Acupuncturists understand how neck and upper back tension can lead to jaw problems: tense muscles, grinding teeth, or TMJ trouble. We can use that understanding to relieve the tension and the problems it causes.
Acupuncturists see sinew channels or 经筋 jingjin which are continuous bands of connected muscles. Many bodyworkers and physical therapists use a similar idea of myofascial chains or anatomy trains. This model explains how neck and upper back tension affects the muscles controlling the jaw and why easing the tension alleviates jaw problems.
It also explains why acupuncture points in the hand and foot can help.
Here’s one set of the connected muscles.
On the left the total connections, on the right the connected jaw muscles.
Here’s another set of connections:
Images from David Legge ‘Close to the Bone’ and Brian Lau ‘Anatomy of the Sinew Channels’
Main image “Illustration on Grinding your Teeth” by James Gayle Art.