What has my jaw to do

with my back pain?

An estimated 80% of Americans suffer from lower back and neck pain at least once in their lives. Doctors look at structural lesions, disc prolapses, inflammatory processes and more, but few remember to assess proper jaw alignment and bite function. Yes, the jaw influences your posture and your posture inflences your bite and jaw. If a misalignment is found in any area, pain syndromes and structural lesions can occur.

The pelvis, hips, atlas (1.neck vertebra) and jaw (bite) are closely interrelated. Studies suggest that the bite plays a key role in influencing posture and alignment. However, experience shows that the reverse is also true and improper posture influences the bite. Dysfunction in one area influences all the others. Treatment options should address the whole body with practioners working together to achieve optimal results. Dentists and osteopathic practitioners make a perfect team if it comes to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems which are accompanied by back pain, neck pain and headaches.

 

 


 

Pelvis and Jaw

If your pelvis is torqued, you may realize that one pant leg is longer than the other. A functional scoliosis, which ends in the cervical spine, results. The twisted spine unbalances the stomatognathic system (head, neck and jaw).

This mechanism also works in reverse, if your jaw is misaligned, the pelvis eventually adapts and becomes misaligned as well.

The body can integrate and compensate imbalances to a certain point. Eventually, often in times of high stress, the “glass overflows” and the bodies' compensatory forces are used up, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Head-Forward Posture

A very common finding these days is the so-called head-forward posture or "texting neck".  This posture does not only increase stress on the neck, but the jaw as well. Since the brain always wants the eyes to look forward, the head cocks back to level the eyes against the horizon. This makes the upper neck muscles and jaw muscles tight. The upper neck muscles are connected to the brain membranes and their increased tension places the entire nervous system in a heightened state of alert,

 

The brain also tries to pull the head back by using the jaw muscles. The longer the jaw muscles are trying to correct the un-physiologic head posture, the tighter they get. The stress on the jaw increases and over time, the lower jaw re-trudes backward and the mouth wants to hang open. The jaw retrusion causes the airway to get smaller and can lead to sleep apnea. 

Tongue Tie Surgery Frenuloplasty

Tongue tie surgery has long been known to be beneficial in infants to improve feeding difficulties. These days it becomes more and more popular for older children and adults as well. With increasing knowledge about the fascia system in our bodies, science is looking at the relationships of a tongue tie to problems throughout the body along the deep anterior fascia, which starts at the toes and ends at the tongue. It encompasses the psoas muscles, the diaphragm, lungs and mediastinum and ends in the tongue. By releasing a tongue tie, theoretically, all those systems can be influenced and tension can be decreased. Osteopathy is a valuable practice to accompany a tongue tie surgery.

Here is a link, to an article about osteopathy before and after tongue tie surgery.

Orthodontics

Proper alignment of the teeth and the bite depends on a correct relationship of the upper (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible). However, those two bones, are part of the whole craniofacial system. This means, that it is just as important, to look at the relationship of the jaw to the rest of the facial and skull bones. Osteopathy assists orthodontic correction by helping all the bones, muscles, and membranes of the skull to adjust to the orthodontic changes. It also balances the nervous system, which sometimes can become irritated by dental treatments because of the mere closeness of the mouth and jaw to the brain. Osteopathy can be a very valuable tool in preventing side effects from orthodontic treatments and decreasing the duration of the treatment.

Click here for more detailed information on the topic.

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