Jaw Pain & Pelvic Pain- More connected than you think!
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
We know that the body functions as a unit, injury to the foot can affect your knee and hip and shoulder injury or pain can be the cause of headaches. But when we talk about pelvic floor and TMJ, there is a more peculiar relation between two. It goes to our embrological development in the womb.
So let's first explore the basics.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint as shown in the picture above. The way pelvic floor takes part in the most basic essential function of breathing as the base of the core, TMJ also takes part in basic essential function of jaw movement for swallowing, chewing, yawning and talking. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, joints, Temporomandibular Muscle (TMJ), and nerves that are associated with chronic facial pain.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
•Any bone pathology
•Disc dislocation(which can be due to above reasons)
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
•a clicking or popping sound originating from the jaw,
• difficulty opening the mouth,
•tenderness above & around the jaw
•ringing in the ears
So how are TMJ and pelvic pain connected?
•Posture: Both TMD and pelvic pain can be affected by factors such as our posture Slouching can cause your neck, jaw and pelvis to extend while prolonged sitting can lead to shortened muscles in the neck and hips. Even certain walking styles or patterns can cause these joints to be thrown out of whack. This can result in pain and tightness in the pelvis and could lead to joint dysfunctions throughout the body, especially in the jaw.
•Stress: Studies have shown that we tense our jaw muscles and pelvic muscles under stressful situations. When people are continually under stress or suffer from anxiety, constant clenching can lead to pain. In terms of pelvic floor, it can lead to pelvic pain and in terms of jaw it can lead to grinding, clenching, pain, clicking and even athritis of jaw in long term.
•Embryogenic & anatomic connection: During development, opening for jaw and opening for pelvic(urethra, rectal, reproductive) are next to each other and later on becomes that ends of spine. So if you think about it, jaw and pelvic floor are like the book ends of the spine The fascia that connects the jaw leads to pelvic floor. That is the reason, your pelvic floor is affected by high and low pitch voices.
What to do about it?
Step 1: Correct your posture
By becoming more aware of the way you walk, sit, lay down, workout, etc. you can slowly make changes to correct your posture. For example, if you find yourself slouching at your desk while working, take notice, and then take small steps to fix your position such as sitting up straighter, uncrossing your legs, making sure your back is properly supported, etc. The more you do this, the easier and more natural is will feel.
Step 2: Reduce stress and practice anxiety relief techniques
In today's world, it's no wonder everyone is stressed and anxiety disorders are at an all time high. However, chronic stress and anxiety wreak havoc on all aspects of the body from the brain to the stomach to the pelvic floor and much more. It's important to take measures to reduce your stress to help relieve stress inflammation and tension in the body. There are many different ways to do this including meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, physical activity, taking a nap, listening to music, going for a walk, reconnecting with others or nature, writing in a journal and much more. When it comes to stress relief, everyone is different. Do what makes you feel the most at peace and promotes healing and harmony throughout your body.
Step 3: Consult a PT
In addition to providing pelvic floor physical therapy, we also specialize in treating jaw pain disorders such as TMJ. If you are experiencing any of the TMJ symptoms below or if you've undergone rehab before & after Orthognathic, facial, oral or dental surgery, PT might just be the solution to your pain:
To determine if physical therapy is the right choice to treat your TMJ, click the button below.