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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:49 PM   #1
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Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

my family doc diagnosed me with a TMJ disorder 2 weeks ago.

My questions about it....

Is it possible to have pain in back of head and neck from TMJ? I also have pain in many other places of my head.

I have pain in my face and in front of my ears and in my head and neck every day. I cant explain how BAD it is. It drives me up a wall. I have throbbing pain in my cheeks and pain in my teeth. I also have pops that happen in front of my ears.

I dont think I grind at night because when I wake up my jaws arent sore or I hardly have any pain. So is all a dentist can do is give you something to stop the grinding? He cant help you any other way?

o my God......i just dont know if i can believe that the pain I have every day every hour in my head and neck and jaw and face and teeth and ears are from tmj. Just cause theres so much that goes on every day..

thanks

 
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:01 PM   #2
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Yes, you can have pain in all those places with TMJ. Did you look at the list of symptoms on top of this page? Sometimes physical therapy helps, as well as massage and/or Acupuncture. Splint therapy helped me a lot, but it took time. Muscle relaxers help too. Hope everything works out for you. Good luck.

 
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:56 PM   #3
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

what are some muscle relaxers?

 
Old 01-05-2006, 06:12 AM   #4
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Before you start on muscle relaxers, you should have an mri and find out what type of tmj disorder you have. Your pain can be caused from muscular tmj or your joint itself can be out of wack. Your bite can be off also. This is just the tip of the iceberg. My discs were out of place and everytime I opened my mouth the ball and socket of the joint crunched into my discs. No amount of muscle relaxers ever could have fixed that. So, find out what exactly is going on before you start treating it. I'm very sorry you have been diagnosed with this. It's tough to live with, but lots of people have managed for decades with the disorder. Good luck to you.
Tandy

 
Old 01-05-2006, 07:46 AM   #5
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Hi tandy! I was wondering how you've been doing......I haven't been on the boards in a long time, but just had a chance at work to take a break and check the TMJ site.

You're right about living with TMD for decades, and having to learn to deal with it. As for the initial poster, how was your TMD diagnosed? Just based on your symptoms? Was an MRI or tomogram done to actually look at the joints or alignment of teeth and mandible to maxilla? Don't just automatically start on muscle relaxers until you find out if your TMD is muscular or joint related. Like tandy, my TMD has been a chronic condition for about 20 years, and over time, I have sustained major joint derangement, muscular related pains, and even bone loss due to the misalignment of the mandible and maxilla. For me, popping sounds were replaced by actual crunchy, grinding noises due to bone on bone rubbing.

If you are recently diagnosed and haven't been having symptoms for all that long, you may only need sporadic treatment involving physical therapy, anti-inflamatories and/or muscle relaxers, massage and other means of relaxing constricted muscles. But if you have a chronic condition with symptoms lasting for several years, your course of treatment may be longer and much more involved. Once again, you need to find out what is causing your TMD because there are many factors that contribute to your symptoms. But the pain you describe and the popping are very common complaints of TMD.

Unfortunately, due to lack of insurance coverage many years ago, I couldn't get treatment for my TMD until 2003. I wore an upper splint 24/7 for 14 months, went through PT, am on medication as needed, and once the splint realigned my mandible/maxilla and pain symptoms were gone, I have moved on to Phase 2 with braces for 3 years. I'm now starting year 2 of braces. Probably toward the end of this year, I will undergo oral surgery to realign the maxilla/mandible and close my open bite. After the 3rd year of braces, I don't know where I'll be with treatment. Over the course of splint treatment and now orthodontia, I will have spent $15,000!!!!. And that figure doesn't even include the oral surgery. Fortunately, my insurance has been pretty good about reimbursement, so I'm doing ok financially. But I write all this, not to sound like a whiner, but to reinforce the necessity of finding out exactly what problems - joint or muscular or both, are causing your symptoms. You cannot receive proper and appropriate treatment without knowing what's contributing to your symptoms. And unfortunately, I have read too many sad stories on this board about people not receiving correct TMD treatment and suffering even more.

So your treatment may be short-term or for a long time - it all depends on the type of treatment you need. Good luck and keep us posted.

Katie G

 
Old 01-05-2006, 10:47 AM   #6
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

grr,

I have only been up for 30 mins and already it sux. I have bad neck pain and I have pain in the right side of my face/mouth...the pain on the right side is worse when I blow my nose...ugh...I also have daily congestion and allergies so that makes my head ****in worse..

