Muscle Tenderness – Test

Muscle Tenderness Test

Use the Trigger Point images to palpate muscles on the cheek (Masseters) and on the temple (Temporalis) to see if there are trigger points.
You have to push hard and roll your finger or thumb around to find the knot in the muscle. If it is there then there are issues.

Rate all muscles on a scale of 1 to 3

To make communication more accurate we have simplified the Tenderness Scale:
1 = no pain, just pressure
2 = Ouch, that hurts.
3 = You back away quickly from applying pressure, because it hurts so much

A healthy muscle system has all 1’s or 1.5’s.
2’s and 3’s indicate muscle strain and bite related problems.
(Muscle trigger points are hard to do on one’s self. We tend to wimp out to avoid pain.)

Headaches, Ear and Neck Pain

Find the connection between the triggerpoints and the actual pain spots above the eyes, behind the ear and the temple area.

tmj test 1

Trigger Point: Deep Masseter Muscle
Pain Area: Ear


tmj test 2

Trigger Point: Masseter Muscle along jaw line
Pain Areas: Lower Jaw, Side of Head, Above the Eyes


tmj test 3

Trigger Point: Middle of Masseter Muscle
Pain Areas: Lower Jaw, Upper Jaw, Teeth


tmj test 4

Trigger Point: Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
Pain Areas: Lower Jaw, Above the Eyes, Back and Top of Head
Pinch the SCM muscle (the one on the neck that runs from behind the ear to the sternum and clavicle muscles). This is a muscle that is often more sore on one side due to the head rotation that comes from an unbalanced bite.


tmj test 5

Trigger Point: Splenius Capitus Muscle
Pain Areas: Top of Head
Rub the area at the very back of the skull. This is called the Nuccal Line and is often a sore spot with those who suffer from Neck and Shoulder Aches.


Numbness on the back of the hands and fingertips or numbness that descends down the arm

This may be due to the entrapment of a nerve for the arm by a muscle in the neck. This muscle is important for head posture and thus related to bite issues. Coldness of the hands or swelling of the hands can be an indication of blood vessel entrapment that is related more to chest muscles.

tmj muscle 1tmj muscle

Trigger Point: Levator Scapulae Muscle
Pain Areas: Shoulder, Back
Numbness: Arm, Hand

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