TMJ and Neck Pain: How Do They Relate?

Screaming Jaw PainMuscles in the human body intertwine into a complicated tapestry. When you are in excellent health, your body parts work in harmony and function at optimal levels. Unfortunately, sometimes one health condition can extend into causing symptoms in other parts of your body, making diagnosis a bit elusive. Take temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) as an example. Amongst the unpleasant elements of this jaw joint condition are uncomfortable aches and pains from your head to your back, and potentially everywhere in between.

TMD Basics

Craniomandibular Dysfunction describes a cluster of symptoms which present when the jaw joints and chewing muscles aren’t working correctly. Many people refer to this condition as TMJ, but that is technically the acronym assigned to the temporomandibular joints themselves. The TMJs connect your jaw to your skull. If you hear or feel a clicking, popping, discomfort, or downright pain in your jaw joints, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The muscles and nerves the mouth and jaw are extremely complex and can cause spasms and pain far beyond the generalized area.

TMD and Neck Pain

Your jaw muscles run from ear-to-ear. They even interact with muscles in your neck. Neck muscles have the important job of holding your spine in alignment. So it’s no surprise that jaw distress can easily lead to a feeling of discomfort in your neck and shoulders. As your jaw muscles (responsible for the huge job of opening and closing your mouth properly, including speaking and chewing) end up working overtime, they can become greatly fatigued. At this point, pain may radiate down your neck and into your shoulders and upper back. Any unexplained pain in your shoulders or neck may very well trace back to your TMJs.

Visit your Katy, TX Dentist

Are you concerned that you might be experiencing TMJ issues? Don’t grit your teeth; take action. Dr. Colin Lathrop is an experienced and widely respected family dentist serving patients in the 77494 area. Patients can contact Dr. Lathrop at 832-437-3849 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.