 
Old 01-06-2006, 09:19 PM   #7
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I CANT DO THIS!! no hope...im only 19 yrs old..

i cant do this anymore. evry day im at work i feel like HELL. The pain and weird feelings in my head and neck and stuff makes me wanna quit.[Removed] With some of the symptoms I feel it makes me feel like there is no hope or help for me. Some of the symptoms are so weird it makes me think that i have a disease and not tmj. I have weird feelings in my head and then today i had pain from my neck into my shoulders and into my arms and back. Ive had bad neck pain for last few days. OMG. Is it even possible to have unexplainable feelings in your body from TMJ?

Im going to my dentist on January 16 for a checkup and clean. I plan to mention my TMJ to him. I also printed that page of symptoms off and I checked with a pen each symptom that I experience to show him.



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Last edited by Well-come; 01-07-2006 at 11:28 PM.

 
Old 01-06-2006, 11:21 PM   #8
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Kevinader...

Oh my... about 2 years ago I had some crazy things going on my life..i had these things/feelings in my head.. everyone thought i was nuts!! I had a brain scan it got soo bad..i would get this burning sensation and a sore scalp..sometimes i'd get funny tastes in my mouth..i just knew i was dying.. turns out lots of my syptoms paired up with TMJ and i just found out I had this only 5 mos. ago. I mean this tmj stuff has all types of symptoms. I know that it seems strange..but Im learning to question everything. I"m also with nausea a lot often and eye pain...its nuts, but hang in there.

 
Old 01-07-2006, 06:35 AM   #9
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

It will get better! You will eventually learn some sort of pain managment that works for you. Please, just hang in there. Everyone here knows how you feel. I will keep you in my prayers!

 
Old 01-07-2006, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

What make it worse is for the last 2 years ive had bad health probs. Like really weird symptoms. I used to have stomach probs every day. I have lots of weird feelings and weakness and people have told me on a board that its from anxiety. Havent had my normal body in since september of 03. I MISS IT! So ya,tmj is only the tip of the iceberg. I have had not so bad days though. The last 4-5 months have been the worst though. Compared to last year....

 
Old 01-14-2006, 02:55 PM   #11
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

This message is for Katie G. Katie, you seem very knowledgeable on specific TMJ diagnoses and treatments, and I was wondering if you could give me some advice. Here's a quick summary of my case:

Most of my TMJ pain occurs upon waking in the morning. I'm a nighttime clencher--about three days out of the week I wake up knowing my day will be filled with a steady headache, pain in my neck and upper back, and general disarray. The other four days tend to be headache-free, making me feel like a different, healthier person.

This has been going on for about four years. I had a basic bite spint made for me two years ago, which I wear every night. I had a TMJ specialist mend me a specialized mouthguard that let my front teeth touch but not my back (that didn't work; he was befuddled). I went through a sleep study to see if I had any sleeping disorders other than bruxism (answer was no). Currently, a combination of a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory (like Advil only less harsh on my stomach) has provided me with a slighty more stable life.

But next September I'm going to start teaching in a public school, and really need to be healthy every morning (no more of this I'm-in-college-so-i'll-sleep-in attitude). So I'm debating what treatment to pursue. My pain doctor who put me on the m. relaxers told me that I could benefit from two months of injection therapy (stereoid-esque injections in my back), but I'm skeptical. I was wondering if you had any advice from where I could go from here, if you have any sense of what type of TMJ I suffer from, etc. I have yet to see a doctor who believes the therapy that it sounds like you've gotten, which is jaw alignment/braces (?), to be a solution--but maybe that's the way I should go.

Sorry this is so wordy! Help me!
~adam

 
Old 01-16-2006, 07:02 AM   #12
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Smile Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Hi Adam and so sorry for your troubles with TMD. I have no real great advice for you except to find a dentist, or orthodontis who knows, I mean really knows/understands, TMD and all possible treatments. The problem with TMD is that you MUST have diagnostic procedures completed, e.g. tomograms or MRI, and a thorough exam of facial symmetry, bite alignment, tooth alignment, and checking for obvious problems of limitations in oral opening, popping, etc. and other jaw noises during opening/closing, range of motion for the mandible, and of course, discussion about pain/activity limitations related to TMD. Without a thorough and complete work-up, you will never find the proper treatment. Veterens like me have suffered with TMD for many, many years without being able to find the right treatment. The medical professional you find must determine if your TMD is muscular or joint-related (or both, as in my case). Your specialist needs to obtain a complete background medical history, and find out if you suffered any facial or jaw injuries in the past leading to your problem.

