Bad posture: It affects many people, especially with so many of us reliant upon computers to do our work. It has in fact become so prevalent that a new phrase has been coined to describe it. Known as “tech neck,” it occurs because we are constantly hunched over computers, smartphones or tablets, and it’s wrecking not just our posture, but also our bodies as a whole.
Bad posture doesn’t just look bad – it can be painful, too. In fact, it can damage your heart and lungs by putting pressure on the rib cage. It can also cause another painful condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Dr. Kelley Mingus is a dentist in Bend, Oregon. He treats temporomandibular joint dysfunction in his clinic. He says the connection between temporomandibular joint dysfunction and poor posture is all about pressure.
“When we have poor posture, we can put excess pressure on the jaw,” says Mingus. “This can occur when pain causes us to tense up, which might cause us to clench the jaw and cause a misalignment of the jaw. This in turn can cause temporomandibular jaw dysfunction.”
Worse yet, according to Mingus, the pain from temporomandibular joint dysfunction can in turn worsen posture due to pain in the head, neck, back and shoulders.
“It becomes a very vicious pain cycle,” he says.
Other causes of temporomandibular joint dysfunction can also affect posture, says Mingus.
“The causes of temporomandibular joint dysfunction can include jaw injury and even genetics,” he says. That’s because any misalignment of the jaw, whether it be by external force or simply how we’re built, can be enough to alter posture.
The good news, according to Mingus, is that there’s a way to treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction that can both help alleviate pain and even help you correct your bad posture.
“At my clinic, we use a process called epigenetic dentistry,” Mingus says. “This procedure stimulates cell growth and actually helps to grow the jaw, which can in turn help enable it to be realigned.”
Epigenetic dentistry is used in tandem with other treatment options, such as orthodontics.
“Once you have completed your epigenetic dentistry treatment, it’s important to put conditions into place that enable the jaw to stay aligned, such as orthodontic treatment,” Mingus says.
That’s because without a proper bite, the teeth can still cause difficulty chewing and speaking, putting more tension on the jaw.
“The body, including the mouth, is a very connected system,” says Mingus. “What happens in the mouth doesn’t just stay in the mouth.”