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What does a tight jaw have to do with back pain?

It may seem odd that when you come in with back pain, we ask you questions such as “do you grind or clench your teeth?”

BruxNeckPainStay with me, there is a very good reason.


When you tense up the jaw, it fires up many more motor units in your brain – so basically clenching your teeth increases the tension everywhere else in your body. You may have been asked to grit your teeth and squeeze your hands together to get a stronger response if your doctor is testing your reflexes. The same mechanism is at play when you spend the night grinding your teeth, or the day clenching your teeth when concentrating.

We have had a lot of success decreasing tension in the back by teaching clients to release the tension in their jaw.

Try this:

  • Gently massage your jaw in small circular movements – notice if there is any tension there
  • See if you can relax your jaw, even giving it a gentle wriggle side to side
  • If you have managed to release some jaw tension, try repeating the process until you feel it is much more relaxed
  • Try doing this a few times throughout the day, and before you go to sleep
If you would like to find out if your tight jaw might be an issue, book in to see one of our physiotherapists on 93997399. We use a combination of hands on treatment and exercise to help you relax.

-Blog by Alla Melman 25th Oct

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