I would never presume to say that my course of treatment - 14 months of an upper splint 24/7, followed by my current 3 years of braces, with oral surgery sometime this year - is the correct course for everyone. Each case is different. My treatment has seemed to work well for me because my jaw opening has increased, and my pain levels are minimal now. But I too, had pain in the face, head, neck, back, shoulders, etc. like you - all from TMD. So in addition to the medication I've mentioned, and close follow-up from my orthodontist (who has been through the TMD treatment himself, and therefore, understands TMD treatment firsthand), I've also been through physical therapy and I still get monthly massages of the upper body.

Stress, fatigue, poor posture, and incorrect alignment of the jaw & teeth will continue to contribute to your problems, even with treatment. TMD treatment can be a long-term situation and I wish you well in finding the right course of treatment for you. I encourage you to seek out professionals who are truly knowledgeable about TMD, and keep looking until you find the right one. Do not automatically assume that braces or surgery are the first course of treatment. I used to wear a night splint too, but over time, I needed much more than just that. I have been receiving TMD treatment since 2003, and can honestly say that I have not had my morning headaches in over a year. What a great feeling it is to get through days without pain! Sometimes, I still get pains, but they are manageable now.

I wish you well, and keep us posted on your progress!
Katie G

 
Old 01-16-2006, 02:16 PM   #13
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Katie G:

I wonder if you could elaborate a little more on what a TMJ dentist does to check bite alignment (different from a regular dentist) and facial asymmetry etc.

I did successful splint therapy last year, then made a mistake (as too many of us have) in selecting a dentist for Phase II. In a nutshell, he made my bite much much worse. I talked to a specialist who was way too expensive and finally a very kind general dentist made some minor bite changes, enough to allow me to eat soft food and be at least semi-functional again. But now that the holidays are over, I know I need to look again for a dentist who knows his stuff to do further work. One thing that came out of the tests with the specialist last fall is that my right condyle is smaller than my left and sits farther forward in my skull. This isn't the result of an injury or anything, it's facial asymmetry that I was born with, and we're talking the usually millimeter or so, but it makes a difference in my bite and I want to find someone who knows to take that into consideration. So, since you've been through it, I wonder if you could describe what they look for so I know what tests etc. to ask about when I talk to more dentists. Many, many thanks!

Marylander

 
Old 01-17-2006, 09:45 AM   #14
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Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

im worried about going to this orthoedontist..he wanted to break my aunts jaw and she went elsewhere..

 
Old 01-18-2006, 09:15 AM   #15
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Smile Re: Diagnosed with TMj.. :( treatable?

Hi Marylander. I'll try to answer your questions based on my experience with my orthodontist. I just think he's awesome because he's actually gone through TMD treatment himself, Phases 1 & 2, along with oral surgery. He continues to obtain continuing education on TMD, and even teaches at one of the dental/orthodontic schools here in MI.

Anyway, my ortho uses some kind of ruler like/compass like thing to measure mm of oral opening at its maximum. He asks you to move your mandible in certain positions and watches the range of motion and symmetry of motion for moving side to side, up/down, etc. He also took measurements of eye space, and temple to jaw measurements. He puts a stethoscope on the jaw joints and listens for popping, snapping, rubbing noises. He uses tomograms to look at mandible/maxilla and tooth alignment, and then also obtains numerical values of different sorts that mean something to him. The numbers to me were just a range of numbers in various categories of movement versus holding still. For each value, there is a range of "normal" numbers. Every one of my numerical values was either well below or way above the normal ranges. The farther off the numbers are from normal, the worse the TMD is judged to be.

I'm sorry I can't be more clear as to what all my ortho did during my first examination/visit. Even though I have a medical background having worked in hospital & rehabilitation settings as a speech therapist, his evaluation procedures and what all the numbers/measurements meant were Greek to me.

Good luck to you,
Katie G

 
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