Postural implications related to cervical (neck) positioning have been demonstrated with TMJ disorders. Forward head posture and cervical spine positioning specifically are commonly demonstrated with jaw related problems. The cervical spine has an intimate connection between the masticatory system (clenching related muscles) and the cranium, as demonstrated through joint articulations, muscular attachments, vascular structures and neural innervations. Postural coordination between these structures is fundamental in ensuring the functionality of the system!
The aetiology of TMJ disorders is very multifactorial with various anatomical, joint positional, neuromuscular, and psychological influences. But despite many variables in the development of TMJ dysfunction, there is a particular correlation between cervical spine dysfunction and positioning and the development of TMJ disorder. In summary: abnormal head positioning and poor posture CAN influence the development of TMJ related pain. Understanding neutral postures and developing strength and awareness can be helpful in mitigating this early on and physio can play a particular role in teaching you how to implement these strategies early on and prevent pain in the future!
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