Skip to content

Exploring the Intricate Link Between the Jaw and Pelvic Floor

By SaMone Jackson, OTR/L, CLT

In the realm of human anatomy, connections between seemingly unrelated body parts can hold profound implications for overall health. One such surprising link lies between the jaw and the pelvic floor – two distinct areas that, when considered together, shed light on the intricacies of our bodies and the importance of holistic wellness.

The Jaw: More Than Just a Chewing Mechanism

The jaw, often associated primarily with eating and speaking, plays a more profound role in the body’s overall well-being. Beyond its mechanical functions, the jaw is a key player in maintaining balance and stability throughout the body. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jaw to the skull, is a crucial junction point that can influence various bodily functions.

Issues such as teeth misalignment, clenching, or grinding can contribute to TMJ disorders, leading to symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, and even neck and shoulder tension. The intricate network of muscles and nerves in the jaw area is closely connected to the rest of the body, and disruptions in this region can have a ripple effect on overall posture and muscle function.

The Pelvic Floor: A Foundation for Stability

On the opposite end of the body, the pelvic floor represents another foundation for stability, albeit in a different context. Comprising a network of muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments, the pelvic floor provides crucial support to pelvic organs, aids in bowel and bladder control, and even contributes to sexual function. Issues such as pregnancy, childbirth, or sedentary lifestyles can impact the strength and flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles.

Surprisingly, the health of the pelvic floor is not isolated from the well-being of the jaw. Dysfunction in one area can influence the other, and understanding this connection offers valuable insights for addressing a range of physical issues.

The Connection Unveiled: The Jaw-Pelvic Floor Axis

Research in the field of physical therapy and holistic health has uncovered the existence of the “Jaw-Pelvic Floor Axis,” highlighting the interconnected relationship between these two seemingly distant regions of the body. Imbalances in the jaw can lead to compensatory changes in the pelvic floor and vice versa.

For instance, chronic jaw clenching may contribute to tension in the pelvic floor muscles, while pelvic floor dysfunction could manifest as discomfort or pain in the jaw. Physical therapists and healthcare professionals now recognize the importance of considering both areas in their assessments and treatment plans.

What does this mean? If you are experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, or even urinary frequency or leakage, and also subconsciously clench your jaw or have TMJ symptoms, both areas need to be addressed for all symptoms to truly resolve. A pelvic floor physical or occupational therapist who is capable of treating the body as a whole is the ideal medical professional.

The jaw and the pelvic floor are also connected by the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, an extensive nerve, establishes connections with the rear of the tongue, the vocal cords, and even the uterus! Frequently utilized to establish a connection with the brain, the vagus nerve aids in soothing both the mind and body. Being a part of the parasympathetic nervous system, it contributes to creating feelings of safety and connection.

Holistic Approaches to Wellness

Addressing issues related to the jaw and pelvic floor often involves a holistic approach that considers the body as an interconnected system. Practices such as pelvic floor therapy, physical/occupational therapy, yoga, and mindfulness techniques can help individuals become more aware of their body’s signals and promote overall balance. Practicing deep breathing, exercising your mouth and jaw through singing, humming, sighing and grunting and improving posture throughout the day are some ways to help improve relaxation and tension in the body.

In conclusion, the surprising connection between the jaw and pelvic floor serves as a reminder of the body’s intricate web of interdependence. Recognizing and addressing issues in one area can have positive effects on seemingly unrelated parts of the body. By embracing a holistic approach to wellness, individuals can unlock the potential for improved overall health and a better understanding of their body’s fascinating interconnectedness.

Magic City Physical Therapy

Holistic Care That Gets Results.

Pelvic Health, Lymphedema, & Orthopedic Physical Therapy for Every Body Across the Lifespan