How to Exercise the Masseter Muscle

Jaw tightness and stiffness can be caused by TMJ and a sore massester muscle.
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The masseter muscle is a large muscle found on each side of your jaw. It is what controls the opening and closing of your jaw. This muscle can become fatigued and require stretching and strengthening exercises. Also, some people suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) -- chronic pain in the jaw, a disorder that hinders the jaw from maintaining proper positioning and alignment. This condition can be quite painful and disrupt your daily life. The massester muscle in people with TMJ has to work overtime to open and close the jaw, causing more discomfort. Exercising your masseter muscle can help build up strength and help keep your jaw in good working order.

    Step 1

    Stand up straight and look forward. Gently tilt your neck forward, chin down, and back to straight multiple times. Then tilt your head side to side, ear to shoulder and back, gently holding each position for around 10 seconds. This is good for jaw alignment.

    Step 2

    Open and close your mouth slowly as if you were yawning. Ideally, you want to be able to insert three fingers into your mouth. This amount of opening is sufficient. This helps the opening and closing of the jaw.

    Step 3

    Put the tip of your tongue on the front of the roof of your mouth and hold for one minute.

    Step 4

    Place your index and middle finger together on the right side of your jaw. Keep your head facing forward and don't move it as you push gently on your jaw so it moves to the left and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the left side. Do 10 reps on each side. This helps with range of motion of the jaw.

    Step 5

    Open your jaw slightly, about one finger width in size. Hold and curl your tongue towards the back of the mouth while producing a clucking like sound. This helps with jaw stability.


    • Consider getting a custom-made mouth guard to wear during sleep. This will minimize teeth grinding due to TMJ which can cause soreness and pain the next day.


    • Always consult your health care professional if you have severe pain or inability to open or close your jaw.

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