Tight Jaw Relief for Singers: An Easy Pterygoid Stretch You Can Do at Home

tight jaw relief: an easy pterygoid stretch to do at home

As a voice coach, I work with singers to make sure they’re getting the best sound possible every time they sing. One of the most common reasons that singers aren’t getting that free-and-easy sound is because something in their voice or body is tighter than it needs to be. There are so many things that can be at play when tension is present. But there’s one little mischevous muscle that can be a surprisingly potent player in the role of tension. The culprit? The pterygoid. So, today I’m asking you the question, is your pterygoid tight? If it is, it’s likely that your singing is going to be less free and easy feeling and sounding.. And no one wants that. Today, let’s talk about how to get relief when you have a tight jaw (or more specifically, a tight pterygoid) as a singer! 

What are the pterygoid muscles?

The pterygoid muscles are helpful when we chew and are responsible for the three movements of our jaw: open and close, forward and backwards, and side to side. Those three movements are the ones we’re most interested in when it comes to this topic. If you’re someone who bites your teeth, has TMJ, or has ear pain… your pterygoid muscles are likely tight. 

The pterygoid muscles are located on both sides of the inner jaw. They run down under your jaw, too. 

How do you relieve the tightness of the pterygoid muscles?

A popular option is one that you’ll want to see a professional for. It’s an internal stretch and is very effective. Over time, you can learn to do it yourself… but, that’s not the one we’re talking about today. We’re going to talk about an external massage that you can give yourself to loosen that jaw pain! 

The first thing you want to do is locate the spot underneath your ear and find the spot that feels tense. Roll your finger around – you probably won’t need a lot of pressure. Once you find the spot, just hold for about 10 seconds then you can move around as needed. Make sure to move up and down to find all of the spots of tension. Continue to follow the muscle down your jaw and as you massage, ensure the rest of your jaw is loose too. You don’t need a lot of pressure to find relief, trust me! Oh, and don’t forget to do both sides!! 

Take the time to do this massage as much as you need to ensure your jaw isn’t tight. Tight singing  isn’t fun at all. Many singers don’t even realize that they are experiencing tightness because they’ve never experienced full freedom.  I want you to be as relaxed as possible when you go to sing! I hope this exercise helps you learn to relax your pterygoid muscles! 

Watch this week’s videos for a walkthrough!

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