Parts of the body affected by a jaw disorder
Do you have an aching neck and muscle soreness nearly every day? Does the pain from your neck seem to radiate down to your back and arm? Do you ever experience throbbing or ringing in your ears? Do you have daily jaw pain or facial muscle spasms? Believe it or not, these symptoms are common to millions of Americans suffering from a jaw disorder.
How can a jaw disorder affect your body?
Our body is an amazing jigsaw puzzle of intricate pieces of bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles that are connected to each other and, therefore, dependent on each other. Let’s look at the TM joint first.
This joint connects your upper and lower jaw together with a disc that is located just in front of each of your ears. This is what gives your jaw the freedom to move up and down while you chew, talk or yawn. There are additional muscles in your jaw and face that further stabilize your jaw movement, especially when you move it from side-to-side.
Any injury or dysfunction of your jaw joint also affects the jaw and facial muscles supporting your jaw. Therefore, it stands to reason, that any other related areas may also be affected. In fact, your entire body can be thrown out of balance by a jaw disorder.
Some lesser known body parts that can be affected by your jaw
Unlike problems with the jaw joint, facial muscles, teeth and migraines that we typically associate as a result of a joint disorder like TMJ, there are also some less obvious areas that may also be affected by a dysfunctional jaw joint. These body parts include:
• Ears: Earaches accompanied by popping, hissing or ringing in the ears. This is also known as tinnitus
• Neck: Gnawing, burning pain and muscle soreness in your neck
• Back: Back pain and muscle stiffness
• Arms: Radiating muscle pain in your arms
TMJ can be a complex disorder, both to understand and diagnose. Neuromuscular dentistry is a term used to describe a way of diagnosing and treating jaw disorders that takes into account the healthy function of your whole jaw; its bone structure, soft tissues and alignment.