The temporomandibular joint is the most complex joint in the human body, and it moves in a number of different ways, unlike any other joint. The hinge action of the TMJ allows movement of the two sides of the face, both forward and back and up and down. No other joint in the human body moves both horizontally and vertically. Because the TMJ is so complex, when something goes awry, a number of painful symptoms may develop. In addition to TMJ neck symptoms, you may also experience:
The focus here will be on how TMJ affects the neck.
TMJ and the Neck
Many people with neck pain will see their doctor and get a diagnosis of something involving the cervical spine, which is the part of the spine in the neck area. Oftentimes, however, neck symptoms are misdiagnosed. Many medical professionals do not look to the jaw to diagnose someone’s neck symptoms. For this reason, painful TMJ neck symptoms may go undiagnosed for months, if not years or decades.
For many people, TMJ dysfunction occurs when one or more of the muscles that keep the joint in place do not work properly. When it comes to the musculoskeletal system, muscle and joint movements do not take place in isolation, which means that misalignment of your temporomandibular joint can affect other muscles that influence the position of the TMJ, the position of your head, and the position of your neck and upper body. This is part of the reason dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint affects so many other areas of the head and body.
The muscle tension, muscle weakness, and muscle movement dysfunction that starts at the temporomandibular joint are transmitted to your neck, shoulders, upper back (the area referred to as the thoracic area), and even the lower back (the area referred to as the lumbosacral area).