We know that trigger points can be excruciatingly painful, but who knew that some might literally cause you to pull your teeth out?
We often complain about the lack of myofascial education in the medical profession. Calculations are made each year of the number and cost of unnecessary surgeries and other procedures performed due to improper diagnosis. Many of these cases result from completely overlooking myofascial pain caused by trigger points.
However, there is one group of professionals who is starting to break that trend ... dentists!
Surprisingly, tooth pain often times comes from muscles rather than from anything wrong with the tooth itself, and the dental industry is realizing it! This article from DentalEconomics.com discusses trigger point pathways and highlights a 2011 report in JADA which revealed that 680,000 teeth had procedures performed when the tooth didn't end up being the source of the pain ... That's a lot of unnecessary procedures in a single year!
Unfortunately, some of us still learn the hard way, after already having dental procedures performed with little or no success.
In this issue of Musculoskeletal Health Update, we are going to show you the 3 Muscles that cause a lot of dental complaints: Masseter, Temporalis, & Digastric. Each muscle has a distinct pattern of pain that refers to the teeth:
Masseter Temporalis Digastric
As shown, the Masseter refers pain to the back teeth, top and bottom. The Temporalis refers pain to the whole set of upper teeth, moving backward tooth by tooth accordingly with the location of the trigger point along the lower edge of the muscle. Meanwhile, the Digastric refers pain to the only the front bottom teeth.
Once again, these amazingly detailed referred pain patterns come from Dr. Janet Travell and Dr. David Simons' extensive research and writings (Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual).
Of course, it is always important to maintain dental health and to be evaluated by a qualified dental professional to determine whether you have a more serious condition ... But as we have seen time and again, these trigger points can be treated effectively with simple methods, and a lot of tooth pain and unnecessary dental procedures can be avoided!
So, let's look at how to evaluate and treat these 3 muscles! Enjoy and pass along this information to any of your friends and family who have teeth!
*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.