TMJ Neck Pain Calgary

TMJ Neck Pain

calgary tmj neck pain

Can TMJ cause neck and shoulder pain?

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Your neck, back and shoulder muscles work as a team. Seldom does a single muscle work without other muscles balancing or stabilizing its function.

Often, overworked muscles will recruit additional muscles to help out. This is known as muscle recruitment. And it can lead to structural stain up and down the body.


Strained head and neck muscles affect posture

  • An aligned head and neck is important for a proper spinal column alignment.
  • Muscle tension of the jaw along with a malocclusion (bad bite) can shift the head’s balance on the neck vertebrae.
  • To compensate, the top of the spine begins to buckle or twist.
  • Postural Distortion develops as the shoulders and hips begin to tip under the complex muscle strain and creates a variety of different outcomes.


Head and neck muscles are involved in turning the head, eating, breathing and talking. Overworked jaw muscles can affect the neck muscles that support your head. It can affect those muscles and structures that assist the shoulders and back too. The recruitment of other muscles can end in an imbalance, and result in strain and pain.

The Atlas and Axis (top two neck vertebrae) are intimately involved with these muscle functions:

  • biting
  • talking
  • chewing
  • breathing
  • head posture


Sore, strained and fatigued muscles of the jaw can create posture accommodation that tilts the head and shoulders. This causes overcompensation of the neck, shoulder and back muscles.

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Jaw muscle pain and your TMJ

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When even a single jaw, neck or shoulder muscle becomes fatigued – other muscles are forced to compensate to keep the head balanced on top of your spinal column. Your newly overworked muscles become strained, sore and tender – making them uncomfortable in your neck, shoulders and back.

How painful is TMJ neck pain?

Neck Pain can create constant headaches at the back of the head. Pain is often referred to behind the eyes and on the forehead. Neck pain can reduce how you function by limiting head and neck movements. Muscle pain of the neck can even affect how you stand and how your hips, knees, and feet function.

What Helps TMJ Neck Pain?

When you have malocclusion creating a TMJ Disorder, your misaligned bite causes a ripple effect throughout all these regions and it results in pain and strain throughout the top half of your body. Correcting or balancing your bite so that your muscles can function properly and without additional strain can be the difference between living with muscle discomfort or with relaxed, properly functioning muscles.


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TMD pain – How your bite can cause back pain

TMJ neck pain Calgary

A “bad bite” (what dentists refer to as a malocclusion) often causes an imbalance in the jaw-to-skull relationship, which in turn twists the jaw into a strained position that creates pain to the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back.

Pain can occur in the upper back as well as the lower back.

Muscles work as a team. The vertebrae in the neck, especially the upper two vertebrae called the Atlas and Axis, are intimately involved with the muscles for chewing, biting, talking, breathing, and head posture. Sore, tight, contracted muscles of the jaw may tilt the head and shoulders causing compensation from neck, shoulder and back muscles and neck and back vertebrae.

The bones, joints, muscles, and nerves in the face and neck have a complex relationship. They work to correct the bite, relieving strain on the jaw and the surrounding muscles. A Calgary General Dentist who provides TMJ treatment,  may choose to take a neuromuscular (physiologic or balanced) approach to providing improved balance to their patient’s occlusion. This can be one of many TMJ Disorder treatment options for their patients.


Unbalanced posture

Unbalanced posture that may cause back pain can also affect the head and neck alignment and even the way the teeth occlude (close together). Standing, walking or sitting in an uneven position can cause the jaw muscles to be unbalanced – the surrounding structures may experience signs of stress, including pain, swelling and discomfort.

Because the jaw muscles work with other head and neck muscles, symptoms of jaw distress may surface in the head, neck, shoulders. Neck pain symptoms can be a common sign of a dental malocclusion causing TMD as the neck muscles become overworked and fatigued trying to balance the head posture being thrown off by stressed/fatigued bite muscles.


How can you relieve my pain?

As a dentist, we are not able to treat necks. Fortunately there are Upper Cervical Chiropractors that we can work with to assess problems and provide support.

We do  not just collaborate in TMJ care, but ‘Integrate in TMJ care’  to help provide the best bite at the best head/neck alignment.

Once the bite realigns, pain in many areas of the body may disappear. Book a consultation with us if you think you have a TMJ Disorder problem because we provide the best TMJ Pain Treatment in Calgary.

Learn how relieving neck, shoulder, and back pain can improve your well being. Serious issues prevented by treating TMJ disorders early is important for your health and TMJ Neck pain in Calgary.