Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and posture are related. Experts have seen a connection between bad posture and the development of a TMJ disorder. How are they connected?
Proper posture makes you look good. Apart from that, it is also important to maintain your body’s alignment and balance. It plays a crucial role in maintaining your well-being. When you continuously practice poor posture, you can trigger misalignments in some areas of your body, including the shoulder and neck. A misalignment may sound harmless, but it can trigger different health concerns and potentially disrupt the balance of your jaw bones and joints, leading to that dreaded TMJ pain. You would hope for TMJ pain relief once the pain starts interfering with your life.
Improving your posture, supported by proper care to your spine, can help prevent the onset of worse TMJ problems and help alleviate other symptoms of a TMJ disorder.
How Poor Posture Leads to a TMJ Disorder
So, you’re probably wondering how exactly poor posture affects your TMJ. Here are three reasons:
Hunching and slouching
Bad posture stresses your bones and joints. For example, if you constantly hunch or slouch, a misalignment in your lower jaw can eventually occur. Once you notice an onset of symptoms related to a TMJ disorder, try to be more mindful of your posture. It might be the reason for that consistent jaw pain that’s causing you discomfort.
Forward head posture
It’s not uncommon for bad posture to create domino effects, one of which is TMJ disorder. Bad posture can also make your TMJ symptoms worse. When you usually use a forward head posture, your body tends to slouch with your head extended outwards. Repeated forward head posture makes your lower jaw shift forward, too, in an unnatural position that can lead to a misaligned bite.
Eventually, the misaligned bite will affect your upper and lower teeth, altering their alignment and stressing jaw muscles and joints. A misaligned bite can also affect your chewing, speech, and overall jaw function. Forward head posture is also believed to be one of the leading causes of TMJ disorders, which will eventually require TMJ pain relief.
A misaligned cervical spine can lead to uneven shoulders, contributing to the development of a TMJ disorder. In addition, a shoulder lower than the other tends to pull the side of the neck and jaw, which strains the muscle.
To help check if your shoulders are uneven, you can look at yourself in the mirror and examine your posture. Face the mirror and let your hands hang at the sides of your thighs, with your palms laying flat on your thighs and thumbs facing forward.
If you notice your hands facing different directions, or one tends to look higher than the other, you likely have uneven shoulders. You can also lean back against the wall and let someone draw a line where your shoulders are and compare its alignment.
See a Chiropractor for TMJ Pain Relief
Correcting your posture can influence muscle and tension relief all over your body, including your TMJ. Sometimes though, due to repeated stress and pressure caused by poor posture, the damage leads to misalignment in the upper cervical spine affecting the overall TMJ function. When this happens, you will need to address the misalignment in the upper cervical spine before it leads to further damage and health concerns.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic care is an effective way to manage misalignment; once your bones return to their proper position, the rest of your bones, muscles, and tissues can follow, including your jaw and surrounding area. Correcting the upper spine’s misalignment relieves stress and pressure on your jaw and helps reduce the symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Hence, Upper Cervical Care can influence TMJ pain relief for a better quality of life.
You can visit our Upper Cervical Chiropractic doctors directory for a list of reputable and board-certified Upper Cervical Chiropractors to help you with TMJ issues linked to upper spine misalignments. All the chiropractic doctors we recommend guarantee safe and gentle adjustments that can potentially end your pain and suffering caused by TMJ disorders.
Correct Your Posture to Stop TMJ Pain
If you notice your harmful habit of slouching, it’s not too late to improve your posture and adjust to your routine to relieve you from the muscle stress that comes from poor posture. Here are three practical suggestions you can try; all can complement Upper Cervical Chiropractic:
1. Get enough lumbar support.
If you must sit for extended periods, especially at work, get a chair that offers good lumbar or lower back support. This will help your feet lay flat on the floor and your arms in a relaxed position. Also, if you regularly use a computer, putting your screen or mobile device on eye level prevents you from slouching or overextending your neck.
2. Check your pillows and mattress.
Getting good quality and proper pillows and mattress is essential for good sleep and keeping your back and neck in a neutral and relaxed position during sleep to prevent TMJ, neck, or back pain when you wake up. In addition, your spine needs adequate support to maintain its neutral curvature. Otherwise, your bones can compromise their alignment resulting in pinching or compression of nearby tissues, including your TMJ. Pillow and mattress recommendations depend on what kind of sleeper you are. Keep this in mind when you go pillow and mattress shopping.
3. Do posture exercises.
Staying active and engaging in posture exercises a few times a week can help your posture. You can start with gentle stretching or yoga to help correct your slouching. This can also help alleviate TMJ pain once you improve or correct your bad posture.