TMJ stands for Temporomandibular joint disorder – a condition, associated with jaw pain, that could effect up to 1 in 4 people in the UK.

Common symptoms include earaches without infection, headaches, tenderness of the muscles around the ear, neck, jaw, face and shoulders, teeth grinding and difficulty swallowing.

It can be caused by stress, whiplash injury to neck, dentures, lots of dental work and heavy phone use where the phone is cradled between chin and shoulder (Jing institute for advanced massage).

If your doctor or dentists diagnoses you with TMJ or you suspect your symptoms might be muscular in origin then Sports Massage, Myofascial Release or Osteopathy may help. Treatment includes a range of techniques to encourage muscles to release and dispel trigger points (areas of hypersensitivity within the muscle) and any associated referred pain. It will most likely include treatment to the Masseter muscle, the powerful muscle used for chewing.

Treatment of this muscle requires your therapist to work inside your mouth – one of the few occasions where a massage therapist or osteopath is required to put on surgical gloves. This aspect of the treatment can be a little bit uncomfortable but is brief and usually very effective where the jaw is tense and the teeth gritted. Other aspects of your treatment are more relaxing and include gentle work around the scalp and neck – focused work that can be profoundly relaxing.

The following therapists at Natural Balance Therapies are trained in treating TMJ (updated 3rd November 2017).

Mark Alexander – Sports Massage, Myofascial Release

Steve Mason –  Sports Massage, Myofascial Release

Nathalie Mineau – Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, CranioSacral Therapy

Michael Jarvis – Sports Massage

James Adatia – Osteopathy

Emma Ross – Osteopathy

Matt Brabner – Osteopathy

All of the above therapies may be beneficial, so it can be hard to know which is likely to best for you. To help you choose a treatment read more about the techniques used here:

Myofascial Release


To book either select Osteopath or Sports Massage with Myofascial release and add a comment to say treatment is for TMJ. If booking using a mobile phone there is no option to add a note so just send a quick e-mail to let us know.