I had really bad muscle spasms and pain for many years in my face, neck, shoulders and upper back.
I saw a chiro for about a year, every week. He couldn't help me a whole lot with the spasms, but helped me improve my posture.
I started seeing a Theraputic Massage Therapist about 4 years ago. I had heard she worked with several TMJD patients and was very good. She is.
It took about a year of weekly appointments for her to get the "knots" worked out and the muscles to a point where they did not spasm back up between appts.
I know this sounds like a long time, but the muscles, from almost my waist up, had been in an awful condition for a long time. That seems to be the problem. Once the muscles have been in spasm, knotted, drawn, etc., for a long period, they want to tighten back up after a session of therapy. You just have to stay with it.
(After I had been seeing her for 6 months or so, she begin to think the knots in my upper back and one side of my neck were not going to respond and she referred me to one of her instructors. He was doing Craniosacral therapy. I had about 6 sessions with him. He also worked with TMJD surgicals and other severely injured people. He had not worked with anyone without articular disc and was very concerned about any movement, (even very little) to the cranial and temporal-mandibular area. I did like this type of therapy, but he told me the Massage Therapy would be better for me, it would just take some time.)
I went back to my original therapist and after a few more months, we finally started to see some progress. The muscles would stay in a more relaxed position for longer and longer periods.
She also worked on my face & head and I continued to see her at least every other week. 30 minutes for my face and if my upper back, neck, etc., seemed to be getting tense or tight, I would schedule a few hour long sessions to make sure I don't ever get in that mess again.
This took some time and money, but it was worth it. She managed to relieve constant muscle spasms and problems that I had for years and I had tried everything prior to seeing her.
My splint therapy has now relieved most of my TMJD symtoms, especially the muscle problems.
I am going to start seeing her again regularly for my lower back problems and see if she can help with it. I have some bad disc, but I know the muscles are adding to the pain and I know she can help.
I highly recommend this type of therapy for anyone with muscle problems. She is trained in most every type of massage and trigger point release and works with a lot of people with injuries and long term
I have to brag on her a little. Right after 9-11, she trained and was accepted into the AMTA MERT program. (American Massage Therapist Assoc.--Massage Emergency Response Team.) Therapists trained to go into disaster and emergency situations and treat people who are working around the clock and develope muscle problems, strain and fatigue.
To answer your original question, after many years of TMJD problems, surgical damage and bad treatments, I was left with awful muscular problems. I am now almost entirely free of muscular problems and most of the TMJD symtoms using Massage and Splint Therapy.
(I have heard others say and for me too, the ear problems usually take the longest to respond. I had a "Jet Engine Roar" constantly for over 2 years. I started Splint Therapy in Dec. 02. My Tinnitus level of noise dropped very rapidly, but I still have a slight hissing every few days, usually if I'm stressed or tense. This has helped me to understand, once muscular problems cause Tinnitus, the slightest bit of tension in the muscles will cause it to flare up again, as I had many days without any "T" at all. Now that I think about it, the "T" was pretty much gone until this lower back problem flared up in April and I have not had much luck with the treatments for it so far. It has caused a lot of pain, but also, a lot of stress.)
[This message has been edited by Cymy Sue (edited 09-10-2003).]