TMJ & Forward Head Posture

     Hey guys!  The month of May has been a fabulous, crazy, fast month for me, hence my lack of posts the previous couple of weeks.  I want to thank everyone who helped with the grand opening party and came out to support us.  You are all amazing, and I am so grateful to have you in my life!  For future reference, if I ever take off and leave you guys without prompts, you can always visit my Pinterest for stretches, exercises, health tips, etc.

     This week I'm going to cover a bit about the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), TMD (temporomandibular disorders), and what role forward head posture has in the mix.

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ/TMD) are the symptoms of tension or injury to the chewing muscles and joints connecting your jaw (mandible) to your skull.

Here you can see the superficial muscles (the masseter and temporalis), a cut away to view the deep muscles (the pterygoids), and where the muscles insert on the mandible (jaw bone).
(You can view a larger version of this picture here!)

Elevation of the Mandible                                                     Muscles Responsible
 Masseter, Temporalis, Medial Pterygoid
Retraction of the Mandible
Protraction of the Mandible
Medial & Lateral Pterygoid
Lateral Deviation of the Mandible
Medial & Lateral Pterygoid

And here is how forward head posture can pull your entire spine out of alignment:
Watch this video- It's a great link on how to work with TMJ pain with Erik Dalton.  He explains a few different muscles I haven't covered yet, but goes into greater detail with forward head posture and TMJ/neck pain.

To put it simply, when your head moves forward from slumping over your desk all day, the muscles attaching to your jaw become shortened, retracting your jaw (see the yellow circle above.)  Clenching/grinding your teeth tightens these muscles as well.  Your jaw gets pulled into this area, creating tension and pain due to limited range of motion in your temporomandibular joint.  You can perform self massage in or outside of your mouth to release some of these muscles, as well as along your temples and behind your ears.

Here are some TMJ trigger points and pain patterns.  You can apply pressure to the black X areas while gently, slowly opening and closing your mouth.  Repeat 10 times.

Masseter:                                                            Temporalis:
You can also use a wine cork to relax your jaw by placing it between your teeth.  Relax and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

To relieve forward head posture, you can turn your head to the left and feel your right SCM pop up.  Gently pinch it between your pointer and thumb on these black X areas and slowly tilt your head back as far as you are comfortable with.  Hold each for 10 seconds and release.

You can also place the tips of your fingers on the insertions (at the inside edge of your collarbones) and gently tilt your head backwards to stretch these guys!

And I'll leave you with this.  Have a wonderful weekend!!!