Five years ago I was diagnosed with severe arthritis and prolasped neck disc from MRI scan and have been unable to work since and rather disabled.
During this time I have visited physios and osteos who have all said my jaw is in terrible state with bite way to the left but this has only been mentioned in passing as everyone is concentrating on my severe neck problem.
My most disabling symptoms are dizziness/unsteadiness and ear/jaw symptoms and I have been thoroughly investigated by ENT with MRI of brain and ears and totally normal so all my above symptoms have been put down to my severe neck problem. As my neurosurgeon says all his neck patients have balance problems.
My symptoms are as follows
pain in front of both ears with very stiff jaw and all jaw bone tender to touch.
tender scalp and pressure sensation in temples and occiputal region ofhead.
Many daily episodes of ringing in ears, slightly distorted hearing, unbelievable feelings of pressure in both ears, ear pain with no infection, itching in ear, rapid popping sounds/sensations in ears.
Constant feeling of unsteadiness ( like slight drunkeness without the benefit of alcohol!) and occasional short episodes of severe vertigo.
Episodes of painful tongue on movement and same with either eyeball wtih pain around eye and tender to touch facial bones.
I think I have missed some but you get the general idea.
I was telling a friend in USA who was so certain this is TMJ rather than just my neck that she sent me a book and I ticked nearly every symptom the only ones I couldn't tick were to do with teeth andt his is the clincher.
Before I was diagnosed with my neck problem I had many many years of extensive dental surgery ending up with all my teeth removed. My bottom gum is so deformed from all the surgery that it proved impossible to have a bottom set of dentures fitted that didn't cut my gums to ribbons so for past 8 years have had no bottom teeth only top dentures which makes eating difficult. Luckily you cannot tell I have no bottom teeth as it would be very embarrasing.
I now need to know what to do - I am going to go back to my Dr and discuss this with her but knowing the state of the British NHS service I imagine there is not alot on offer. My NHS dentist is the one who did all the surgery and is a real butcher and I cannot afford to pay for private dentist.
Do you agree with me that my symptoms are indicative of TMJ syndrome??
These symptoms are so bad that my life is hardly worth living as I can't go out alone or drive because of the dizziness and my social life is zilch and I have been like this for past 5 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi. It does sound like you have TMJ. I've gotten lots of relief from TMJ headaches and ear problems/dizziness from Acupuncture. I went yesterday and my dizziness is now gone. I have arthritis in my neck, jaw, knees, etc. The needles in my jaw area really help too. If you're interested in Acupuncture, you could call up several of them to see if they treat TMJ. A muscle relaxer before bed also helps. I take Advil liquigels when I first get up b/c of my arthritis and TMJ. Hope you find some relief.
Your post sounds like I could have written it when my tmj started more than 2 yrs ago. I had several misleading diagnoses - its tmj, no it was a cervical or neck problem, it was tmj, no it was MS or a neuromuscular brain disorder. Back and forth for more than a year - but since my jaw was deviated to the left and my bite felt unbalanced I felt it had to be that something was wrong with my jaw and it affected my neck and just progressed from there.
What helped me most was getting treatment from an Upper Cervical Chiropractor and finding a good tmj specialist experienced with splints or other orthotics for the mouth however I am not sure if these are offered where you are. My lower jaw is a mess as well due to arthritis and various gum surgeries in the past and all my teeth have been filed down from previous tmj treatments to the point that I will need over dentures at some point. I haven't been able to work since this started either due to all the same symptoms you mentioned. The latest tmj dr I am seeing said that for certain individuals who have a normal tendency for their bite to be on their back teeth and not their front like most are is that w/o lower back teeth their whole sketetal structure and central nervous system is thrown off - primarily b/c the neck and lower jaw work together and no longer can due to the missing teeth. There must be something to this b/c since I started wearing the splints my tmj symptoms (neck pain, eye pain, ear ringing, body pain, muscle twitches, etc) have become less intense for the 1st time and my jaw does not deviate as much.
I know what you are going through and often felt like I did not want to spend the rest of my life like this as well. I am not familiar at all with NHS since I am in the US - what else is available to you for treatment? Can you go to a chiro, or have cranio sacral therapy, physical therapy? Does NHS offer tmj treatments like splints or have surgeons to rebuild your lower jaw so you can wera dentures or prosthetics? I really wish I could help you more.
I take 6 Aleve or naproxsyn during the day and if your dr will prescribe some mild muscle relaxants they will help. My vertigo and dizziness only went away with the help of a chiro who adjusted the C1 vertebrae (also called the Atlas) located at the base of your head at the back of your neck - you may want to see if that might be causing a lot of your symptoms. I also just started taking Glucosamine, Chondrotin and MSM to help with the joint and body pain. Hope things turn around for you real soon.
Thanks both for replying it helps just to know that I might be on the right lines. I def do have a severe neck problem as well as it was so clear on MRI but it seems as if the two problems have appeared in tandem which makes sense.
I have been told I musn't have any manipulation of my neck as if could be dangerous so chiro is out I am afraid.
I am going to discuss it with my Dr next week and will see what is on offer.
I assume that you were told not to have your neck manipulated same as me because of the arthritis???
I have had acupuncture before for the neck problem and have to say I don't like having needles stuck in me much and do find them awfully painful even when done by a very experienced acupuncturist but I may be brave and try again! How many sessions did you need to notice an improvement? I assume its an ongoing thing and you need regular treatments?
That's right. I was told not to have Chiropractic on my neck due to arthritis. I haven't had many Acupuncturist treatments on my neck. Sometimes when I'm standing under the shower I do neck stretches. My poor Acupuncturist treats me for so many ailments it's a wonder he doesn't run out of needles. lol. Sometimes the needles do hurt, but just for a second. As long as they help, I can put up with it. Some Acupuncturists are more gentle. You could try to find a different one. Good luck and keep us posted. Sue