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TMJ Disorder


All of the above named problems can be caused by myofascial trigger points (tiny contraction knots) in overworked or traumatized muscles. This is the view expressed by Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons in their widely acclaimed medical textbook, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual

Jaw Problems

According to Doctors Travell and Simons, trigger points in muscles of the jaw and anterior neck are responsible for much of the pain associated with temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ disorder).

trigger points

The drawings here show areas where pain is referred from trigger points in the masseter, one of the five muscles of the jaw.

Since trigger points keep jaw muscles shortened and tight, they can also be the root cause of malocclusion of the teeth, popping and clicking in the jaw, dislocation of the jaw, and restricted jaw opening.

Trouble with Eyes, Ears, and Teeth

Travell and Simons discovered that trigger points in jaw muscles can also cause toothache and hypersensitivity to heat, cold, and touch in both upper and lower teeth.

Surprisingly, a trigger point right in front of your earlobe is responsible for that maddening itch inside your ear that you can’t quite seem to reach.

Treatment of trigger points in overstressed or overused jaw muscles can be the remedy for earache and stuffy ears when the ears otherwise appear to be normal. Eyelid twitching and bags under the eyes can also be traced to trigger points in jaw muscles.

trigger point

The drawings to the right show the areas of referred pain over the eye and in the upper teeth from trigger points in the temporalis muscle.

These trigger points can cause pain and hypersensitivity in your upper teeth. They can also make your teeth feel as though they don’t fit together right.

False Sinus Symptoms

Trigger points in the jaw muscles have been shown to cause pain and a sense of pressure in the front of the face, under the eyes, and over the eyebrows, symptoms that are often mistaken for sinusitis.

When sinus medicine doesn’t help your sinus pain, it’s a good bet that trigger points are the problem.

As incredible as it may sound, trigger points in the muscles of the face, jaws, and front of the neck can cause the generation of excess mucus in the sinuses, nasal cavities, and throat.

This can be the simple explanation for your continuing sinus drainage, constant clearing of your throat, chronic cough, allergic rhinitis (runny nose), and persistent hay fever or cold symptoms.


Naturally, all these greatly varied symptoms can have causes other than myofascial trigger points. But trigger points should be at the top of the list during any examination for abnormal symptoms in the face, ears, and jaws.

Sadly, too many physicians are still uninformed about trigger points. That’s too bad, because when healthcare practitioners have had adequate training and experience, trigger points are easy to locate and treat. In fact, there are ways to treat them yourself.

trigger points workbook

In The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, nationally certified massage therapist Clair Davies simplifies Travell and Simons’s extensive research into myofascial pain and makes it accessible to the layman. When trigger points are the cause of pain and other symptoms in your jaws, face, eyes, ears, or teeth, you can gain significant relief using his safe, precise methods of self-applied trigger point massage.

To find out more about the book and the method, please visit the homepage. To read a growing number of reviews by people who have been helped by the book, take a look at the book’s page at Amazon.com.

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