TMJ dysfunction, commonly called TMD, is a condition that affects the health of the jaw joint (the TMJ). It afflicts millions of people across the U.S. Issues like a stressful lifestyle and dental problems are often to blame for TMD, but did you know that your posture could also contribute to it? Let’s discuss the connection between posture, bite alignment, and your TMJ.
Posture, Jaw Position, and Bite Alignment
When you are slumped over, this does more than affect how your back feels. It also puts your head in an improper position, which can in turn affect the positioning of your jaw. If your jaw is not where it should be, you may experience excess strain in your TMJ and soon begin to experience symptoms of TMD, including jaw pain, headaches, and earaches.
There is also evidence to suggest that the relationship between TMD and posture goes both ways. TMD can contribute to musculoskeletal misalignment throughout the body, increasing your risk of aches and pains from head to toe.
How to Correct Your Posture
When you are standing, your ears, hips, and feet should all be lined up. When you are sitting, your ears and hips should be aligned. If they are not, try bringing your shoulders back and lifting your chest. It can take a lot of practice to adopt proper posture, especially if you are in the habit of slumping, so do your best to keep yourself accountable. You could even ask a loved one to let you know when your posture falls out of alignment.
Here are some additional steps that might help to correct your posture:
- Exercise. Core exercises, as well as ones that promote body awareness (like Pilates and yoga), are particularly good for posture.
- Skip the high heels. High-heeled shoes adversely affect the way you hold yourself by throwing off your balance.
- Seek help if necessary. A chiropractor or physical therapist might be able to help you correct severe posture problems.
- Invest in good furniture. If you are working from home during the pandemic, an ergonomically designed desk and chair can do wonders for your posture.
Addressing Your TMD
Correcting your posture might improve your TMD symptoms, but you might find that you still struggle with a misaligned bite or other issues. It is possible that posture was not solely to blame for the problem. It would be wise to consult with a dentist who has been trained in how to diagnose and treat problems with the TMJ. You might require a specialized oral appliance, orthodontic treatment, or another type of therapy to improve your jaw health and oral health.
The human body is a complex creation, full of intricate connections. If you believe that your posture is affecting your jaw health or vice versa, seeking professional treatment could be the key to living a healthier, more comfortable life.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Keith Hollinger is a dentist with decades of experience in his field. He has completed advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMD. If you are concerned about the health of your jaw, he would be pleased to consult with you. Contact our office at 860-430-5687.