How Back and Neck Pain May Be Connected to Your Jaw

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By Dr. Scott Colasanti
Published on October 25, 2013

Lady holding jaw sculpture“Your back bone is connected to your…….jaw bone”?

There is an important relationship between certain parts of the body and other parts of the body.  For example, if you sprain your ankle and find yourself limping, body parts such as your knees and hips may be affected because they have to compensate for the abnormal biomechanics of your walk (or medically speaking, your gait).

When it comes to your upper back and neck muscles, you might be surprised to find a connection to your jaw. In fact, an often-overlooked part of the body is the temporomandibular joint or simply the TMJ. This is essentially your jaw joint: a hinge-like structure that connects the lower and upper jaws. The TMJ allows us to chew and swallow our food and talk, among other things. The importance of this little joint can often be overlooked.

Sore Upper Back and TMJ

There is an integral relationship between our neck and upper back muscles and TMJ. Basically, when we use our jaw, our jaw and neck muscle fire simultaneously and vice versa. Therefore poor sitting posture, such as a ‘head forward posture’ or slouching will negatively impact our TMJ biomechanics and may give rise to a sore upper back.

Neck Pain and TMJ

Neck pain and TMJ are also related and may in turn be connected to other problems, such as headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sinus problems, and snoring. Health care professionals often overlook the importance and the integral role that the TMJ has on our body. If you are experiencing upper back aches or a sore neck, remember this important lesson on body biomechanics and how your back and neck pain may be related to TMJ.

TMJ and Upper Back Pain Relief

Often, as is the case with sore upper backs and neck pain, TMJ can be helped with chiropractic manipulations, acupuncture, and LASER therapies. A treatment plan designed with your dentist may also help relieve TMJ and your back and neck pain.

3 thoughts on “How Back and Neck Pain May Be Connected to Your Jaw

  1. When experiencing pain the neck area, there’s a lot of possible alternative treatments. These are good, but also look at performing yoga and other natural neck exercises. provides a lot of information on this topic.

  2. I have false teeth the dentist told I have tmj head hurts when I wear them to long chewing hurts this can be adjusted yes

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