Sedation dentistry involves using medications to induce a state of extreme relaxation while you are having an oral procedure done. It does not make you unconscious, but it does significantly decrease your sensitivity to pain. It can also induce a state of short-term amnesia so that you have little memory of what happened during the…
How Poor Posture Contributes to TMJ Pain
It seems reasonable that a bad bite or teeth grinding and clenching are related to temporomandibular joint disorders, but many people are unaware that having poor posture can also contribute to TMJ pain. While there are often several factors that simultaneously cause TMD, a forward body position usually has some role in producing the patient’s jaw stiffness and facial pain associated with the disorder. Many people struggle with an incorrect posture due to an injury, muscle tension, technology use, stress or even their shoe choice. The resulting body alignment from these issues is related to TMD, but techniques for correcting poor posture can often help alleviate jaw pain and other related symptoms.
How body posture affects the jaw
Many people exhibit bad posture when sitting in a chair for long periods of time or looking down at a mobile device. While the spine is normally responsible for bearing the weight of the head when it is upright, slouching pushes the head forward and places the task of bearing its weight on the muscles of the neck and face. When hunched over, a person’s bite is pushed out of alignment as the lower jaw protrudes more than normal. This position also forces the condyles deeper into the sockets of the jaw. Spending extended periods of time in a forward head posture can lead to many recognized TMJ symptoms such as headaches, neck and shoulder discomfort, jaw stiffness and facial pain.
How to correct poor posture
If a detrimental body position aggravates a patient’s TMD, a focus on aligning the body and keeping the head in an upright position can help relieve symptoms. Discovering the root of postural issues is the first step in correcting the problem. Depending on the cause, several different remedies may help:
- Wear proper footwear: TMD is more common among women than men, and high heels may play a part. Overpronation and flat arches can cause poor posture, so picking comfortable shoes that offer arch support or using insoles may help.
- Adjust the seating arrangement: If a patient spends many hours during the day in a seated position, it is important that the chair and desk area are set up to promote ideal posture. Feet should be flat on the floor and the knees should be close to hip height. The back and rump should be touching the back of the chair or an added support cushion.
- Exercise and stretch: Weak muscles, excess tension and a curved spine can make it difficult to maintain a proper body position. Incorporating yoga and Pilates into a workout routine can help with spine alignment and building core strength. There are also several physical therapy exercises that can be done anywhere to help prevent poor posture.
Addressing poor posture can help patients take the weight of the head off their jaw, preventing stiffness and facial pain. There are several factors that can contribute to TMJ pain, so individuals who experience any discomfort should visit a dentist to rule out other possible causes of the condition.
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