Sit Up Straight in Your Chair! The Connection Between Posture and TMD

“Sit up in your chair and don’t slouch!” Do you remember your mother admonishing you about your posture when you were a kid? She wasn’t just being a nag. Instead she was actually onto something. We now know there’s a definite link between one’s posture and symptoms of TMD.

badpostureThe reason is straight forward

As you probably already know by now, TMD is related to the joints of the jaw. And those joints are also connected to neck and shoulder joints. So it just makes sense that the posture of your head and neck make a difference with managing TMJ pain.  If you have poor posture in the shoulders and neck, you are creating an additional and unnecessary strain on the jaw joints. And this in turn can lead to discomfort and pain.

Posturing makes the difference

Having a healthy posture can play an important role in your treatment of TMD. All sorts of simple techniques are available to help improve your posture. Try the following:

Healthy Standing

First, find your center. Try standing with your feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your arms down at your sides. Gently arch your shoulders back, keeping them square. Keep your head and chin up.

Now stand with your back up against a wall. Make sure the back of your head, shoulders and buttocks are touching the wall. This is a very healthy standing posture. Observe how this feels. Now practice standing erect without a wall for support.

Standing is the new sitting

Most of us work on our bottoms. That is to say, we sit throughout most of the day, usually at a desk with a computer in front of us.  Your posture can greatly improve the more you get out of your chair.

So take breaks at the office. Ergonomic experts suggest that one standup and stretch every five minutes on the hour. Your boss won’t mind! Stretching and taking short breaks may actually improve your work performance.

The new office furniture

One of the newer ideas to improve posture involves the use of yoga balls. People are getting rid of their clunky office chairs and replacing them with bouncy yoga balls. Yoga balls are made of tough, durable plastic, which means they are both flexible and supportive. As reported in the New York Times in December 2013, yoga balls teach users about the importance of “active sitting.” People become more aware of their posture and tend to sit erect on yoga balls.  It also allows users to stretch their abdominal muscles, legs and abdomen.

And the benefits of yoga balls and better sitting are not just about lessening the symptoms of TMD.  Better posture may also help lower risks for diabetes, hypertension and cancer!

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