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Temporomandibular Disorders: Treating Trigger Points

Topic Overview

Some people with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) have areas of the jaw joint that "trigger" severe pain. Trigger point management includes trigger point compression and trigger point injections.

  • Trigger point compression is done by a doctor or physical therapist, who applies firm pressure to the jaw muscles with the thumb or knuckle. Trigger point compression works like a deep massage. The pressure may feel tense or uncomfortable at first, but as the pressure continues, the area loosens and discomfort decreases. Stretching and heat applications are applied after trigger point compression.
  • Trigger point injection involves a shot of local anesthetic into the trigger points of the jaw.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Last Revised January 11, 2012

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