Self Care-TMJ

Self Care – Earache with Jaw tension

Table of Contents

Here, you will find ways to get relief from the trigger point that creates earache with jaw tension. If you’d like to read more about how people describe the pain or what activities create the pain, look at this other post.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

You should avoid vigorous, uneven, or unusual jaw activity, like crunching ice, busting popcorn kernels, or chewing on toothpicks. Taffy and excessive gum chewing are also problematic.

The Night Splint

Sometimes, this pain is a result of clenching during sleep. In that case, mouth guards are a great temporary solution. But, in the long term, when the TMJ is balanced, people should not need the guards. Integrative Bodywork has freed many of my clients from the night splint.

Clenching while Straining

Clenching during weight-lifting or heavy work should be consciously noted. And then, avoided. Again, a mouthguard can be used as a reminder if the clenching continues involuntarily.

For Temporary Relief:

A little gentle pressure while opening your mouth to stretch can offer great relief here. I’ve done that many times when it is bothering me.

Feel for the lower edge of the cheekbone. About halfway along the bottom of that ridge, where the green asterisk is, you will find a more tender spot. Gently apply a small amount of pressure. After a few seconds, it will begin to soften and become less tender. Open your jaw as the tenderness releases.

Don’t be too aggressive with the pressure or the stretch, as you may aggravate this and make it a bit more intense. If that happens, try the stretches below.

These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or doesn’t respond to these simple suggestions.

Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:

TMJ stretching

Ice-and-Stretch your TMJ.

The following is a simple process for stretching your TMJ. It only takes a few minutes and can make a huge difference in head, neck, and jaw pain. Used daily, it can help with long-term changes.

For more complete, longer-lasting relief, precede this by stretching the upper neck with The Box. The upper neck provides a stable base for the TMJ. And upper cervical imbalances perpetuate TMJ problems.

See your Dentist

Tooth pain can be an indicator of something more serious. Therefore, check with your dentist. I’ve relieved many tooth pain patterns on myself and others with trigger point work. Still, a visit to the dentist is a responsible step afterward. Some people get trigger point work to relieve pain that occurred after a dental visit. Other people have already exhausted the capabilities of their dentist and are turning to trigger point work for relief. Regardless, if you have tooth pain, you should check with your dentist, even if you find relief from this trigger point work.

I’d love your feedback on how this works for you
and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at

Yoga Corner

First, Get Your Head on Straight

Your first yoga line of defense against a painful TMJ is to focus on poses that better balance your head on your neck. These shoulder poses offer stretching and strengthening of the neck. This process involves poses where you twist or tilt, like Warrior II. Also, strengthen your neck with poses that suspend it in space, like planks.

Then, Focus Your Efforts

This post from has some neck balancing poses and a series of jaw-dropping poses. I feel happier, sillier, like a little bird, better just looking at the pics. But, seriously, this series is more intense than this pic suggests. It has a reasonably rigorous approach, including neck stretches using a strap and exercises while supporting your neck with a roll yoga mat. It’s worth taking a look.

Very Similar Pain Pattern, Different Muscle

Other trigger point patterns
have similar areas of referral and impaired activities.

You might also take a look at other posts that refer to the TMJ or ear.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

Question? Comment? Typo?

*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

Tony Preston

Tony Preston, LMT has been treating adults and children since the early 90s. He has authored a number of texts on neuromuscular and craniosacral techniques. He has taught Neuromuscular Therapy for ASHA School of Massage and craniosacral the National Institute of Craniosacral Studies. He currently teaches seminars in Integrative Craniosacral techniques at The Body Guild.

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