How to Exercise the Masseter Muscle

You couldn't open or close your mouth without your masseter muscles. Imbalances or tightness of the masseter on each side of your jaw can contribute to temporo-mandibular joint, or TMJ disorder. Characterized by pain, stiffness and clicking in your jaw, TMJ can cause headaches and neck pain. Stretching and exercising the masseter muscles can restore balance to your jaw and relieve the symptoms of TMJ.

A close-up of a woman clenching her jaw.
Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images

Resisted Close

Step 1

Sit in a comfortable position with your head centered over your shoulders. Keep your chin neutral and parallel to the floor.

Step 2

Keep your head stable, relax your jaw and let your mouth open naturally. Put your index finger against your bottom teeth.

Step 3

Press down on your bottom teeth, gently, while trying to close your jaw. Hold for five seconds, release and repeat five times.

Resisted Open

Step 1

Sit in a comfortable position with your head centered over your shoulders. Keep your chin neutral and parallel to the floor.

Step 2

Keep your head stable, and rest your fist under your chin. If necessary, sit a table and rest your elbow on the table to keep your fist stable.

Step 3

Press up, gently, with your fist while trying to open your jaw. Hold for five seconds, release and repeat five times.

Jaw Rotations

Step 1

Sit in a comfortable position with your head centered over your shoulders. Keep your chin neutral and parallel to the floor.

Step 2

Keep your head stable, relax your jaw and let your mouth open naturally. Slide your jaw forward and back five times. Relax then slide your jaw side to side five times.

Step 3

Slide your jaw clockwise five times. Change direction and slide your jaw counter-clockwise five times.

Open Wide

Step 1

Sit in a comfortable position with your head centered over your shoulders. Keep your chin neutral and parallel to the floor.

Step 2

Keep your head stable and open your mouth as wide as comfortable and stick out your tongue as if doing a wide yawn. Hold for one second then release.

Step 3

Repeat five times and relax.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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