Your Jaw as a Stable Platform

The upright posture of the human body makes for some hard engineering challenges, such as how to leverage force when there are few bones around in the neck area. The jaw helps stabilize the neck because it’s a large, wide bone that provides firm anchorage for neck muscles as well as jaw muscles. These neck muscles help with swallowing and also help stabilize the head.

Your jaw thus performs an important role not only in the standard functions you think about for your mouth, such as talking and swallowing, but helps anchor your other muscles. When the jaw is in the proper position, the forces pass seamlessly through your body. You won’t even notice the role of your jaw in muscle exertion. It’s only when it’s out of place that the role becomes clear.

When your jaw is out of balance, as in TMJ, the balance between the other neck muscles and the ones related to your jaw becomes distorted. This means that instead of working together harmoniously to perform the actions of the jaw and neck, they may actually be in competition. Or maybe the muscles in the jaw will pull neck muscles in to assist with the functions of the jaw.

The result is that muscles in the neck can become sore and overworked. They will then get assistance from other nearby muscles, which can result in shoulder pain, then back pain. As with headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, or back pain are probably not your only TMJ symptom. If TMJ is to blame for these aches, you likely have other symptoms.

How TMJ Treatment Helps Back Pain

TMJ treatment can help your jaw become the stable platform it’s supposed to be. It can improve the efficiency of your neck muscles so that they can get more rest. It can especially help with the modern phenomenon of “text neck” in which neck muscles are strained by bending the head forward to work on a smartphone.

To learn whether TMJ treatment can help your neck, shoulder, or back pain, please call (201) 343-4044 or email the River Edge Dental Center for TMJ, Sleep Apnea, & Reconstructive Dentistry.