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TMJ and GERD: Understanding the Connection and Finding Relief

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are two distinct medical conditions that can cause significant discomfort for those suffering from them. However, what many people do not realize is that there is a strong connection between TMJ and GERD, meaning that the two conditions can often occur together. In this article, we’ll explore the connection between TMJ and GERD, and discuss some of the most effective ways to find relief for these conditions.

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It is also one of the most used joints in the body, and therefore, is often prone to injury and damage. When a person has TMJ, it means that they have a disorder in the joint and muscles around it, which can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, swelling, and difficulty chewing. TMJ can be caused by a variety of different factors, including injury, arthritis, and chronic stress or tension of the jaw muscles.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition in which stomach acid and other contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. This can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including heartburn, acid regurgitation, and trouble swallowing. In some cases, GERD can even cause problems with the larynx (voice box), leading to voice changes and chronic cough. GERD is often caused by a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle at the entrance to the stomach) or other related factors.

The Connection Between TMJ and GERD

As you can see, TMJ and GERD are two completely separate conditions with different causes and symptoms. However, research has shown that there is a strong connection between the two. The connection between TMJ and GERD is thought to be due to what is known as “the chewing triad,” which refers to the relationship between chewing, swallowing, and breathing. When there is a problem with one of these functions, it can put additional stress on the TMJ and larynx, thus increasing the likelihood of developing TMJ or GERD.

Treating TMJ and GERD to Find Relief

Both TMJ and GERD can be extremely uncomfortable, but the good news is that there are a number of treatments available to help relieve the symptoms of these conditions. In the case of TMJ, treatments can range from simple over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and physical therapy to more advanced treatment options such as oral appliances and even surgery. In the case of GERD, treatment typically depends on the severity of the condition but can range from lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications and weight loss to medications and even surgery in severe cases.

One thing that can help to relieve the symptoms of both TMJ and GERD is to practice good posture and relaxation techniques. Stress and tension in the jaw and throat muscles can exacerbate the symptoms of both conditions, so by practicing good posture and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, the symptoms of TMJ and GERD can often be alleviated.


It’s important for those suffering from TMJ and GERD to understand the connection between these two conditions, as their relationship can play a role in helping to relieve the symptoms of both. By understanding the connection between TMJ and GERD and learning about some of the most effective treatment options, those suffering from these conditions can find relief and improve their overall quality of life.