Yes, you heard me right. Tight jaw = tight hips.
Because everything’s connected.
I say that not in any new-age sense but just as a statement of fact. We have all sorts of connective tissues in our bodies, blood being one, but the one that’s most likely to be responsible for the jaw-hip connection is fascia, those slinky sheaths that encase our muscles and organs, both keeping them separated and linking them together.
It’s because of fascia that a knee injury can result in a sore shoulder.
True story, that’s what happened to me when I busted my knee last year: the knee is quite well recovered although I haven’t QUITE regained all my lateral hip strength yet, but I STILL have tightness and discomfort in the shoulder on that side. Physio says it’s fascia. I believe him.
Basically they took a group of people with complex regional pain syndrome, and a control group with no pain, and tested the following things:
- Hip range of motion (ROM) without any interference
- Hip ROM after myofascial release on the TMJ (temperomandibular joint, a.k.a. JAW)
- Hip ROM after 90 seconds of jaw clenching.
In all cases hip range was GREATEST after the mysofascial release of the jaw and LEAST after the clenching!
If that’s what 90 seconds does, it’s scary to think what a whole day or a lifetime habit of jaw clenching does!
It’s a tough one though because jaw clenching is something most of us do when we are concentrating on other things.
But you can, with attention and patience, change that situation.
Firstly, doing neck and shoulder stretches as often through the day as you can. These are good plus then you can laugh at my crazy hair.
Secondly, every time you catch yourself pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth, relax it. With enough practice, it’ll get easier, promise!
In our health as with life, we are never looking for perfection, just positive change. That’s enough to improve your quality of life.