserable.
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replied November 19th, 2010
Experienced User
I have an appointment scheduled this coming Monday with a massage therapist for my TMJ. She said she is going to focus on the jaw, neck, and shoulder/trap muscles. She has TMJ herself so can relate and knows what is effective.

Do a search on google for different places that do massage therapy and see if they have anything about TMJ on it under their modalities. Call or email them asking them about their treatment for TMJ to see if it sounds like they know what they are doing or not.

You can also try taking magnesium supplements for muscle relaxation. You can get a bottle at the store for a couple of bucks... worth a try.

I will let you know how my first therapy session goes on Monday. Good luck.
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replied November 19th, 2010
Thanks. I have taken Magnesium for years.
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replied November 20th, 2010
Re: Help for the neck pain?
catsbox wrote:
I get a lot of neck and shoulder pain with my TMJD. I use heat and stretch. I can't tolerate ice due to the arthritis in my TM joints. I have a lot of trigger points. Has anyone benefited from massage therapy and if so, how do you find someone experienced with TMJD? Is there something else I can try? My specialist is supposed to be giving me a diet and exercise plan etc. but that won't be for several more weeks. I am miserable.


The entire upper quadrant can contribute to the pain you are experiencing. Physical therapy and massage will help with your neck and shoulder pain, but the results are short, perhaps up to 6 weeks. Have someone take a picture of you from the side. Many people with TMJ posture their lower jaw forward, then their head comes forward also and results in a postural position that is damaging to the neck and shoulders. If this is you, may I also suggest you look at the Alexander Technique, a well controlled study in the British Journal of Medicine showed excellent results in the management of neck and back pain.
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replied December 1st, 2010
Experienced User
Catsbox .. where in you neck do you feel pain ? Is there any right beside the little bump at the back of your head ?( the occiput )

Do you have any wear on your teeth ? Do you know if you grind at night ?
Any pain anywhere else in your head ?
Any past history of trauma ? When is the neck pain the worse?
Thanks for your answers...... all the info is important.
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replied December 2nd, 2010
Catsbox .. where in you neck do you feel pain ? Is there any right beside the little bump at the back of your head ?( the occiput )

I have trigger points in my bilateral occipital areas intermittently. Most of my pain is in my lower neck/traps/shoulders where there are multiple trigger points. I use a lot of moist heat, I stretch and use muscle relaxants. I'm fairly certain much of this neck pain is due to splinting for my left TMJ. I have bilateral ICR with displaced discs (the left does not reduce). As my neck pain increases, my jaw pain decreases. If I get on top of the neck pain and get those muscles relaxed then my jaw pain increases. I should have a new Michigan-type splint in another week or so. Hopefully that will give some relief.

Do you have any wear on your teeth ? Do you know if you grind at night ? Yes, I clench at night and have wear on my teeth. I have used some sort of a night guard/splint for several years now.

Any pain anywhere else in your head ? Most of my pain is in my left temple. Often the pain starts in my left TMJ and radiates up to my temple. I also have a lot of muscle pain around my jaws.

Any past history of trauma ? When is the neck pain the worse? I was in two MVA's, in both I was rear-ended. My neck pain is bad all of the time now, unless I use heat and muscle relaxants and stretch. It keeps me awake at night.

Thanks much for your help.
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replied December 2nd, 2010
Experienced User
Have your dentist pay close attention to right latero-protrusive excursions. It should be a VERY smooth transition to the canine, and then onto the laterals if possible. Don't have a major resistance point out there as the splenius capitus and semispinalis capitus will really be working hard if there is.

Have you had occipital nerve blocks ?
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replied December 2nd, 2010
I have not had any nerve blocks. My bite shifted to an open bite about 6 months ago, only my right front teeth touch now.
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replied December 2nd, 2010
Experienced User
Or a Rocobodo trained physiotherapist.
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replied December 3rd, 2010
2netta wrote:
catsbox, since you are a person who has had whiplash injuries from your MVA's, did you have your cervical vertebrae evaluated by a NUCCA or AO chiropractor?

The sucess with your splint treatment can be greatly influenced by the Atlas (C1) being torqued in relation to the skull or the Axis (C2)


This gets me back to looking at the Alexander Technique, not treatment but re-learning posture and movement to un-compress C1 and C2. Take a look at the Alexander Technique main site, it links to an excellent controlled study looking at the best ways to treat pain. I'm going to spend time with Rocobado later this year and hope to get his opinion on this, but I would have to believe he would recommend it.
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replied December 3rd, 2010
This is all quite interesting and new territory for me. I do overpronate my feet, have custom orthotics. I have done some research online re NUCCA and A/O chiropractic. I am an RN by background so I am sure you can understand my hesitancy. It is hard for me to believe that such gentle manipulation can have anything more than a psychosomatic effect? Is there sound science to support these therapies? Is one better than the other? I have found both in my local area but no Rocobado trained therapists other than one who is out of the country right now. I am open to trying anything to get relief if there if there is science behind it.
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replied December 3rd, 2010
2netta wrote:
It is much easier for the patient to have their posture passively correct when the muscles are in the relaxed position. Removing the CAUSES of forward head posture, a head tilt, and uneven shoulders by allowing the muscles to be in their most relaxed position the body takes care of a lot on it's own in conjunction with the NMDentist, A/O Chiropractors, NUCCA Chiropractors, Cranio-Sacral therapists, ART therapists, Rocobado trained therapists. Also, when a patient is undergoing NM therapy it is very important that a muscle strenthening progam be undertaken, with supervision, due to the muscle relationship being changed from habitual posture or the like that was pathologic.

It is important to know whether a patient has a structural short leg. Do the arches of their feet pronate in or supinate outward? All of these things can influence pain in the head and neck.


What does "muscles in their most relaxed position" mean? Muscle physiology defines any rest/relaxation position as “the minimal tonic contraction necessary to maintain posture and overcome gravity.” If all muscle were the most relaxed we'd all be slumped over.
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replied December 3rd, 2010
catsbox wrote:
This is all quite interesting and new territory for me. I do overpronate my feet, have custom orthotics. I have done some research online re NUCCA and A/O chiropractic. I am an RN by background so I am sure you can understand my hesitancy. It is hard for me to believe that such gentle manipulation can have anything more than a psychosomatic effect? Is there sound science to support these therapies? Is one better than the other? I have found both in my local area but no Rocobado trained therapists other than one who is out of the country right now. I am open to trying anything to get relief if there if there is science behind it.


Being an RN is like being a dentist. We physical demands on our bodies is high. Most people are unaware of the damaging physical habits that can develop over the years. Something would hurt, so we unconsciously adapt more damaging postures.

The Alexander Technique works by teaching one to respond differently to the stimulus of any movement or activity in daily life. Instead of responding in accordance to our habits, you learn instead to respond with a broader range of choices, more in harmony with the natural human design. The Technique is primarily concerned with the working of the “postural reflexes”, i.e., the mechanisms that enable one to support and balance oneself against the ever-present pull of gravity while you go about your daily activities. As I mentioned before, there was a excellent study in the British Medical Journal on the effectiveness of it.
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