top of page

TMJ Pain Relieving Therapy: What Jaw and Neck Muscles Do We Work On?

Women can receive intra-oral massage therapy directly to the deep TMJ muscles. TMJ and neck therapy can end cycles of headaches, migraines, facial pain, and more.

Muscle Balacne Restored

To the average person, the jaw seems like a mystery. And when we feel like a body part is a mystery, we are disempowered from taking charge of our health.

The jaw has a unique, fascinating, and beautiful joint (temporomandibular joint/TMJ) and overall structure. Wellness in the TMJ is crucial to your overall health (more on this to come). Here is some great news, just like all other parts of your body, you can work on reclaiming muscle balance and nervous system health right to your TMJ.

In this post, I will quickly name some of the TMJ muscles that we work on in a therapy session. In an hour-long session, we are working the head, neck, and TMJ muscles but we won't be able to get to everything. This therapy is slow and detailed, so we may get to different muscles during different sessions. As treatment progresses, more areas will "open up" and treatment can become "deeper".

By performing direct touch medicine on these TMJ muscles I create the joint space your body is asking for:

Lateral Pterygoid - Depresses and protrudes the jaw.

Bilaterally these muscles create a slight horizontal action through subtle rotation of the condyle. One side works, one side follows. This is especially relevant in the mind-body techniques I have developed.

Medial Pterygoid- Elevates and protrudes the mandible.

Assists the Lateral P. in side to side.

Masseter - Elevation & Protrusion. Small head also retracting and stabilizing.

This muscle bulks up when hypertonic. Even if the tension is bilateral, one side can appear larger depending on where hypertrophy occurs.

Temporalis - Elevation and retraction of the mandible.

Hugely powerful muscle.

Digastric - Widely opens the mandible. Elevates the hyoid.

Important for jaw alignment during protraction. Participates in neck extension. Hyoid health is essential for things such as signing and swallowing.

Other areas we may work: the palate (great for migraines), the soft tissue around the teeth (scar tissue). & more!

Fact: Truly therapeutic TMJ therapy can not exist without neck therapy. Your jaw influences your neck and your neck influences your jaw. Forward head hanging posture directly hurts your TMJ health and causes jaw pain. Manual therapy to the neck assists in removing restrictions in the cervical sleeve, allowing you to have better posture and turn down pain signals.

In these sessions, depending on the frequency of visits, we are accessing the muscles that wrap around the cervical spine, the front, the sides, and the back of the neck.

It is also true that the sacrum and pelvic floor are related to TMJ health. That is why all my pelvic floor therapy sessions include TMJ therapy.

More information about the TMJ, neck, and pelvic floor muscles in future posts. For now, I hope you find a little relief in this knowledge. Your jaw is not a mystery. It is just another part of your body surrounded by and influenced by soft tissue.

All is changeable. All is changing.

Peace & Love,


*Author Tara Lee Clasen is a manual massage therapist specializing in women's health and pain conditions related to the pelvic floor, neck, jaw & shoulder. She also trained in clinical Ayurveda and has authored a book on Ayurveda called The Elemental Woman.


bottom of page