Disclaimer – I’m not a doctor, just a bio-hacker. Use any advice at your own risk. Seriously, don’t sue us, we have no money, we’re just trying to help.
As you know I’m trying to hack Tinnitus with various DIY therapies andI’m making progress. I just discovered my bite was off, so I decided to explore what muscles I’ve been stressing and so should you. This would involve understanding DTR.
First, the Pain Test.
Let’s discuss the Lateral Pterygoid Muscle or LPM. This little muscle has a close physical connection to ear structures and the Acoustic Nerve (Trigeminal Nerve) as you can see above and I explain below. The Trigeminal Nerve has an Acoustic Nerve Branch! If you have varying tinnitus especially a hissing sound vs a tone sound check for muscle sensitivity by lightly pressing the pocket in front of your ear while your mouth is open and extended. Do this first on the ear side the tinnitus volume is most noticeable (louder). Now check the other side, is one side less sensitive?
“Light finger pressure, called palpation, when applied to a muscle should not cause a sensation of tenderness or pain. If palpation does cause pain, tenderness or discomfort, it is an indication of the presence of inflammation, hyperactivity or spasm in a muscle.”
If it is sensitive you may have a clue about the possible cause or trigger to your Tinnitus.
Locate and Massage this Muscle Everyday
Your LPM may be overactive, have a knot, fatigued or shortened over time. Muscles have memory so routine therapeutic stretching is a possible remedy to re-lengthen and normalize.
Do you have…
- Any Jaw pain or Aches?
- Clenching habit?
- Is your Tinnitus louder in the morning?
- Any recent dental work or trauma to your head, anything?
- Sometimes have amplification of sounds in noisy rooms.
- Teeth clenching during stress, mouth breathing, etc, that must cease.
What you can do now.
- Excercise you Jaw 3 times a day
- Eliminate forwarded head (computer laptop phone) posture, buy a Lumo Lift.
- Control Inflammation (Low Wheat (Gluten), Low Sugar, Low Salt)
I’ve found that by extending my jaw forward (using these muscles and with help by pulling my jaw out forward with my right index finger ) then massaging that pocket area with my left finger that it is therapeutic and helpful relaxing my jaw and reducing Tinnitus volume.
More on the Medical Side
Lateral Pterygoid Muscle. LPM – This important muscle is the one that separates the teeth by opening the jaw slightly. It opposes the powerful closing muscles.
When the Lateral Pterygoid contracts, it forces the mandible to rotate open, parting the teeth slightly.
In normal function when this “jaw-opening” muscle contracts, the other, opposing muscles of “jaw-closing” are turned off. That is what we call “coordinated muscle movement.”
The true definition of clenching occurs when both the opening and closing muscle groups are contracting at the same time, which is called “uncoordinated muscle movement.” When this happens, you are neither opening nor closing, or you are doing both depending on how you look at it.
When it comes to the topic of TMJ pain, here is the important point – this opening muscle is attached not only to the mandible but also to a pad of cartilage called the “Temperomandibular Joint Disk” that sits between the skull and the mandible.
This disc is what cushions the intense force between these two bones during closing and mandibular movement and prevents the bone on bone contact which is never good for any joint.
During normal mandibular movement, the disk and the lower jaw bone move together up and down a slope on the temporalis bone. So now try to imagine what happens if both sets of muscles are contracting at the same time.
Lateral Pterygoid Muscle Ear Structure and Trigeminal Nerve Proximity
“Adjacent to the lateral pterygoid muscles is another muscle, the tensor veli palatini, which open the eustachian tube connecting the middle ear and the rear of the throat called the eustachian tube. The eustachian tube equalizes pressure in the ear with outside air pressure. TMD patients may experience spasm of the lateral pterygoid muscle and also of the adjacent tensor veli palatini, which fails to open the eustachian tube.”
“The posterior trunk of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve normally descends deep to the lateral pterygoid muscle.”
Credit for this hack goes to these sites.
Otalgia – ear pain. Two separate and distinct types of otalgia exist. Pain that originates within the ear is primary otalgia; pain that originates outside the ear is referred otalgia.
Buteyko breathing method – At the core of the Buteyko method is a series of reduced-breathing exercises that focus on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation. Opinion is divided on whether the Buteyko method confers any health benefits: some evidence suggests it may help alleviate asthma symptoms and improve quality of life.
Buccal nerve – The (long buccal nerve) is a nerve in the face. It is a branch of the mandibular nerve (which is itself a branch of the trigeminal nerve) and transmits sensory information from skin over the buccal membrane (in general, the cheek) and from the second and third molar teeth.
Pterygoid Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening the lateral and medial pterygoids is necessary to promote proper joint kinematics or jaw movement, resting position, and also to free the buccal nerve (nerve near LPM from potential entrapment) An indication of weakness can be buccal nerve pain, tinnitus, or difficulty maintaining the new mandibular resting position.
A small number of sufferers may struggle to protract the jaw without clenching the suprahyoid musculature. This is a strong dysfunction and indicates the extreme weakness of the pterygoids. In such case, very light protractions without any resistance must take place, while simultaneously palpating the suprahyoid musculature and ensuring that it is not activating during protraction.
“To resolve (TMD) Tinnitus, it is CRITICAL to practice and learn how to protract the jaw without tensing the suprahyoid muscles.”
First, make sure that you’re not clenching the suprahyoid, which is a common cheat when the pterygoids are forced to work harder than their capacity allows.
- The lateral pterygoid can be strengthened by opening the jaw forward and downward while resisting with your palm. Make sure to also control the eccentric phase (reversal).
- The medial pterygoid can be strengthened by closing the jaw forward, form an open base position. Once again, use your palm as resistance and make sure to control the eccentric phase.