The Connection between TMJ and Neck Pain
Because there are so many daily factors that can lead to neck pain, few people make the connection between misaligned teeth or bite conditions and nagging neck pain without the help of a physiologic dentist.
A “bad bite” causes an imbalance in the functional relationship between your jaw and skull. This imbalance forces additional strain on your joints and muscles. The muscles in your jaw partner with those in your neck to help balance your head atop your neck and maintain the alignment of your neck vertebrae. Additional strain on the jaw muscles can be passed on to your neck muscles, causing them to become sore.
Overactive and tense muscles can also put pressure on nearby nerves, which can cause shooting pain in your face, neck, shoulders and back. Pressure on nerves can also be caused by neck vertebrae being pulled out of alignment by a misaligned jaw.
Do You Have TMJ?
The only way to know for sure if TMJ is responsible for your neck pain is to be evaluated by a TMJ dentist but there are many signs that you should see a dentist.
You should see a dentist if you have other TMJ symptoms, such as:
- Regular headaches
- Face, shoulder and back pain
- Jaw tension/pain
- Jaw clicking/popping
- Jaw locking/sticking
- Earaches/ringing ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty chewing/swallowing
- Numbness/tingling in the hands and fingers
Another sign that you might have TMJ is if you’ve been receiving treatment for your neck pain that has proven ineffective. You should see a dentist if your have been given multiple different diagnoses about the cause of neck pain, but none fit all your symptoms.
Fortunately, if you do have TMJ there are a number of TMJ treatment options available.
If you would like to learn more about TMJ and the available treatments, please contact Columbus, Ohio, physiologic dentist Dr. Michael Firouzian.