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Masseter Muscle: Jaw, Eye, Ear, Pain, Sensitive Teeth

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The masseter muscle can contribute to many areas of pain in the face and head. It often mimics sinusitis.

Masseter Muscle Pain: Signs and Symptoms

  • Jaw pain
  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold and/or pressure
  • Pain under the eye and over the eye (often diagnosed as sinus pain)
  • Pain deep in the ear
  • Tinnitus or low roaring sounds in one ear
  • Deep itching and/or aching in the ear

Where is the masseter muscle?

The masseter is a facial muscle and lies in front of the ear and connects the top portion of the upper jaw (zygomatic arch and maxilla) to the lower portion of the bottom jaw (coronoid process, ramus of mandible).

What movements does the masseter muscle control?

  • Closes the jaws by drawing up the lower jaw
  • Clenches teeth

Activities that cause masseter pain and symptoms:

  • Chewing gum
  • Biting nails
  • Biting something hard (chewing ice or hard candy)
  • Forward head posture
  • Ill-fitting dentures, retainers, bridges
Masseter Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the masseter muscle to chew, clench your teeth and close the jaw.

Interesting facts about the masseter:

  • Trigger points in the masseter muscle can cause pain under the eye and/or above the eye mimicking sinusitis, even prompting sinus drainage. If sinus medication does not ease the symptoms of sinusitis, then have the masseter checked for trigger points.
  • A tight masseter can cause vocal problems for singers and public speakers.

Masseter Pain and Symptoms Can Be Similar To, Contribute To and Be Affected By These Medical Diagnosis:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) on the affected side
  • Mastoiditis
  • Ear Pain that is similar to an ear infection
  • Sinusitis
  • Temporal mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Jaw Dislocation
  • Abscessed Tooth
  • Sensitive Teeth

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the masseter:

Satellite trigger points associated with the masseter muscle:

  • Temporalis
  • Medial Pterygoids
  • Contralateral Masseter Muscle

For detailed anatomy information:   Masseter Anatomy

Self Treatment For Masseter Muscle That Can Contribute To Jaw and Face Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the masseter muscle can contribute to pain in the face, eye, jaw and ear?

The masseter muscle can cause pain in many areas of the head. Many times this pain is due to small knots or bands in the muscle. If you have unresolved pain in the jaw or face area consider purchasing Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain, how to find the trigger point and treat it. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. If you suffer from unresolved jaw pain and TMJ symptoms, I highly recommend this book. Relieving trigger points in the masseter muscle have helped many people resolve jaw, cheek, sinus and other head pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.


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