WTH IS TMJ?

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints. Acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw.

TMD is a temporomandibular disorder, one or both of the temporomandibular joints may be affected, as the condition causes problems using the jaw and/or pain in the area of the joint and its associated muscles. These disorders can affect a sufferer’s ability to chew, swallow, speak, make facial expressions, and sometimes even to breathe.

TMDs often cause pain that may present itself as a migraine or sinus headache, an earache, and/or stiffness of the neck or shoulders. In reality, this pain involves the muscles of the head, face, and neck, as well as the jaw joints.

The exact cause of a person's TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.

In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with conservative care or nonsurgical treatments.

*Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed.

Fortunately, we can treat these conditions and their associated pain and discomfort!

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A TMD?

The potential symptoms of TMDs may include any or all of the following:

HOW CAN I TELL IF MY TMJ IS DISPLACED ?

The best way to observe the action of the jaw joint is by placing your fingers on your jaw joints in front of your ears on the sides of your face. Carefully open and close your mouth, and you will be able to feel the movement. It should feel smooth, with no clicking or popping when opening, closing, or moving the jaw from side to side. 

WHAT ARE THE CONSERVATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

Treatment options depend on an individual patient’s condition, needs, and desired results.

The first line of conservative treatment will typically be the use of a splint or oral appliance. A TMJ splint is worn to reduce the stress on the jaw. This allows the muscles to function properly and may reposition the lower jaw to fall properly into the TMJ socket.

TMJ appliances are a conservative and reversible treatment option that may provide pain relief. 

The second conservative treatment but not less important, is treating the muscles. A good release/massage on the muscles that conform the TMJ will help your joints and muscles to take out a lot of stress and will provide pain relief.


TIPS FOR TMD RELIEF:

  • Avoid chewing on gum, ice or anything too hard or sticky

  • Avoid caramel, apples, hard or crunchy foods

  • Avoid extreme jaw movements, as much as possible

  • Sleep on your back

  • Try to reduce any extra stress

TMJ massage can be uncomfortable but our approach with the TMJ massage program is as gentle as possible. The TMJ massage treatment can be a full session devoted to the muscles of the head, maxilla, neck and shoulders, or be incorporated into one of our relaxation treatments.

Book your next massage appointment and try TMJ therapy as an “Add on"!. That will be an additional 15 minutes to your massage treatment. 




Sleep? Ain't no body got time for that!

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If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how you’ll feel the next day — tired, cranky, and out of sorts. But missing out on the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye nightly does more than make you feel groggy and grumpy.

The main symptom of ongoing sleep loss is excessive daytime sleepiness, but other symptoms include:

  • yawning

  • moodiness

  • fatigue

  • irritability

  • depressed mood

  • difficulty learning new concepts

  • forgetfulness

  • inability to concentrate or a "fuzzy" head

  • lack of motivation

  • clumsiness

  • increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings

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The long term effects of sleep deprivation are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. Science has linked poor slumber with all kinds of health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system.

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Memory Issues: During sleep, your brain forms connections that help you process and remember new information. A lack of sleep can negatively impact both short and long-term memory.

Trouble with thinking and concentration: Your concentration, creativity and problem-solving skills aren’t up to par when you don’t get enough rest.

Mood changes: Sleep deprivation can make you moody, emotional, and quick-tempered. Chronic sleep deprivation can affect your mood and lead to anxiety or depression, which may escalate. reduced tendency to think positively, bad moods, a decreased willingness to solve problems, intolerance and less empathy toward others, poor impulse control, inability to delay gratification.

Weakened immunity: Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you're under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep.

Accidents: being drowsy during the day can increase your risk for car accidents and injuries from other causes.

High Blood pressure: If you sleep less than five hours a night, your risk for high blood pressure increases.

Risk of heart disease: Sleep deprivation may lead to increased blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals linked to inflammaction, both of which play roles in heart disease.

Risk of diabetes: A lack of sleep affects your body’s release of insulin, a blood sugar-lowering hormone. People who don’t get enough sleep have higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Weight gain: With sleep deprivation, the chemicals that signal to your brain that you are full are off balance. As a result, you’re more likely to overindulge even when you’ve had enough to eat. It's believed to be because sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone).

Low sex drive: People who don’t get enough sleep often have a lower libido. In men, this decreased sex drive may be due to a drop in testosterone levels.

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HOW MUCH SLEEP DO WE NEED?

