Head, Face, Eyebrow, and Teeth Pain from Temporalis Muscle Trigger Points

Author: GUStrength

The temporalis is a large, thin fan-shaped muscle located on the side of the skull above and in front of the ear. It is a muscle of mastication, which means it is used for chewing and its precise role is is to elevate the mandible and so close the mouth, similar to the masseter. The masseter is the more powerful muscle. In fact, in relation to size, the masseter is the most powerful muscle in the body. However, the temporalis is very important as well and stays extremely busy.

The temporalis begins at the temporal bone of the skull but passes all the way down beneath zygomatic arch or cheek bone, and attaches to the mandible, so that it can not only assist the masseter in closing the jaw but also can retract the mandible. You can feel the contraction of the temporalis by placing your fingers right above your ear and clenching and unclenching your jaw. It is easy to see by this action just how hard the temporalis works. The facial muscles in general are easily overlooked, but are some of the busiest muscles in the body.

The temporalis originates on the temporal fossa, between the inferior temporal line of parietal bone and the infratemporal crest. It inserts onto the coronoid process of the mandible and the anterior ramus of the mandible. As mentioned, its actions are to elevate mandible, which closes the jaw, and, via its more horizontal fibers in the posterior part of the muscle, to retract mandible, which means to draw the mandible towards the rear. Trigger points can be activated in the temporalis by overworking the muscle itself, especially with bruxism or teeth clenching. The temporalis is commonly associated with TMJ problems. Trigger points can also be activated by trigger points in the sternocleidomastoid or masseter.

These trigger points must be dealt with before the trigger points in the temporalis can be resolved. Other causes are dental work or jaw work that requires long periods of jaw immobilization or cervical traction for neck pain. Excessive gum chewing can also be a problem, or, a cold draft of air on the side of the head as when you are are driving with an open car window in winter As well, anything that causes the teeth not to meet properly or that displaces the jaw. Other possibilities are tooth abscesses and chronic mouth breathing. In addition to the sternocleidomastoind and masster, the trapezius may also set up satellite trigger points. Temporalis trigger points cause head-pain and are a clinical feature of tension type headace of myofascial origin.

Head, Face, Eyebrow, and Teeth Pain from Temporalis Muscle Trigger Points

These are known as myogenic headaches. They refer pain to the head on the same side, and sometimes to the front of the head over the eyebrow, and sometimes to the front of the head over the eyebrow, and to the face and upper teeth. Other muscles that refer pain to the head and are a clinical feature of tension headache are the upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, suboccipital, splenius capitus and cervicus and some others. To self treat the trigger points, locate the tender points and massage with even strokes with supported fingers. It may help if you open your mouth slightly while doing so.

You can also try applying pressure to the trigger point while opening the mouth wide. Repeat several times and move on to the next trigger point. Be sure to find and treat other associated trigger points as covered in the article linked below. In this case, heat application may also be helpful as well. Sometimes, pain syndromes can be too complicated for you for treat by yourself.

Although self-treatment can be helpful, it is not always the best choice and if it fails, it does not mean that you are a failure. Do not hesitate to seek out professional help.

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