Ben Zoltak is an essayist writing about the human condition and how to live well physically, spiritually and psychologically.
It's Not Funny My Jaw is on Fire.
I know what you're thinking, not another Temporomandibular joint syndrome article? How about a "my damn jaw/sinus/face hurts" article. That's what this is. I'm going to show you the way I found relief, the regular guy way, not the scrape a piece of fungus off a pharmaceutical intern's boot and make a million sort of way.
Temporomandibular joint syndrome or TMJ as it is popularly known, is supposedly a poorly understood disorder of the inflammation of the jaw. Though the misunderstanding must lie within the bowels of the medical community because those of us with it, or it's sinus dirty cousin, know it all too well. My dentist told me it comes from stress and grinding my teeth. He informed me, "You really need to cut down on your stress levels, it's bad for you." Thanks Doc, sure and I should really start raking up all of those loose Benjamins I keep letting fly out my laundry room window. I wish there was a machine or a button to shut off my stress levels. Alas there is not (far as I know anyway, I always thought that button on my back was a self-destruct button so I leave it alone). There is however a machine with a button and a level adjuster that can help remedy these ailments.
If you have a back massager, you can find relief from your pain right now! Ladies are all too familiar with this dynamo, men maybe less so, I'll leave the reasons why up to your lurid imaginations. The crux of the matter though, is that any decent electric massager can be used to alleviate some of the pain associated with TMJ and Sinus pain and/or headaches. I've been using mine for over 5 years for that very thing. I asked a doctor years ago if it was safe, he laughed at the apparent ludicrousness of it, but said it would be fine. I use a Homedics brand with two black rubber knobs that vibrate consistently and at a variable rate with a slide adjuster on the side. I have to turn it up to the fastest frequency or the machine slows down and more or less punches me in the head.
The technique I use is as basic as turning the machine on and gently pressing it against the problem areas. You can see various angles in the slide show I've posted.Typically I start at the center of my ear and move down towards the underside of my ear, then to my jaw. I spend 1-2 minutes loosening that joint. Then I run the machine, only one of the black rubber knobs at a time, along each side of my nose. If I'm congested it works exceptionally well, especially in combination with ingesting some spicy pepper garlic salsa, clears right up. Lastly I run the machine over my eyebrows where another pocket of sinus' lie. If in fact, my entire face feels sore I then repeat the above steps, but also include running the back massager over my upper and lower teeth, my cheek bones and down each side of my neck where some more of your body's viscous glands reside. Lastly, I don't pretend to be an expert, only someone with some positive personal experience in remedying this kind of pain. I have researched some cranial-sacral therapies and they use some similar massage pathways to alleviate the pain.
I guess to those who don't suffer any pain in this area it might seem like a bit of an eccentric therapy. But it absolutely works for me. When I quit smoking my TMJ leaped in severity, I think partly because of eating more candy and chewing gum. But sometimes my jaw just hurts, and the machine really relieves the pain. Same with sinus headaches and congestion, this machine moves whatever fluid is dammed inside my face like gangbusters! An old friend of mine also recently related to me that a massager also does wonders for people with bronchitis, is there nothing an electric massager can't do? I hope this article relieves some of your pain! Let me know how it works out! Let the vibrating begin!
Here's the latest model of Homedics Percusssion Action Massager.
Good Vibrations For Your Nose, Sinus & Jaw!
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Vieve S. on November 07, 2019:
Thanks Ben and all for this post I have been in a desperate search to remedy all these symptoms and was just in the ER bc I’m loosing my mind over all these pains. Question about the vibrator- will it exasperate my dizziness? I’m fearful to use it as it may make more more dizzy. Any thoughts?
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on October 29, 2013:
Hey Jess and Suspinicus, glad I could reaffirm! I actually do swipe it across my brow as you mention S!!! It really does feel divine. A funny thing, so artificial, yet so comfortable!
Suspinicus on October 25, 2013:
Hey I've been doing this for years! I just googled it today to see if it was harmful but now I see that you do it too and I doubt that it's harmful in the least! WE even use the SAME massager! I've had mine for the past 10 years and it works as good as day 1, and I bought a new model, exact same, for my husband and he LOVES it as well! Wow you are the only other person who does essentially the EXACT same massage. Try swiping it slowly across your eyelids as well, it feels DIVINE! And on your lips too!
Jess on August 17, 2012:
Im so glad you mentioned that your doctor said it was okay!!
I have been doing this forever too! It sure helps!
But I was always scared I would shake my eardrum loose or anything. At the time though, I didn't care about anything except relieving the pressure lol.
One other piece of advice. If you have problems with sinuses and mucus... try Serrapeptase. It honestly works miracles. Take it on an empty stomach for best results. Does not interefere with other drugs. It cured my lung infection without drugs in 3 days!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on April 04, 2012:
Glad I could help Tarin, and equally glad to be such a high ranking member of the google vibrator community lol.
Tarin on April 03, 2012:
I found your article googling to make sure using a vibrator on my ear was safe! Haha! I love the way it feels on my ear especially when I'm congested. My chiropractor has always used a vibrator on my sinuses and for my TMJ. I find that when my ears hurt or feel congested like I use my hand held back massager on them. Thanks for the post! Very informative.
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on September 29, 2011:
I agree, it's awesome. I think that people prefer to pop pills for there problems, remedying your sinus pain this way requires a few minutes and a little bit of physical effort, which is just to much work for some. Also, I believe there's a lot of profit at stake, so pharmaceutical companies make sure the cure isn't as well known as "treatment". Which reminds me, I'm thinking of getting rid of that Amazon ad at the top, I've been advertising with them for the percussion massage for almost two years, I'm sure I've helped them sell a few, and they don't share anything with me. Anyway, I'm glad it's helped you and your TMJ and sinuses, it's helped mine.
ABSOLUTELY!!! on September 28, 2011:
I have tried everything for years!!! every allergy medicine, neti pot, nasal irrigation,... and nothing...NOTHING works as FABULOUSLY as my Homemedics Percussion Massager!!!! I came to this conclusion on my own, just wondered if it would work....desperate for relief! Paired with a heating pad on my head/face... I have immediate relief (with in 15 minutes or less) from the most frustrating thing in MY LIFE!! and THIS IS 1000000 TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE than any decongestant, irrigation or ANY OTHER THING OUT THERE!!!
MY BIGGEST QUESTION IS: WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS OR MARKET A MASSAGER JUST FOR SINUSES????!!!!!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on August 15, 2011:
Thanks Lisa! I hope you do, works wonders for me, my jaw, my ears, my neck... strange that it works but it does well!
Ben Zoltak (author) from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on August 05, 2011:
Glad to help Emily Bee! Yeah, still using the old massager myself, self medication at it's best. It really is best on my jaw. Thanks for the props!
Lisa on July 23, 2011:
Tnanks for the article! It is funny- and I will try it!
emilybee on June 26, 2011:
Rereading this hub as my tmj pain seems to have popped up fullthrottle in the past few days... dug out an old neck messager thing which seems to be working somewhat. I'm getting upper back/neck/shoulder/arm pain which is odd since I haven't experienced that before. Thanks for the hub and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with weird tmj pain.