Experience Teeth Grinding, Headaches and Migraines? What is TMJ / TMD and What You Can Do To Alleviate These Symptoms

Published on Jul 12, 2019

Do you find yourself experiencing teeth grinding as well as regular migraines and headaches?

It could be due to Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD), which are essentially disorders related to the Temporomandibular Joint.

Never heard of it before? Well, here's a brief introduction to help you better understand this disorder. 

What is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?


The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is injured, inflamed or damaged, it can lead you to some of the symptoms below:

  • Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Problems when you try to open your mouth wide or jaws that get "stuck" or "lock" in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite -- as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Teeth grinding
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Neck ache
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing problems
  • Upper shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears

What Causes TMD?


Science is still not clear about what causes TMD.

Trauma to the jaw or joint may play a role although arthritis, habitual grinding of teeth and structural jaw problems present at birth ie. facial asymmetry may contribute to the development of TMD. Other factors include: 

  • wearing orthodontic braces
  • poor posture that strains the muscles of the neck and face
  • prolonged stress
  • poor diet
  • lack of sleep

It can be temporary or last many years. It may affect one or both sides of the face but people find that more women than men experience TMD and is most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40. 

How do you know if you have TMD?


Unfortunately, there are no standard tests to diagnose these disorders. Your doctor may refer you to a dentist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist to diagnose your condition. The doctor may then examine your jaw to see if there is swelling or take a X-ray / CT scan or MRI to see if there are problems with the structure of the jaw. 

If you find it too much hassle to go to the hassle, you can do a self test first at home, first seen on Oprah.com.

Temporomandibular Disorders TMD

How to Treat or Alleviate TMD Symptoms?


Fortunately, you can allevaite most symptoms of TMD with self-care practices such as:

1) Eating soft foods

Try to steer clear of extremely crunchy and chewy foods, such as apples, chewing gum, carrots, beef jerky, and hard dinner rolls. You want to spare your jaws from overwork so soups, pastas, and other easy-to-eat foods are ideal. 

Avoid biting your fingernails or chewing on a pencil. Instead, find a non-jaw-related way to get rid of your nervous energy — such as fiddling with “worry beads” or twisting a paperclip

Don’t take big bites. Cut your food into smaller portions, so you don’t have to overwork your jaw.

2) Skip the Caffeine

Caffeine and TMD don’t go well together, since caffeine can increase muscle tension. Switch to decaffeinated drinks.

3) Reduce swelling with Ice

When you feel occasional sharp pain in your jaw joints, apply a pair of cold packs. The cold numbs your nerves, dulling pain messages that go to your brain. Wrap a couple of soft packs in thin towels and hold them on both sides of your face for about 10 minutes or so (not longer than 20 minutes, though, or you could cause mild frostbite). Repeat every two hours as needed. 

4) Wear a Mouth Guard

If nightly teeth grinding or clenching is contributing to your TMD, try wearing the type of a mouth guard that can be found in any sports store. 

5) Massage your jaw

Massage the areas around your jaws to relieve muscle tightness and enhance blood flow to the area. Several times a day, open your mouth, then rub the muscles by the ears near your temporomandibular joints. Place your forefingers on the sore areas, and swirl them around, pressing gently, until the muscle relaxes. Close your mouth and repeat the massage.

With a clean forefinger, reach in your mouth until you can feel the sore muscles that are inside. Pressing firmly with your forefinger, massage one side, then the other, getting as close to the joints as you can.

Finally, massage the muscles on the sides of your neck. Those muscles don’t directly control your jaw, but by massaging them you help to reduce tension that contributes to jaw pain.

If you're not sure how to massage the jaw, consider going for Small Face Correction facial.

We recently met Agent MF, a Japanese lady who has been in Singapore for a couple of years now. She suffered from teeth grinding and migraines for a long time until a good friend of hers recommended her to try the Small Face Correction facial. Within the first session, Agent MF found her migraines becoming less serious and within 3 sessions, the teeth grinding became less severe. She has since been a convert and made time to go for Small Face Correction every 3 weeks to maintain her progress. 

Read on to find out more about her experience.

Hello I'm Agent MF.

I'm Japanese who has been in Singapore for a couple of years now and am a mom of three active boys. As much as I love my boys, tending to all of their needs is a challenge and I don't have much time to myself. However, there is one thing I make time for: Small Face Correction. 

I do admit that a smaller face is nice (which woman doesn't love it?) but the main reason I go for the facial is because of the problem I've been facing with my jaw: TMJ.

