Can your smartphone contribute to the development of temporomandibular joint disorder? Some say yes. Many individuals experience a condition known as "tech neck," where neck pain and poor posture develop from constantly looking down at a smartphone, tablet or other tech devices. Tech neck happens because the act of looking down adds between 10 and 60 pounds of extra weight and pressure on the head and cervical spine. Wow!
This weight can negatively impact the neck, back and shoulders. It can also affect your temporomandibular joints. This is because the temporomandibular joint connects to the cervical spine (the portion of the spine that is in the neck) through an intricate network of muscles. So, when the cervical spine is under stress or duress, so are your jaw joints.
This stress can cause temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJD or TMD.
You can reduce your risk of developing tech neck and TMJD by changing a few things — first, your posture when you're scrolling. Instead of looking down at your phone, hold your device at eye level. This immediately lowers the amount of pressure on your neck, cervical spine and your jaw joints.
But, sometimes, eye level is not possible or is not comfortable. Instead, take breaks from tech.
Yes, we said it. Avoid sitting on your phone or tablet for hours at a time. Get up, move around, stretch and focus on your posture when you're not on your device.
If you do notice pain, stiffness or noise around your jaw joint or other symptoms of TMJD, it's time to call Dr. Konig. Other symptoms of the condition include:
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Ringing in your ears
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
Beyond the Jaw
Limiting how much time you spend on your phone or other devices can also benefit other parts of the body. Some researchers have found that cutting time on tech can help the eyes, the sleep cycle and even the skin.
Are you experiencing jaw pain? It could be TMJD caused by poor posture. Give Dr. Ron Konig a call in Houston, Texas, today at 713-668-2289.