Nothing like a massive headache popping up out of nowhere to ruin an otherwise good day, right? One second you’re just minding your own business, and the next the pounding is so intense that you might as well just forget about trying to get through your to-do list. All hope isn’t lost, though. In fact, one physical therapist has a quick trick to help you banish the pain in 10 seconds flat.
Tension headaches—the most common type of headache, BTW—often start with something as simple as a clenched jaw. Tightening the masseter muscle—which connects your jawbone and cheekbone—can make other muscles in the area stiff, too, leading to the brain-area pangs. “When the force is too great, you can get tension headaches,” physical therapist David Reavy tells Prevention. So, knowing how to do masseter muscle massage comes in handy.
It turns out tension headaches often start with a clenched jaw, and a masseter muscle massage could help get rid of ’em.
The exercise is a simple way to release that built-up tension in your jaw, which in turn helps loosen the surrounding muscles and gets rid of your headache. To do it, Reavy says to first find the masseter muscle on each side of your face and apply gentle pressure with your fingers. (If you make a chewing motion, you’ll be able to feel it working and better pinpoint it.) Next, slowly open your mouth as wide as you can, then slowly close your mouth. Repeat this motion until you feel your muscles release. “To start, I would do it a few times a day, especially if you tend to clench your teeth when you’re stressed. This not only helps with tension headaches, but also temporomandibular joint (TMJ),” he says.
Who knows? By taking the time to give the hard-working facial muscle some extra TLC during the day, you could totally banish your current tension headache and squelch a future one in its tracks.
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