Posture Pain, Forward Head Posture & the TMJ Connection
When TMJ affects your posture
If you are struggling with TMJ, you are sure to be dealing with troubling symptoms that can get in the way of daily life. Also referred to as temporomandibular disorder, TMJ involves a host of problems that focus around the vital hinges that connects the lower and upper jaw. The complex mix of muscles, connective tissue and nerves around these joints can affect every part of your body.
When this joint is misaligned, strained, or inflamed, it can wreak havoc on your body. While pain, swelling, and discomfort in your jaw are the most obvious symptoms associated with TMJ, you may also be experiencing chronic headaches, pain in your shoulders, and a sore neck that won’t go away.
If you are having TMJ problems it is almost certainly affecting your posture pain. The most obvious postural change is a forward head posture with rotation of the head on the first to vertebrae, the Atlas and Axis.
Your jaw and your posture pain. What’s the connection?
Your jaw and your body have an intimate connection that is affected by swallowing and even breathing. Radiating pain from your TMJ or surrounding structures can affect other parts of your body, such as your neck, shoulders, head or even low back. As they struggle to cope, people often find themselves favoring one part of their body over another. This imbalance creates a vicious cycle, contributing to the pain and compounding the problem.
The problem can also be the inverse of the latter situation. For example:
- Hours spent at a desk, peering at a computer can strain your neck, head, or jaw
- Clenching your jaw and tensing your body due to stress can cause or exacerbate TMJ
The moment any part of your body is out of alignment, negative consequences can begin. If you don’t correct bad habits concerning your posture, your TMJ problems will likely worsen.
Deal with poor posture and resolve TMJ
In order to rid yourself of your TMJ troubles, adjusting your posture could be the answer. Learning how to properly align your body, focusing on your spine, head, and neck, could relieve the strain that is affecting your jaw. Simply being aware of how you hold your body at all times is important as well. If there are underlying pathology affecting your posture it is impossibe to correct just by attempting to have good posture.
It’s important to avoid muscle and fascial tension in the body that often results in undue pressure on the jaw. Finding an appropriate outlet for stress can remove strain from the jaw. Massage therapy and relaxation techniques can relieve the pressure, benefiting your overall health as well.
Is your poor posture the cause or the effect?
In the end, you need to get to the bottom of your problem and find out if bad posture is the cause or the result of TMJ. It should never be a guessing game when it comes to your health and any discomfort you are experiencing. The sooner you deal with your pain, the sooner you can put it behind you.
While finding ways to improve your posture will only help, you’ll need someone with experience and in-depth knowledge in order to properly diagnose your TMJ disorder. Once diagnosed, we will be able to form a comprehensive treatment plan; from physical therapy to orthotics, orthodontics or dental restorations, TMJ treatment can help your pain become a thing of the past.
You owe it to yourself to find answers and have a better quality of life. Getting the proper help is the first step.