Synergy TMJ Pain

What is Myofascial Pain?

What is Myofascial Pain?

Myofascial pain of the jaw is pain that arises from the muscles of the head, neck and chewing muscles. The medical term “Myofascial” comes from “Myo” meaning muscles and “fascial” meaning the connective tissue of the muscles. Most jaw muscle pain is due to repetitive “overuse” of the jaw muscles. The overuse of these jaw muscles can be the result of clenching and grinding, gum chewing, tough food diets, sleep and work postures, habits like fingernail biting, stress, obstructive sleep apnea, and medications that induce clenching and grinding. Like any muscle(s) in your body, if you overuse them, they will get sore and spasm. Often, these muscles will develop “Trigger Points” that feel like “knots” or “tight bands” within the muscle. These trigger points can be found in the chewing muscles, the muscles of the head, the neck, and the shoulders. When palpated, these trigger points are painful and can refer pain to other muscles of the head and neck region including the jaws.

These painful muscles can be treated very conservatively with a “Myofascial Pain Protocol” consisting of heat packs, soft diet, avoidance therapy, spray and stretch, home stretching exercises, over the-counter medications (NSAIDs, Tylenol) and lifestyle changes that promote stress reduction and relaxation. When myofascial protocols do not give us the relief we are looking for, treatment can be elevated to using trigger point injections with Lidocaine and/or corticosteroids, dental splints/appliance therapy, physical therapy, muscle relaxers, and Botox injections. These treatments are great “non-surgical”, “reversible” treatments that Dr. Leopold is uniquely trained to perform. For more information on Myofascial Pain, please watch the video below.

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