• Judy Rossi PT, DPT, PHC

What does my JAW have to do with my PELVIS?

Although I specialize in treating pelvic floor issues, I have noticed over the years that many pelvic pain patients also complain of jaw and neck pain. The reasons for this are pretty interesting.

During embryological development, two dimples form on the sides of the embryo. One dimple becomes the mouth and the other becomes the openings of the urinary, reproductive and digestive tracts. Then the spine grows between them.

Another connection is the fact that people tend to carry stress in both the jaw and the pelvis. When we’re stressed, we may clench our jaw, grind our teeth, tense up the pelvic floor, squeeze our butt cheeks together and tighten our abdominal wall. There is also a close connection between tightness/tension in the jaw muscles and the neck muscles.

Yet another connection is a fascial one. Fascia is connective tissue that connects to every organ, muscle, bone, organ and blood vessel. There is a fascial line known as the Deep Frontal Line that connects the muscles of the muscles in the pelvis to the muscles of the jaw and neck. This is why when I treat patients with pelvic pain, I work on that fascial structure all the way from the pelvis to the neck. Lack of mobility anywhere in that connection can adversely affect the pelvic floor. The mid back, or thoracic spine, is prone to becoming more stiff as we age, and since that Deep Frontal Line runs right through that area, another primary focus of therapy is improving thoracic mobility.

Another connection is the craniosacral connection. The cranium (head) is connected to the sacrum, which is the back of the pelvis, through the dural tube. The dural tube is made up of the dura mater that contains the brain, spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid. Because they are connected, imbalances at one end can affect the other end.

Managing pelvic pain is more than simply treating the pelvic floor. This information makes it even more clear that this is the case. To treat pelvic floor dysfunction, you need a physical therapist who will look BOTH outside and inside the pelvis, and address ALL of the contributing factors to your symptoms.

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