Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,
The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get Relief,
How People Describe This Pain Pattern
People usually complain about earache and some jaw tension. Sometimes they complain about a roaring in the ear or some other form of tinnitus. At times, when the trigger point is most severe, there is sharp pain deep in the ear with a sickly ache in the jaw.
Usually, clients don’t complain to their massage therapist about this kind of earache and jaw pain. If they know that trigger points cause earaches and that their massage therapist can help with that, they might complain about this as an incidental comment. They may even miss the session to seek antibiotics. They usually find that this earache continues or recurs after the antibiotics finish.
How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern
This, like other masseter trigger points, is usually activated by unusual jaw activity, like crunching ice, busting popcorn kernels, or chewing on toothpicks. A bad tooth can also cause a deviant chewing pattern that aggravates this trigger point. Nearby joint problems, especially the upper neck joints, often perpetuate this pattern. I had problems with this muscle because of clenching my teeth while weight lifting in my 20’s.
Some clients savvy about their temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues from previous treatment. They may also realize that they get more ear pain when they chew or stretch their jaw. Even though this trigger point doesn’t usually create restrictions when opening the jaw, it does create pain around the TMJ. It also often occurs with other TMJ trigger point patterns. I have seen this pattern linger after the client has extensive dentistry that aggravated the TMJ.
The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain
Getting Relief on Your Own
This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch, ice, and more to relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.
Treatment Notes for Therapists
This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.
Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.
*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it easier to read, more accessible, and
to include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there will be inconsistency in formatting, content, and readability until we get the old posts updated. Please excuse our mess.