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 2015 recommendations for appropriate sleep durations for specific age groups are:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours each day

  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours

  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours

  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours

  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours

  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours

  • Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours

  • Older adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours

Most of us need around 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it.

As a general rule, if you wake up tired and spend the day longing for a chance to have a nap, it's likely that you're not getting enough sleep.

A variety of factors can cause poor sleep, including health conditions such as sleep apnoea. But in most cases, it's due to bad sleeping habits.

HOW TO CATCH UP ON LOST SLEEP?

If you don't get enough sleep, there's only one way to compensate – getting more sleep.

It won't happen with a single early night. If you've had months of restricted sleep, you'll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks.

Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or 2 of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you're tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clocks allowed!).

Expect to sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.

Don't rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.

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HOME MANAGEMENT

The good news is that most of the negative effects of sleep deprivation reverse when sufficient sleep is obtained. The treatment for sleep deprivation is to satisfy the biological sleep need, prevent deprivation and "pay back" accumulated sleep debt.

Some suggestions for good sleep habits include:

  • going to bed when tired

  • following a routine for bed and wake-up times, keeping it consistent every day of the week

  • avoiding eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime

  • if unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes of trying, going to another room and trying to read until feeling sleepy, then returning to bed

  • engaging in regular exercise during the day

  • keeping the bedroom quiet, dark and a comfortably cool temperature

  • turning off electronic devices when you go to bed















EVERYONE NEEDS A BUTT MASSAGE. Part 2

Ahhhh, the gluteus medius. AKA: the glute med!

Unless you are a runner, ballet dancer or a yogi, you probably have never heard of this muscle before.

It is one of the three gluteus muscles, along with the gluteus maximus and minimus and originates on the outer surface of the ilium (pelvis) just below the iliac crest and converges as a large flattened tendon onto the lateral greater trochanter of the femur (thigh bone).

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AND WHAT IS HIS FUNCTION?

The main function of the glute med is abduction of the hip. Abduction is when you move the leg away from the center of the body. Is also responsible for external rotation of the hip when the hip is extended and internal rotation of the hip when it is flexed…more accurately; it prevents external rotation when flexed.

But, the most important job of the glute med, however, is stabilization of the pelvis. Activation of the muscle prevents dropping of the pelvis when standing on one leg. When the glute med is injured or weak, it allows the opposite hip to drop when weight bearing on one leg such as when walking or running.

It also helps your bigger gluteus maximus muscle flex and extend your leg. Having strong glutes is important because we use our glutes in everyday life when you push off the ground while walking, running, or stepping.

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WHAT HAPPENS IF ITS DISFUNCTIONAL?

When the gluteus medius does not function well, there are implications down to the lower limbs.

A person with weak gluteus medius may exhibit the Trendenlenburg sign during walking:

The pelvis will drop on the opposte side. If this situation is not addressed, there will be risks of structural overload to the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint , hip and knee – and may cause excessive wear and tear at these joints.

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A weak gluteus medius can lead to the inward collapse on the knee, placing more pressure on your knee





The figure above shows three different trigger points in the muscle and the pain referral pattern for each. All three of these referral patterns present on a regular basis. Patients come in with low back pain and are surprised to learn it’s not their low back at all, but their glutes. The glute med is constantly firing when we are upright so it makes sense that the muscle is overworked.

The figure above shows three different trigger points in the muscle and the pain referral pattern for each. All three of these referral patterns present on a regular basis. Patients come in with low back pain and are surprised to learn it’s not their low back at all, but their glutes. The glute med is constantly firing when we are upright so it makes sense that the muscle is overworked.

INJURIES INFLUENCED BY A POORLY FUNCTIONING OR OVERLOADED GLUTEUS MEDIUS

The injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Gluteal Tendinopathy

  • Gluteal Muscle Strain or Tear

  • Patellofemoral Joint Pain Syndrome / Anterior Knee Pain

  • ITB Friction Syndrome

  • Achilles Tendinopathy

  • Hamstring Injuries

  • Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

  • Piriformis Syndrome

  • Trochanteric Bursitis

HOW DO I TRAIN MY GLUTEUS MEDIUS?

Gluteus Medius is most active when performing isolated single-limb exercises.

Research shows that integration of trunk and lumbar stability exercises can further reduce loading onto and requirements of the Gluteus Medius.

We’d recommend the following exercises.

