Thursday, July 21, 2011

SSF Patient Education Sheet: How to Massage Salivary Glands

I know, I know. My last several posts have been pretty doofus. I promise that today's entry actually has some useful information.

Sjoggies know that our salivary glands are seriously impacted by the effects of Sjogren's syndrome. Occasionally one of the problems encountered with our salivary glands is an obstruction in a saliva duct causing pain or swelling. If you are having these symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor may suggest that you perform salivary gland massage to help.

The June 2011 edition of The Moisture Seekers (published by the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation and mailed to all SSF members AND is yet another reason why you should become a member) included an excellent patient fact sheet entitled How to Massage Salivary Glands.

You can see the PDF version of this information online, here.

Written by Ava J. Wu, DDS

Dr. Wu is a Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Salivary Gland Dysfunction Clinic, School of Dentistry, University of California, San Francisco.

If a sharp and stabbing pain occurs in one of your salivary glands right before or while eating or drinking, the cause might be an obstruction (a stone or mucous plug). In rare cases, associated gland swelling can accompany the discomfort. Here are some tips for massaging or "milking" the gland that might help:

Additional Tips:
  • Stay well hydrated to encourage the flow of saliva through the gland.
  • Temporarily avoid foods and beverages that cause the pain and possible swelling.
  • Apply warm compresses to the area to increase comfort.
  • Ibuprofen may be taken temporarily to decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Talk to your doctor about the use of a mucolytic agent for 5 - 10 days to thin the saliva and allow it to easily pass through the salivary ducts. 
In all cases of salivary gland swelling and associated pain a medical professional should be consulted as soon as possible to determine the cause.
Additional Patient Fact Sheets like this one are available online at


Christine said...

Too funny...I just found this and was reading it online last night at the SSF site as I am dealing with salivary gland swelling for the first time. Very helpful info. so thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Helpful info..I just noticed pain in my right lower jaw and remembered you could self massage blocked glands. Looked online for info and voila, your blog! Thanks!

phot9397 said...

Be careful in using the filter in the body.

Julia said...

This is exactly what I needed today. I just had radioiodine (I-131) treatment yesterday, following a thyroidectomy and diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Last night, my neck started swelling - enormously. I started to panic - were these my lymph nodes? Was this an indication that the cancer had already metastasized? Well, after going in today to see my doctor, and being assured that this was about 95% certainly due to a swelling of my salivary glands, I came home and started looking online for more info. I read a brief mention of salivary massage on, and after another search, found your post here. THANK YOU! I started doing the massage about an hour ago, stopped to eat dinner (my first meal of an otherwise quite painful day) and have continued since then. The swelling is already noticeably reduced, and the pain is much less as well. Thanks for posting something so useful, and with a doctor's recommendation to back it up! (Much of what's on the web in terms of medical advice doesn't!)

From another Julia

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Anonymous said...

I have found the whole of this site so helpful and informative. Had SS for over 5 years now and I am still learning - and now I have started massaging my salivary glands thank you for the tips.

Anonymous said...

I had Bell's Palsy in December of 2013, and I massaged all the glands in my face, under my chin, along my jawline, in my neck, above and under my collar bone, sides of my breasts, and in my armpits daily. I applied heat to my face with a corn bag I made out of deer feed corn, and this really helped get all the excess mucous out of my body. I am now completely normal. Also, whenever I feel the beginnings of a cold, I massage my glands and I feel much relief.

Total Project Management, Inc. said...

Wow... this was helpful thanks

Total Project Management, Inc. said...

Wow... this was helpful thanks

Unknown said...

Not sure If my problem is glands. Have 2 doctors telling me it could be the pituary gland, but both disagree about a cat scan cannot be used to see the gland in the brain...For the last 4 years and in a different climate just not sure what this could be. Thyroid is normal, but have three nodules in my neck. The symptoms I have is as soon as I start moving around within 10 minutes I sweat profusedly on my forehead, chest, neck and back of neck and head and also my arms would be sweaty and clammy! I would have drops falling off my forehead and carry a cloth at all times. Today and few weeks past I notice its more on my chest and neck my body temperature is ice cold when touched. Please what is this? sounds like some of the stuff I am reading within Sjogren's Syndrome. What doctor should I seek this time? Than after I sit and do nothing it all goes away....