O Temporalis! O Headache!

The title, of course, is a reference to the Latin saying “O tempora O mores” (Oh the times! Oh the morals!), used by the Roman orator Cicero, as he proclaimed his disdain for the morals of the day. Tempora means “time” in Latin, and Temporal bones (one on each side) are a part of your scull where the temples are. Legend says that ancients used “time” to name this part of the head because that’s where grey hair first starts to appear, reminding us of the passage of time.

Fan-shaped flat Temporalis muscles cover the Temporal bones and do the job of chewing, biting and pulling our jaw in. Sometimes we abuse these muscles when we bite into something hard, like a bone, or for a long time, like chewing gum, or when after a stressful day we clench and grind out teeth at night.

When this happens, Temporalis muscles and their tendons often go into a cramp. This feels as an intense pain over the temple, around and behind the eye, and sometimes radiating to the back of the head and the neck.

In fact the signs and symptoms of injured Temporalis are very similar to a migraine headache and are often confused with it. Cramps in Temporalis are also a common cause of jaw (TMJ) pain.

In this 16th century painting by Albrecht Dürer St. Jerome is seen rubbing his aching head while pointing to where the Temporalis muscle is located. It’s as if he is reminding massage therapists present and future that headaches and jaw pain often come from there. Check it first!

And here at Breathe Spa we will. We’ll massage your tired Temporalis and will suggest exercises to help you relax it. Go online to www.breathespa.ca or call us at 403-457-3060 and make an appointment.

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