TMJ and the Cause of Torticollis

As with many similar conditions, the causes of torticollis remain somewhat mysterious. It seems that there are many contributing factors, including genetics, adverse drug reactions, brain injury, or peripheral nerve injury. It can also be caused by abnormal overuse of a particular muscle or muscle group or by adverse stimulation of particular nerves associated with the overactive muscles.

The muscles and nerves of the jaw are closely intertwined with those of the neck. Stimulation of certain jaw nerves can trigger responses in the neck, and the muscles of the jaw and neck work both together and in opposition to move the jaw and maintain the posture of the neck. TMJ and related disorders of the jaw system can put pressure on nerves in the jaw, and it can lead to the inefficient working of the jaw muscles or overexertion, both of which increase demands on the neck muscles. As a result, TMJ might have a role in causing torticollis.

Illustration of a man with torticollis and the muscles affected by it.
Torticollis and the muscles affected by it

Oral Appliance Therapy for Torticollis

Whether TMJ plays a role in causing your torticollis or not, oral appliance therapy can address your symptoms. Your jaw muscles and neck muscles still work together, and increasing the efficiency of your jaw muscles, you can reduce demands on neck muscles. This means that weakened neck muscles find it easier to support your head and maintain balance. This can result in less neck pain, less back pain, less jaw pain, and fewer headaches.

Optimizing the position of your jaw encourages the neck muscles to resume a normal position, and can help move your cervical vertebrae into a more comfortable position. This helps you maintain normal posture without exerting extreme efforts.

The combination of less muscle stress and improved vertebrae position make it easier for torticollis sufferers to enjoy life. They often experience improved energy and are able to live life at the pace they want. They can engage in daily life better and can enjoy a full range of neck movements with little or no discomfort.

If you would like to learn whether an oral appliance can help your torticollis, please contact the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado by calling (303) 691-0267.