Did you know that approximately 80 percent of all people who have pain in their head have lost some of the normal curve of the upper spine in the neck area? These people may experience daily headaches, neck pain, vertigo (dizziness), and even ringing in the ears which are all common symptoms of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Most people would never suspect that the neck and jaw would be related, including many physicians and dentists, but they can directly affect each other causing discomfort or pain if they are out of balance. The latest research is showing that a bad neck position and poor posture can be one of the main causes of a TMJ disorder, and unless it is properly addressed, patients will continue to suffer. If you are someone who has either neck pain or jaw pain, or possibly both, it can be a “chicken or the egg” situation meaning which came first, the poor posture or the bad bite and jaw position. In most cases, it doesn’t matter because once symptoms start to occur; both the neck and the jaw are affected and need to be taken into consideration to give the patients relief.
Head position can have a large effect on the entire body, especially in the jaw and neck. In fact, if your head is positioned just slightly forward it is actually 10 times heavier than if it is properly aligned on top of your spine! Therefore, anything that causes a change in head position and neck curvature can lead to discomfort and pain.
If you have a posture that places your head in a forward or downward position you can be at a risk for a TMJ disorder or cervicogenic (neck-related) headaches. A cervicogenic headache is pain referred to the head from a source in the cervical spine. However, these symptoms from the neck could actually have been caused by a bad bite in the first place. What dental issues can cause a bad neck?
As shown in many studies, there is a very close relationship between the upper cervical spine and a person’s jaw posture. People may experience neck discomfort or they may experience headaches, jaw pain, ear ringing or even vertigo. The frustrating part for a patient is they are often unaware of the origin of these symptoms. If you have had any symptoms with your head and neck throughout your life, you should consider being evaluated in order to determine if you have a neck or jaw posture misalignment. Luckily, when properly identified, there are very predictable solutions to alleviate these pains.
Dr. Sutton is a board certified Chiropractor and the owner of Abundant Health Chiropractic 480-802-0797