Last week I talked about massage for the teeth and inside the mouth. An odd topic, but one that is really important. We don’t often talk about what’s going on inside our mouths–but what if the problem inside your mouth is causing your headaches, hearing problems, sinus problems, foggy thinking, or other problem?
Earlier this summer I was working on a client who complained of ‘congested hearing’ in her left ear. After several sessions I probed further and found out that the congestion isn’t really like fluid in the ear, but that’s the only way she could describe it. Hearing in the left ear was dimmer than the right and an ear doctor said her ear was functioning perfectly normally. There was no problem with her ear.
So I asked her if I could do some intra-oral myofascial release, gentle work inside her mouth. Many people don’t think about how close the jaw joint is to the ear. Problems with the teeth and jaw can cause hearing problems or headaches. Here’s a picture to show how your jaw joint is right next to your ear canal.
Right now, run your tongue along the roof of your mouth. Nobody is watching–give it a try! What do you feel? Is there a ridge? Is it really pronounced or fairly flat? Now, take your tongue to the middle back—if you have a ridge follow it straight back. Is there, what I call, a mountain peak? maybe its more of a mound than a peak?
Well, I knew that many people have a ridge down the center, but I had never know there could be a mountain peak in the back! Both the mountain ridge and the peak are not supposed to be there!
After discovering the peak in my client I started asking people “what’s inside your mouth?” While I got some weird looks, I was amazed to find that many people had a ridge AND a mountain peak or mound. Let me explain what these are:
Your hard palate is the roof of your mouth, the floor of your nasal cavity, and it is part of the maxilla which forms the floor of your eye sockets. Therefore problems here can also contribute to sinus & vision problems.
The palate is divided into 4 sections by sutures. These sutures allow for movement within the skull. Your cranial bones are also connected by sutures to allow for movement from the pumping of the cerebrospinal fluid. Take a moment to feel the top of your head, right down the center. Do you feel a ridge? Hopefully not. This smooth suture is how the suture on the roof of your mouth should feel.
But for many people something happened whether growing up or in adulthood, where the sutures got stuck. They stopped moving as much as they should and then the body adapts to that and builds up fibrotic tissue, the fascia thickens and tightens preventing movement more. What you feel as the ridge or mountain peak are the stuck sutures and the thickened tissue built up over it.
Myofascial Release uses gentle pressure, tension, and time to change loosen the fasica, break up fibrotic tissue, and help return things to their normal state.
For my client, after about 15-mins of intra-oral myofascial release, her hearing improved for a minute or two and the mountain peak softened. I gave her a simple self treatment technique to do at home. We did another session for almost 60-mins and felt movement in the palate, the peak got a little smaller and hearing cleared up for a little longer. I expect with continued treatments we may be able to resolve the "hearing" problem.
If you have a mountain ridge or peak in your mouth, come see what Myofascial Release can do for you!