If you suffer from splitting headaches that no amount of painkillers can relieve, you need to know how to perform the masseter muscle massage. This natural remedy for headaches is expert approved — and it may even prevent future headaches.
According to David Reavy, PT, headaches can often be the result of a tight masseter muscle, which is the thick muscle that connects your cheekbone and jawbone and is super important for eating. Some people who get stressed clench their jaws, which tenses their masseter muscles and can lead to tightness. Often, all it takes is massaging this area for 10 minutes for stiffness to disappear and for the agonizing throbbing in your head to stop.
How to Do a Masseter Massage
The trickiest part of this whole technique is first locating the masseter muscle. You want to look for a shallow notch in your cheekbone roughly an inch in front of your ears. Your thumb should fit snugly in the hollow. Then, massage the area with either the pads of your fingers or your knuckles. Alternately, you can practice opening and closing your mouth while applying pressure to the muscle with your fingers until you feel the muscle underneath relax. Just place the pads of your fingers on your masseter muscle and open your mouth as wide as you can.
“To start, I would do it a few times a day, especially if you tend to clench your teeth when you are stressed,” Reavy told Prevention. “This not only helps with tension headaches but also TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a condition that causes jaw pain).”
Of course, there’s no real way to definitively know whether a masseter massage will prevent a headache in the future (headaches happen for any number of reasons beyond just jaw tension), but there’s no harm in taking 10 seconds out of your day to massage your mouth muscles. After all, there’s nothing worse than lying curled up in a ball of pain while you wait for the headache to subside. Now, you can take power back and stop a headache in its tracks.