Bad posture is a pretty easy habit to fall into and a tough habit to break. Think about it: How much time are you spending hunched in front of a screen or a keyboard at work or just hanging out on the couch scrolling on your phone? Holding your body in these unnatural positions day in and day out over time can cause problems with your back, shoulders and neck. And add in the potential that your sleep position may be less than ideal and also causing pain and dysfunction in your body.
Your bad posture can also cause problems with your temporomandibular joints.
These joints, also known as the TMJs, can be affected by poor posture because poor posture can cause muscles to be stretched out of their natural position. When this happens, cartilage, tendons and ligaments get pulled out of place, too.
This can pull and tug on the rest of your body and cause significant alignment issues in the neck and shoulders, which can span up to your jaw and impact the TMJs.
When the TMJs are impacted by poor posture, you may experience pain, popping, stiffness and inflammation.
Achieving Proper Posture
So, are you stuck in the forever-slumped-over or hunched-neck position and doomed to a life of jaw pain and misalignment?
No, you can take a few simple steps to improve your posture to reduce the risk of stress on your TMJs.
First, pay attention to your posture. Are you sitting up straight at your desk, with your shoulders back and your feet on the floor? If not, you may need to adjust the height of your chair. Strive to keep your head back against the headrest and resist the temptation to tuck a leg under you.
Second, get moving. Stretching is an excellent way to combat poor posture ,especially after sitting all day at a desk. If you do sit behind a desk for long periods, you may want to get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour.
When you're taking a lap around the office or parking garage, think about your posture. Keep your back straight, head up and your shoulders back. It may help to imagine you are walking with a book on your head to help keep your spine in alignment and prevent slouching.
Are you living with the pain of temporomandibular joint disorder? Dr. Sean Endsley in Waco, Texas, can help. Schedule an appointment for a consultation today at 254-294-5274.