One of the more obvious things that strikes me about tmj and the problems that people have with it is the variety of symptoms and the often inexplicable nature of them. Many of the strange symptoms are what characterizes the condition and more often than not confuses doctors. Doctors like specificity - acute conditions, things they can pinpoint and treat and cure. When you present with a collection of strange symptoms, non specific pain, pain that moves around theplace seemingly unrelated to anything, doctors get quite frustrated.
The real problem with tmj is that the joint sits at the heart of a delicate and hugely complex part of the body. Furthermore, the jaw absorbs and manages huge forces (mastication etc) and is close to the incredibly vital neurological stem that is the brain and spinal chord. The nerves, muscles and bones that form the cranium and neck are a minutely detailed anatomical region and many doctors have forgotten 90% of what they were taught. The cranial nerves branch off into all sorts of areas and espcially affect things such as balance and equilibrium. TIy fissures carry tiny nerves and blood vessels, miniscule ligaments affect even smaller nerves which in turn can have severe consequences when affected etc.
For example, the throat problems which many of us suffer from can be incredibly debilitating and severe. It seems hard to imagine that there is nothing wrong with the structures of the throat themselves, but usually there isn't. If a small problem does arise, the combination of the tmj symptoms and the real problem can be dreadful.
It is a weird thought that the trigeminalnerve - this thing is bloody crucial in so much of this! - provides sensation to the lining of the nose and throat! Anything that puts pressure on this nerve can stimulate alls orts of otehr symptoms.
Personally, I have looked into this a great deal and have chosen a particular path to a solution which is cranial osteopathy. I know people have trouble finding them in the US in particular (probably only because they might call themselves something different - after all, osteopathy is an American invention.
But at least, if you all do a bit of research on the web about the anatomy of the head and neck, you will begin to understand how the structures, tiny as they are, can have terrible affects. For example, I have been getting problems with the front/side of my throat. I had a pain at the top of my sternum, restricting my trachea and thus giving a sort of sore chest effect. This was the sternocleidomastoid muscle restricting the hyoid bone. My CO explained an exercise to me over the phone! I did it and it improved instantly. Such detailed knowledge and experience is rare in ordinary doctors.
So if you cannot find or afford an osteopath, then at least learn something of what they do becuase such knowledge will help you when discussing options and possibilities with your own doctors.
Of course those with severe degenrative changes to the joint need other treatments but for those with chronic but hard to pin down problems, it is always useful to know of the detailed anatomy that is at work here.
[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 12-22-2002).]
Wow Michael thank you I wonderd what the pains in my left collerbone were. You think it could be from the TMJD? I have had it so long I just think every new ache and pain is something new and not my TMJD. Has this condition caused you and anxiety or panic attacks yet? My Doc gave me ativan to take as needed if I feel one coming on I take 0.5mg and if it doesnt ease it up I take the other half making it 1mg. and thats usually helps it. Anyway back on topic I get this tenderness under my lower jaw between the bone and the neck it feels like a bruise from someone hitting me and the bone is kinda curved under. Its weird I have had this so long and after my insurance from the accident ran out 12 years ago I was told TMJ treatment was not covered and it was considered cosmetic ( the surgery) being as nieve as I am I suffered all this time with a splint I got back when things were covered and I found out just in September that it was covered. So now I am back recieving treatment. Do to an excessively long condyle I am being sent to Toronto because the specialist here cant handle it I guess. So next month I get to see what my options are for surgery and treatment. I have it in the left but they also said there is some wear on the right side too. Does anyone know if they still wire your jaw shut if you have surgery? I havent really been doing much reading on this but I am going to start this board is very informative and I see now just how many of us so suffer from this its nice to see I am not alone. My family knows I am in pain but now I can show them just how much by printing off information about this and the symptoms. Computers and this board are wonderful things. And so are the supportive people here.
The muscles of the neck are very layered and complex and the sternocleidomastoid is a particularly large one. It attaches to the top of the sternum near to the collarbone yes. And many of the muscles to the side and front of your neck are related in some way to the tmj - the neck and head and shoulder musculature is pretty much tied up together. Do you have throat problems too?
AS for panic attacks, I think that a condition which gives you constant pain and discomfort, coupled with other fears it may generate is likely to lead people to be anxious. When that anxiety gets too much we feed all sorts of other things into it. Especially if you feel that there is no way out of it. I think it would be normal to suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks. you are generally more susceptible to such things if you are under stress.
[This message has been edited by MichaelV (edited 12-22-2002).]