I've always had the problem of teeth grinding since I was a teenager but a few years ago, the problem became worse and graduated into full-on pain in my jaw. When I open my jaw too wide or when I bite hard, my jaw starts to hurt. As a result of that, I experience debilitating migraines occasionally. At first, I thought it was because I was too stressed from taking care of my 3 boys but a friend advised me to check if it is TMJ. It was the first time I read about TMJ - temporomandibular joint. I read extensively about it and it seems as if she is spot on! I went to see a dentist who confirmed the diagnosis. The problem was that TMD doesn't have a proper treatment unless I'm ready to go for surgery, which I am not. I've tried some of the self care practices suggested online but found their effects limited for me... until another friend of mine suggested me to try Facia Ginza. She experienced some form of TMJ and found her symptoms alleviated when she went for Small Face Correction facial. Curious about the results, I decided to trial the facial.

The first time I tried it, it was at their flagship outlet at The Central. The place was small but cozy and the facial therapist Michiko was very approachable. She explained the procedure to me in detail and was very attentive to make sure that I was comfortable throughout. Although the facial was painful, it was a sore type of pain that I could withstand. Anything to help me reduce the migraines and jaw pain! 

I went home that night and amazingly, I could feel my frequent migraines being alleviated. I decided to go back again for a few more facials and am glad to say that I had good results! Within 3 times, the teeth grinding actually got better. Convinced of the result, I've been coming to the salon every 2-3 weeks to get a small face correction facial for about 6 months now.

It isn't just my TMJ symptoms which got better :D I'm glad to say that my face has also become smaller.

Before and After Facial for Migraines and TMJ at Facia Ginza

My square cheek has since become much sharper. In fact, I had a number of compliments from friends recently who exclaimed how they couldn't recognize me because my face has become much smaller. I know they are exaggerating but it still feels good hearing that. 

With such great results, Michiko asked me if I mind sharing my experience on Beauty Undercover, so here I am.

If you are keen to find out what a usual Small Face Correction facial, please feel free to read about my experience below.

Small Face Correction facial


Small Face Correction

We've got to walk through a nicely decorated walkway that felt peaceful and quiet. 

Facia Ginza

She escorted me into the room as I changed into the robe provided. 

I like it that they take care of all the details with authentic Japanese accessory holders where I can put my earrings down. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

After lying down, Michiko adjusted the blanket and asked me if the temperature is alright for me. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

As she covered my eyes with a towel, I knew it was time for the facial to begin.

Shoulder Massage


The Small Face Correction Facial starts with a shoulder massage. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Michiko shared earlier on that facial asymmetry and even TMJ may result when the shoulders are too tight. Hence, the shoulder and neck massage will improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

It felt extremely relaxing and some of my neck tension from TMJ was eased.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Facial Massage


After the shoulder massage was eased, it was time to move on the facial massage.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Michiko pinched and squeezed the face to stimulate acupressure points near the jaw. 

This may look OK but is actually pretty painful especially for me. 

Maybe because of TMJ?

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Next, she started to exert pressure on the skull 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Then on each side of the face to loosen the muscles around the area.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

More on the muscles near the skull to relieve tension that has been built up.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

When she was done, she also massaged around the nose bridge to clear any blockages in the area.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

It ends with a final massage to squish the sides of the face together. 

And we are done with the painful part of the facial!

Cleansing my skin


With my face thoroughly massaged, it was time to proceed to the second part of the facial: premium care. Here is where they cleanse my skin and moisturize it with their inhouse serum. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

The first step is the application of a gel cleanser which was first massaged onto my skin.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Soft foam rounds were used to massage the cleanser into a gentle lather and to wipe it off.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Next, fluffy dollops of facial soap was placed on my skin and

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

massaged around the face as she completed the double cleansing.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

With the skin now cleansed, Michiko placed a steaming hot towel on my face to open the pores.

Love how heavenly it feels!

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Ultrasonic Cleansing


Next Michiko used the Ultrasonic device to clear the skin of dead skin cells.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Once complete, she started preparing the signature moisturizing serum for my face. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

Using yet an electroporation device, it was massaged into my skin until the product was fully absorbed.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

A moisturizer was apply on top of the serum

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

followed by a gauze mask to enhance absorption. 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

After 10 minutes, the gauze was removed.

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

With another round of a warm towel being placed on my face,

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

the facial ended with a sponge wipe-down and 

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

application of sunscreen and moisturizer before we are done!

Small Face Correction at Facia Ginza

That's the end of the facial, but the service wasn't over yet - Michiko gave me another shoulder massage to get me ready for the rest of the day!

Shoulder Massage at Facia Ginza

And that concluded my usual facial 

Final thoughts


I don't have a lot of me-time but a Small Face Correction facial  has become an essential routine I make time for each month. This is no ordinary facial where others go to relax; this facial has actual therapeutic results for me as I feel my headaches and migraines get less frequent and teeth grinding become less serious over time. My face has also become much smaller, which is of course an added bonus. 

Having experienced such obvious results for myself, I find myself sharing about its benefits to my friends, many of whom have tried Small Face Correction and love it as much as I do!

Related Articles