Self-Care – Temporalis Headache & Tooth Pain

Self-Care includes
– Activities to avoid and change,
– Strategies for quick relief,
– Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
– Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…

Here, you will find self-care strategies for relief when you have a headache around the brow with sensitive front, upper teeth. You can also read more about how people describe this pain and the activities that typically create the problem in this other post.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

Here’s the perfect storm of temporalis trigger point activation; yawning while wearing a tight cap. And, I bet there’s a pool nearby where he might bump the side of his head.

Tight caps or even gently snug caps can activate this with light pressure. One client was always looking for the perfect hat that kept her head warm, didn’t create a headache, and didn’t fall off.

Chewing and dentistry tend to aggravate this condition rather than create it. Once this is injured and sensitive, the prolonged stretching of dental work can re-activate the trigger point. Chewing taffy or a big piece of gum can re-activate the headache. Also, things that are less work but irregular work aggravate this, like chewing on ice.

Our Target

Feel for tight strands of muscle that run up and down the side of your head between your eye and ear. With the following self-care, you should feel those reduce.

These fibers are where the trigger points are. They should soften and reduce in size during self-care.

Don’t press hard on those tight bands or flip across them, as it will probably just aggravate them.

For Temporary Relief:

Quick, Gentle Stretch

A gentle stretch of the temporalis can help but be careful not to overstretch as it may irritate the muscle. Rubbing a piece of ice over the temple before stretching can offer a lot of relief, especially when it is overworked and aggravated.

Doing this under the hot water in a shower is more comfortable, and people work with it longer. However, showering is not always convenient and usually not as effective as using ice.

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:

Balance Your Jaw

This set of TMJ stretches are simple and tend to create balance in the jaw. You’ll find that the temple is very sensitive to ice but really relieves the headache and sensitive teeth when stretched.

Doing all the stretches is better than just focusing on the single stretch that treats this trigger point. Other tight TMJ muscles can create tension that perpetuates this pattern.

Get Your Head on Straight

Research shows that Forward-Head Posture can perpetuate temporalis trigger points.

When I teach the course on TMJ, I have the students do an exercise that shows how much the neck influences TMJ. Try it now. Sit up straight in your chair with your head over your hips. Lightly touch your teeth together. Now, roll your head around in a circle and notice how your bite changes. Feel how your bite changes. It becomes evident that the tilt of our head and our temporomandibular joint are strongly connected.

Do this exercise. It really helps with long term results.

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

Yoga Corner

The first line of defense against a painful TMJ focuses on yoga poses that better balance your head on your neck by offering stretching and strengthening of the neck. This involves poses where you twist and/or tilt, like Warrior I. Also, poses where your head is suspended in space like planks.

This post from has many neck balancing poses and this series of jaw-dropping poses. I feel happier, sillier, clownier, like a little bird, better just looking at the pics. To be truthful, this series is more intense than this pic suggests. It has a fairly 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.

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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.

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*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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