When you think about TMJ, it’s common to just think about jaw pain. However, if you look at an anatomy book, you will notice that the jaw muscles connect to the head, neck, shoulder, back and chest, so that everything is connected. Keep reading for more information about how TMJ affects the entire body.
Forward Head Posture
The most common issue you may correlate with your TMJ is forward head posture. There is no escape from this, everyone with TMJ has forward head posture. With one shoulder/hip higher and more out in front, it causes a postural twist.
With the lower jaw not properly in place, muscle attachments to the jaw are all shortened with improper range of motion. That’s a lot of muscle dysfunction daily into the jaw, neck, back, chest, etc. You cannot breathe fully through your diaphragm, which cuts down your oxygen intake by about 30%.
Your body posture is a series of curves:
- The neck or cervical curve
- The thoracic – lumbar curve
- And the sacral curve.
These curves act as “springs” to absorb shock and in functional (normal) muscle, the disc/vertebrae help support the posture properly.
With forward head posture, the spine develops pressure points and is no longer a spring, creating painful symptoms over time. Once a part of your spine is out of place, the rest curves along with it, trying to maintain balance and support the weight of your head.
With your new patient exam, Dr. Insolera of the TMJ and Sleep Center will be checking your posture for forward head posture and symmetry, and examining approximately 40 muscles for latent trigger points in the head and neck – painful muscle due to TMJ/forward head posture.
Pain can come from the TM Joints and radiate into the face. Pressure/pain behind the eyes and side of the head are common areas of referred muscle pain. Pressure creates ear pain since the TM Joints and middle ear are intimately connected, which leads to pain and even a sensation of fluid in the ears.
When bite and jaw position is changed via muscle measure, these symptoms will subside due to much improved muscle function 5,000 times a day.
Untreated TMJ Symptoms
TMJ problems manifest with forward head pains that become aggravated over time. If the “40” lb. head position is not attended, the lower back, hips, and knees can be affected adversely.
This can also lead to balance problems as the patient ages and muscles become weaker through aging, creating a susceptibility to falls. Also seen are swallow and sleep problems caused by dysfunctional muscles/jaw placement with forward head posture.
A common scene in nursing homes can be all the above. Dr. Insolera worked nine years part-time in nursing homes seeing the end point of the same symptoms he sees in his office on a day to day basis.
Learn More About How TMJ Affects the Entire Body
If any of these symptoms are familiar to you, you will want to get checked out for TMJ right away. Many doctors, such as Dr. Insolera at TMJ and Sleep Center, offer a free cure consult. This is to see if you have TMJ, and learn about the treatment plan. A free cure consult is the first step on your journey to a pain-free life.