TMJ Neck and Back Pain

Do you have TMJ Neck Pain?

An aching neck, stiff shoulders, a sore back; so many people live with discomfort every day and assume that it’s just a cause of too many hours at the wheel, in front of the computer screen, or slouching on the couch.

It’s true, these activities can put a big strain on our postural muscles, but a regular program of exercising and stretching, combined with a healthy diet, should be enough to get you feeling well again. Old injuries can also cause problems for these muscle groups, but a trip to the physiotherapists office should help sort that out for you.

Trouble is, many people have tried these avenues to relieve ongoing neck, shoulder and back pain, only have have it remain as nagging ache or a painful twinge that puts a damper on everyday activities – every day.

You’ve searched high and low to find the cause of your ongoing neck pain, but there many be one cause you had no clue your ought to consider – your jaw.

How can your jaw affect your neck and back?

Your jaw is a very complex joint that you use every day. By itself, your jaw joint can’t really do anything. It needs a power source (your muscles) and controls (your nerves). When all three components are working in unison to, metaphorically, “pull the sled”, your jaws operate very efficiently and painlessly.

But, if one component is out of whack, the sled pulling-effort goes off the rails. Because it provides the structure for the machine, the jaw joint itself is critical. It’s hinged on both sides, so, if it’s misaligned, it can cause major problems for the muscles and nerves. As the muscles work overtime to compensate for  the misalignment, they tire and become tight and strained, putting pressure on the nerves that run through them.

When the effort becomes too much, your jaw muscles begin to recruit the surrounding muscles to lend a hand. As they tire,  the effort expands further down you body causing tight, tired muscles and compressed nerves in seemingly far away places like your neck, shoulders and back.

How can TMJ cause neck pain?

If, indeed, TMJ is at the root of your neck, shoulder or back pain, a Westminster dentist could be the one who can help realign your jaw joint and relax your jaw muscles, releasing your nerves from their prison.

The first step is a tmj diagnosis. By using low radiation CAT scans of your teeth and jaw joints, special radiographs of your teeth, and by taking detailed casts of your upper and lower teethDr. Imm will have the full picture of how your jaw is affecting your:

  • neck pain
  • posture
  • muscle tenderness
  • jaw joint function
  • Get rid of TMJ migraines and headaches
  • Improve your sleep and…
  • damage to your teeth and gums

If your bite is the most-likely culprit of your pain, he’ll use a TENS machine to identify your correct jaw position while your muscles are relaxed. This new jaw position and realigned bite, called Neuromuscular occlusion, will bring balance back to your jaw joints, muscles, and teeth.

Tackle your TMJ neck and back pain

Treating TMJ has many positives and no negatives. that we can think of. Relieve your pain. Relax your overtired muscles. Restore function to your jaw. Repair your damaged teeth. What can Dr. Imm do to help you? Come in for a consultation and find out

How can TMJ cause back pain?

A malocclusion, in layman’s terms a“bad bite” often causes an uneven relationship between your jaw and skull. This imbalance can twist your jaw into a strained position which can refer pain down to the muscles of your neck, your shoulders, and your back.

This happens because the muscles throughout your body work as a team. The bones of your neck, especially the ones at the very tip of your spine – the atlas and axis – are closely connected with your jaw muscles, the ones you use for chewing, biting, talking, and breathing. They are also very important for correct head posture.

Sore, tight, contracted muscles of the jaw caused by a misaligned but can cause your head to tilt straining your neck, shoulder and back muscles as they adjust to your head’s new position.

Think of it, your head weighs about 10 pounds. To see just how hard the muscles of your neck, shoulders and back must work to hold up your listing head, take a five pound bag of sugar or flour and hold it up for just 15 minutes.

TMJ and Back Pain Commonly Go Together

Back pain is a common sign of a TMJ disorder. Because the the muscles of your jaw are so intricately interconnected with the muscles of your face, head and neck, and the muscles of your neck have a direct impact on the muscles of your shoulders and back, symptoms of a distressed jaw may show up in any of these areas. When your neck muscles become overworked and fatigued from the strain of trying to balance your tilting head, the strain cascades down your body causing pain on the way down. 

Paradoxically, the reverse can also occur. Poor posture when standing, walking can cause your jaw muscles to work unproductively. When the surrounding jaw muscles becomes stressed TMJ pain, such as migraine headaches can result.

Get your head on straight

Photo of man suffering from TMJ pain

A dentist who understands the principles of neuromuscular dentistry, like Westminster’s Dr. Imm, knows that the bones, joints, muscles, and nerves of your head, jaw and neck have a very intricate relationship.

When he works to correct your bite, the strain on the your jaw and surrounding muscles will lessen. Once that strain is gone, everything else will follow suit. Your head will return to a more balanced position. Your neck and shoulders will start to relax. And then, ahhhhh, your back pain will start to subside.

Stop TMJ neck and back pain

Back pain can be agonizing. There’s not much you can do, physically, without using your back. With back pain, even lying down can hurt. Don’t suffer with your longer than you need.All Smiles Care can help with your TMJ related neck and back pain. Contact us for a consultation to find out what we can do for you.

About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)
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