  1. Clams

  2. Bridges with theraband

  3. Ball at the wall squat

  4. Crab walk

  5. Monster walk

SO, AFTER ALL, DO I NEED A BUTT MASSAGE?!

Fun fact, the Gluteus muscles are the largest muscle in the body. If that area gets skipped over your therapist is missing a huge portion of the body. Now you might be totally cool with that, but if you have back pain, knee pain, hip pain or even leg pain? Your glutes may be the reason for it.

Massage in this area will be important to everyone, athletes, arm chair athletes, desk workers, people that stand all day...you get the picture. Muscles all have origin and insertion point that pull and shorten when put under any stress. 

If you are a bit shy, always let the therapists know any of your reservations. Glutes can easily be worked on top of the sheet or through clothing. Or the therapist will always drop modestly with a sheet working one side at a time. 

So, at your next massage, remember to get the glutes worked on! Your back, legs, hips & knees will thanks you! 



MASSAGE + ALCOHOL = BAD IDEA

We all deserve the chance to relax after a long week, and a beer (or three) followed by a soothing massage might sound like a perfect recipe for relaxation.

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But if your daydreams involve both a few drinks and a massage therapy session, you should understand that massage therapists don’t really approve the combination of  too much booze and a massage.

While there are varying opinions on how long you should wait after drinking to get a massage, massage therapy experts agree that it’s not safe to massage a client when they are drunk, they are hangover or they are thinking of drinking a lot after the session.

Before or after massage drinking can have different effects into your body, and we will explain why is that and why you shouldn't mix this two factors.

How massage affects your body

  • Massage boosts circulation, pushing the body’s lymph fluid around and helping you to shed excess fluids more quickly. (This is why your therapist will encourage you to drink plenty of water after a massage.)

  • Massage creates a state of deep relaxation, lowers your blood pressure, reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol and increases pleasurable hormones like dopamine and serotonin in the body.

These effects of massage alone can be a great thing, but when combined with alcohol can be dangerous. Some massage therapists even report seeing clients get "re-drunk" after a massage. Your time spent in your massage chair should leave you feeling relaxed, healthy, and rejuvenated—not sick or in more pain!

How alcohol affects your body

  • Alcohol, a diuretic, is well-known for its dehydrating effects, as anyone who’s ever had a hangover headache will tell you.

  • Alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving the alcohol through your bloodstream and increasing your blood alcohol level.

  • Alcohol impairs cognitive reasoning. Alcohol consumption can impair reflexes, limit motor control, and reduce coordination.

  • Drinking too much weakens the body’s immune system, and a single event of binge-drinking can limit your body’s ability to prevent infections for up to 24 hours

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How massage interacts with alcohol

  • Numbed senses. Alcohol and massage are both relaxing. But Alcohol tends to desensitize the nerve endings and reduce the sensation of touch, making it difficult for you and your massage therapist to judge the best level of pressure and the person may be unable to give appropriate feedback. You want to feel the massage, don’t you?

  • Amplified drunkenness. Alcohol travels through your bloodstream. (We know, it doesn’t sound as much fun when we say it that way.) Massage increases circulation, which means that alcohol both hits your bloodstream more quickly and remains there longer.

  • Compromised Judgment & Thinking: We're taught that alcohol affects our judgment. It increasing levels of norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter responsible for arousal and heightened excitement, and an increase in impulsivity as well as a reduction in impulse control. Additionally, alcohol dulls the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area responsible for decision making and rational thought that also has control over aggressive behavior.

  • Decreased Motor Activity & Physical Coordination: Because alcohol lowers energy consumption in the cerebellum, which controls your motor activity and overall physical coordination, you can't be certain of your behavior while under the influence. Best to avoid embarrassing—or worse—harmful behavior during an activity that is supposed to be relaxing.

  • Intensified hangovers. Both massage and alcohol can have a dehydrating effect. This doesn’t just make you thirstier – it can intensify hangover symptoms. There's a reason that drinking water after a massage is highly recommended. Massage is believed to increase movement of fluids, which could also expedite the body's process of breaking down and excreting the alcohol, which in turn could enhance the severity of a hangover and you´ll be thhhhhirsty!

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The key is moderation.  Alcohol, like massage, has a powerful effect on your body.  When you are intoxicated or under the influence, the two don’t mix together in a healthy manner.

Long story short, (too much) alcohol and massage don’t mix well.  Feel free to have a glass of wine pre/post-massage, but keep the Oktoberfest-style beer binge for another day!