As we discussed in an earlier blog article, many people develop poor posture for one reason or another – sleep apnea (often undiagnosed), slouching over a desk, poor physical condition, etc. Whenever we treat patients for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD), their posture must be addressed. Simply by changing the position of a person’s head, the bite will change. Try it for yourself. Tap your teeth together while sitting or standing with your head level. Now, tap the same way with your head tilted back and notice how differently the teeth meet. Since a “bad” bite is the most common cause of TMD, the posture must first be “aligned” as we address the TMJ problem, and we do this using various techniques one of which will be highlighted in this article.
The simplest way that we employ to help correct the posture involves an exercise used to correct forward head position. You may have read our earlier article about “Upper Crossed Syndrome” in which the head and neck are angled forward giving the appearance of “hunching” over. Not only is this posture not proper for comfort and physiology reasons, but people who carry themselves this way look older and less attractive.
We ask our patients to address this posture problem while we are analyzing and treating their TMD problems by having them correct their hunching in this way: Make believe that there is a string coming out of the top of your head. Now see this string being pulled straight up so that you are being stretched taller. Just sit or stand straighter, not military-style with the shoulders back, but just longer. Finally, keeping your head level, tuck your chin back bringing your ears in line with your shoulders. This exercise may be done during the day to help correct an acquired poor posture, while, at the same time, helping you to look younger and more “conditioned.”
Here is a link to a great video which demonstrates this exercise: http://www.posturevideos.com/posture_video/forward-head-posture-correction/
If you have any questions about posture and TMD feel free to call us at 908.359.6655 or contact us via our website at www.DesignsForDental Health.com