Muscle Tenderness Test
Disclaimer: These preliminary ‘Self Tests’ may help you understand that though pain can be a significant indicator, it is not the only signal for TMJ dysfunction. A final diagnosis will be required by a professional like Dr. Eddie Siman. If you feel severe pain or you know you cannot do some of these exercises please do not attempt them.
Look at the the Trigger Point images below and palpate the muscles on your cheek (Masseters) and on the temple (Temporalis) to see if there are trigger points.
You will need to push down hard and roll your finger or thumb around to find any knots in the muscle. If you find knots, then there are issues with your jaw joint and strained muscles.
On a scale of 1 to 3, rate all muscles
To make the test more accurate, we have simplified the Tenderness Scale:
1 = no pain, I just feel pressure
2 = Ouch, that really hurts.
3 = You back away quickly from applying pressure, because the pain is so severe A healthy muscle system will result in all 1’s or 1.5’s. If you are experiencing 2’s and 3’s, this indicate muscle strain and bite related problems. (Muscle trigger points are hard to do on yourself. Most of us like to avoid pain!)
Headaches, Ear and Neck Pain
Determine the connection between the trigger points and the actual pain spots above the eyes, behind the ears and the temple areas.
Trigger Point: Deep Masseter Muscle
Pain Area: Ears
Trigger Point: Masseter Muscle along jaw line
Pain Areas: Lower Jaw, Above the Eyes, Side of Head
Trigger Point: Middle of Masseter Muscle
Pain Areas: Upper Jaw, Lower Jaw, Teeth
Trigger Point: Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
Pain Areas: Lower Jaw, Above the Eyes, Back and Along the Top of Head Pinch the SCM muscle (the one on the neck running from behind your ear to the sternum and clavicle muscles). This is a muscle that is often more sore on one side because of head rotation from an unbalanced bite.
Trigger Point: Splenius Capitus Muscle
Pain Areas: The Top of Head Rub the area at the back of the skull – this is the Nuccal Line and is often sore and painful for those who suffer from Neck and Shoulder Aches.
Numbness on the fingertips and back of the hands or numbness that descending down the arm
This may be due to the entrapment of a nerve for the arm by a neck muscle. This muscle is important for head posture and is connected to bite problems. Coldness or swelling of the hands can be an indication of blood vessel entrapment that is related more to chest muscles.
Trigger Point: Levator Scapulae Muscle
Pain Areas: Back, Shoulder
Numbness: Hand, Arm