Neck Pain

Can TMJ cause neck and shoulder pain?

Your neck, back and shoulder muscles work as a team. Seldom does a single muscle work without other muscles balancing or stabilizing its function.

Often, overworked muscles will recruit additional muscles to help out. This is known as muscle recruitment. And it can lead to structural strain up and down the body.

Strained head and neck muscles affect posture:

  • An aligned head and neck is important for a proper spinal column alignment.
  • Muscle tension of the jaw along with a malocclusion (uneven bite) can shift the head’s balance on the neck vertebrae.
  • To compensate, the top of the spine begins to buckle or twist.
  • Postural Distortion develops as the shoulders and hips begin to tip under the complex muscle strain and creates a variety of different outcomes.

Head and neck muscles are involved in turning the head, eating, breathing and talking. Overworked jaw muscles can affect the neck muscles that support your head. It can affect those muscles and structures that assist the shoulders and back as well as head posture. The recruitment of other muscles can end in an imbalance, and result in strain and pain.

Sore, strained and fatigued muscles of the jaw can create posture accommodation that tilts the head and shoulders. This causes overcompensation of the neck, shoulder and back muscles.

As with anything you use daily, over time there is going to be significant wear and tear.

The same principle applies to your teeth. Practically everything you do requires the use of your teeth and your jaws. Jaw pain is common and the wear and tear can cause a TMJ disorder.

When even a single jaw, neck or shoulder muscle becomes overworked and fatigued – other muscles are forced to compensate to keep the head balanced on top of your spinal column. Your newly overworked muscles become strained, sore and tender – making them uncomfortable in your neck, shoulders and back.

Your bite (occlusion) plays an important role:

Your body has two stabilizing elements that help determine your posture. Two parts that are solid positions. One is the ground we stand on and the other is the stability your lower jaw provides when you bite your teeth together. These two positions help determine your body’s posture. If the ground is level your hips can be level. If your teeth mesh in a way your jaws, neck and shoulders line up, your upper body can be level.

Your TMJ is the only joint in the body that has a “Terminal End Point”. A point that cannot be over-flexed or moved past. Teeth are hard. Once your teeth come together, your lower jaw stops moving and that determines where and how your TMJ jaw joint is positioned and functions.

The proper development of your upper and lower jaw and the way the teeth must mesh or occlude together is key to TMJ, Head / Neck / Shoulder / Back / Hip / Knee / Foot alignment.

We all know that if we stand on a slope, our body must compensate for the unlevelled ground.

What we may NOT know is that if your tooth position and the occlusion are misaligned due to unbalanced upper and lower jaw position, your body must compensate as well. Whether it is a sloped floor or a misaligned bite, muscles and bony structures automatically adjust. Your floor will not always be sloped but your bite cannot always level itself.

The importance of an uneven bite (malocclusion) is that your jaw muscles, head muscles and neck muscles can never rest. They are under constant strain. Your TMJ and Cervical (neck) Vertebrae can often be misaligned for long periods of time.

This chronic stress and strain to the body requires ‘Accommodation’ by the body’s many parts like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nervous systems.

This can create many varying effects we call signs and symptoms. Some people have little or no signs of symptoms. They can accommodate the strain their body is in. Others can have very severe pain problems and major losses of function in their body. Yet others only see changes in their teeth, gum tissue and the bone around the teeth. Some people have migraines, some have sensitive teeth, and some have gum recession.

TMJ Disorders can impact your teeth causing changes in the shape of your lips. Wrinkles and creases form and deepen on the sides of your mouth and nose. The appearance of jowls on the sides of your jaw is often a loss of height in your teeth and jaws.

The type of symptoms, the intensity, and the timing will vary with everyone. Dr. Bramanti, a Board-Certified TMJ Dental Specialist, will bring to bear his clinical expertise, knowledge and deep understanding of how the bite, jaw, and muscle systems interact in your TMJ disorder. Rest assured, Dr. Bramanti will unravel the mystery of your condition and suffering to provide you will a successful path to pain relief.

How painful is TMJ neck pain?

neck Pain can create constant headaches at the back of the head. Pain is often referred to behind the eyes and on the forehead. Neck pain can reduce how you function by limiting head and neck movements. Muscle pain of the neck can even affect how you stand and how your hips, knees, and feet function.

What Helps TMJ Neck Pain?

When you have a malocclusion creating a TMJ Disorder, your misaligned bite causes a ripple effect throughout all the regions in the head and neck resulting in pain and strain throughout the top half of your body. Dr. Bramanti can correct and balance your bite so that your muscles can function properly and without additional strain. Solutions offered by Dr. Bramanti can be the difference between living with muscle discomfort or with relaxed, properly functioning muscles.

TMD pain – How your bite can cause back pain

An “uneven bite” often causes an imbalance in the jaw-to-skull relationship, which in turn twists the jaw into a strained position that creates pain to the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back.

Pain can occur in the upper back as well as the lower back.

Muscles work as a team. The vertebrae in the neck are intimately involved with the muscles for chewing, biting, talking, breathing, and head posture. Sore, tight, contracted muscles of the jaw may tilt the head and shoulders forward causing compensation from neck, shoulder and back muscles along with neck and back vertebrae.

The bones, joints, muscles, and nerves in the face and neck have a complex relationship. They try to work to correct the bite, relieving strain on the jaw and the surrounding muscles without success.

Dr. Bramanti is a TMJ Specialist who provides TMJ treatment with a comprehensive approach to develop improved balance to his patient’s bite. Call Dr. Bramanti today at 559-438-7800 for a consultation to assess your TMJ disorder and provide an appropriate course of therapy tailored to your health needs.

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Dr. Bramanti’s primary goal will always
be your well-being and comfort.

Delivering the highest quality dentistry in a caring, compassionate environment is Dr. Bramanti’s primary approach to health. His attention to the smallest details takes time and effort. It is his belief that you are entitled to optimal dental health and the advanced care that only time, effort, and attention to detail can provide.