If you clench your jaw or grind your teeth, you may have heard about “TMJ”; it stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the large hinge joint of your jaw. The main muscle responsible for the chewing movement of your TMJ is called your masseter, and it is STRONG. For such a relatively small muscle, the human masseter can chomp down with 200 pounds of force!
It’s no wonder, then, that this muscle can house some pretty mean trigger points. Tightness in this muscle can restrict your jaw movement, cause clenching and grinding problems, and ever refer pain into your teeth, your ears, or behind your eyes.
If you want to massage out your masseter, the best and easiest place to get to is one you probably didn’t even realize was sore.
Place your thumb in the notch underneath your cheekbone, about an inch to an inch and a half in front of your ear.
Now push in and up.
If you hit that muscle knot just right, you should feel an ache that “hurts so good” spreading from around your thumb. It very commonly travels into your ear, but can also be felt by your eye, or down into your jaw and around your teeth.
Most of the time, you won’t need to work on it very long before it begins to feel sore. That’s okay. Just try massaging the area for 30 seconds every day to see if you get improved jaw function.