Neck and shoulder pain is a common complaint. Sometimes it seems like you can’t find a comfortable way to hold your head, and the pain in your shoulders is so severe you can’t lift your arms above your head. The pain may start in the morning and last all day, or it may slowly increase over the day. It often occurs for no discernible reason, or it may be a disproportionate response to a minor stimulus, like crippling pain after a day of working in the garden.
Inexplicable or disproportionate neck and shoulder pain may be related to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a serious misalignment of the jaw.
To learn whether your neck and shoulder pain is related to TMJ and can be relieved with neuromuscular treatment, please call (713) 668-2289 or email Dr. Ronald Konig to schedule a comprehensive exam today.
The Neck, Shoulders, and Jaw System
Our head balances delicately at the top of our spinal column, held in place by a complex configuration of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the jaw, neck, and shoulders. Every muscle has its role to play, but also depends on other muscles doing their jobs. When one muscle is not working, or is overworking, it increases stress on others, which can lead to muscle tension that moves from one group of muscles to another. Studies have shown that jaw alignment affects neck alignment, and misalignment of the neck is implicated in many disorders of the body, including tightness or pain in the shoulders and upper back. This pain may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the fingers or hand.
Misalignment of your jaw can led to chronic pain in the neck and upper shoulders, or it can make you predisposed toward neck and shoulder pain as a result of stress or an uncomfortable night’s sleep. If you suffer pain in the neck and shoulders on a daily basis, or if you find that the slightest thing sets off a pain attack, TMJ may be to blame.
TMJ Treatment for Neck and Shoulder Pain
Neuromuscular dentistry helps us understand and treat the sometimes very widespread symptoms of TMJ, including neck and shoulder pain. Our first goal is to relieve your pain, which we do by reducing tension through the use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). TENS relaxes your muscles and then determines your jaw’s optimal position using sophisticated techniques and diagnostic equipment. For some minor cases of TMJ, periodic treatment with TENS is all that is required.
If necessary, you will be fitted with an orthotic, a custom appliance that is adjusted to your optimal jaw position to help your joints heal and to get you comfortable as well. For most people, this treatment is effective, and you experience relief from all major TMJ symptoms.
For a few people, more significant treatment is necessary, including, orthodontic work, and bite reconstruction and rarely, surgery. Almost all TMJ treatment can be done non-surgically.
If you experience chronic or regular neck and shoulder pain, please contact the office of Ronald W. Konig, DDS, FAGD, LVIF by calling (713) 668-2289 for a full evaluation of your TMJ and discussion of possible neuromuscular dentistry treatments. We are pleased to serve patients in Katy, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and other nearby communities in the Houston area.