Ear Pain

Bruxism: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Bruxism is the act of gnashing and grinding the teeth. Bruxism is common in children and adults of both sexes, affecting about 25-30% of children and roughly one in twenty adults. There is no significant difference between males and females [1].

Bruxism is divided into two main types- Nighttime grinding and daytime grinding. Nighttime grinding (nocturnal bruxism) is a back and forth, side-to-side motion where the lower teeth rub against the upper teeth, creating a characteristic grinding sound. Daytime grinding (clenching) is a rocking motion of the lower teeth against the upper teeth without the teeth actually making the side-to-side motion. While bruxing only happens during sleep, clenching can occur both during the day and at night [2]. Both nocturnal bruxism and clenching are “parafunctional activities,” as they are not part of normal chewing and swallowing.

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Masseter Muscle: Location, Actions, and Trigger Points

The masseter is a jaw muscle that gets its name from the Greek work "to chew". It is the major muscle of mastication (chewing) of the human jaw and serves primarily to elevate the mandible (lower jaw) while the deep tissues help to protrude (protract) it forward. Although we rarely think of it, the mandible is the only bone of the skull that is actually moveable. The upper jaw is fixed. There is a lot of moving for the mandible to do, therefore, and the masseter is the primary worker. Located on each side of the face in the parotid1 region at the back of the jaw, these muscles are easily visible or palpable when you clench your jaw, as they contract strongly just in front of the lower ears.2

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Sternocleidomastoid Muscle: Location, Action and Trigger Points

By Eric Troy, Ground Up Strength

The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) is a muscle of the neck so-named because it originates on the sternum (sterno) and the clavicle (cleido) and inserts on the mastoid process1 (mastoid) which is an easily located bony prominence behind the ear. The muscles pass diagonally across the front and side of the neck beginning at the top of the sternum and ending behind the ear. This two-sided muscle is large and ropy, making it the most prominent muscle visible at the front of the neck.

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