i believe I have TMJ because of the symptoms I have. Have suffered a head injury 3 years ago, a neck injury 8 months ago, have had much dental work done that has required hours of my mouth being held open,and vocal cord surgery which also required my mouth to be held open for 3 hours. have told 6 dentists over the years and my PCP about these attacks i get that invlove severe jaw pain that go to my neck and chest (cardio has given me a clean bill of health on my heart). everyone seems to blow me off or most dentists will say "let's clean your teeth first and fix any cavities and then we'll talk about it" this has been going on for al least 3 years with no help. the attacks are not consistant but when i have one they take my breathe away they are so painful. after my last root canal it took me 20 minutes to be able to close my mouth as it was locked in an open position and when i finally close dit it hurt like the dickens and i felt a pop. since then sometimes when i chew my jaw slides to one side. i bite my tongue alot especially when i sneeze. I have a chiro that i trust immensely but with the neck injury I'm not sure what can be done. anyone here use a chiro to re-align the jaw? before i go through appt. and referrels i though i would see if anyone has had succes with a chiro.
I'm not an expert so this is just an opinion but I do believe chiros can help aleviate some of your symptoms but only temporarily - as with all types of alternative treatments including accupuncture, cranio sacral therapy, PT, etc. Upper Cervical Chiros or NUCCA chiros are specifically trained in adjusting the C1 vertebrae or atlas located at the base of the neck. Based on my experience a mislagined C1 can impact the lower jaw immensely causing it to deviate as well as causing other tmj symptoms. I 'm not sure it will "cure it" but it will help. In addition to that you may want to search for a tmj dentist or one that specializes in cranio or myofacial pain - a mouth guard or splint might help keep your jaw in place and keep the muscles relaxed. The fact that you are experiencing lateral jaw deviation, popping and difficulty closing on occasion should be addressed so that these attacks do not become chronic occurences.
thanks thelma-----since I have suffered a closed head trauma and cervical injury it scares me to see anyone but one chiro in my area. i think i will call the spine specialist before i do anything. have great dental insurance so i will look for one who treats TMJ. the last time i saw the chiro was before the enck injury and she couldn't manipulate my neck i am guessing due to a large bone sput indenting my spine so you can see why i am afraid . but on the other hand possibly the neck injury has aggravated the TMJ. I have a dentist appt wed. for a cleaning. it seems to be all i can sit through with my mouth open. have 2 temp crowns that need permanents put on and every time i go and he puts the chair back my throat closes and i can't breathe. have had to leave the last time with no work done. it's all so frustrating. speaking of myofacial treatment would a rheumi be of any help? I do see one for firbo.
I'm assuming by your last question you have overall body aches and pain as well? I'm not sure if it would help but you could try. I think at best they will probably treat you with steroids or an anti-inflamatory med. As with all meds, even if they help and there are no adverse side affects long term usage should be weighed carefully. My father had rheumatoid arthritis and steroids did a number on him even though they seemed to be the only thing that eased his pain.
I'm sure by now you are realizing that there iss a direct relationship between your neck, jaw and spine and ultimately the central nervous system which is used to transmit pain signals. Any imbalance in the 1st 3 can cause tmj and fibro symptoms.
Case in point, today my tmj dentist adjusted my splint and my right leg and hip stopped hurting. And I didn't even tell him about it when I went in - he found it by doing pressure point testing before adjusting the splint. When I told him how much better my right leg felt suddenly he said "I know - I moved your bite back to the left side a bit. If your left leg or shoulder starts to hurt come back in for another adjustment".
You mentioned that your throat closes when you go back in the dentists chair - do you also have or get a choking sensation or have trouble swallowing? If so, is more so on the side that deviates or the opposite side? Do you bite your tongue on the same side as well?
hi thelma---actually when i bite my tongue it's dead center my whole tongue, straight across. yes I have had trouble swallowing for about 6 months. food isn;t a biggie but saliva is. i feel like my throat is numb and not being able to feel it makes it very difficult. i have to clench my back teeth and really think about it at times hence dental work is impossible or i would bite his fingers off. having fibro and multiple injuries I know this is all related but cannot find a dentist to help. I have put a call in to my dental insurance carrier and might even call my personal health insurance carrier and see if I am covered #1 for TMJ treatment and #2 if they can find me a dentist/dr. in my area who treats it. I have an appt tomorrow for a cleaning and am hoping I am alright through it. the last time I was fine but it doesn't take that long and my mouth is not open as wide or is the chair back as far as the dentist puts it. this seems to have all started with a root canal 3 years ago. 2 sessions of over an hour. the first one i was fine but the second one i noticed i couldn't swallow and was losing my breathe. that was the day I had a hard time closing my mouth when he was done. It is so frustrating since when i have these episodes the jaw pain is crippling and then it drags through my throat muscles into my chest. can't get any help because everyone thinks it's my heart because of the jaw pain. all ahd been cleared by the cardio so I will have to search for help. have left the spine specialist a message that they now suspect TMJ and what does he suggest since I can't have a chiro manipulate anything around my neck. I am about ready to give up.
Hang in there - I know when my tmj started it was very hard to get it pinned down. I had pain all over so I couldn't even be specific about what hurt and where, I had double vision, body tremors, mucle twitching, etc the list went on and on. The only good thing that came from it was that I lost 30 lbs in 4 months but by then my face showed how bad I felt. I thought I was dying and I think my dr did as well. My dr insisted tmj did not cause the pain I had so he sent me for a full cardio workup and then to a neuro who said it was could be MS or Parkinsons or some other auto-immune disease. I have seen so many drs of all kinds of specialties I have lost count and can't even recall most of them anymore. I've gotten slowly better over the past couple of months working with a tmj dentist (my health insurance covers most of his fee, TG) but I still can't work due to pain, blurry vision that comes and goes and a dense brain fog which is driving me absolutely crazy.
Your plan sounds like a good one - there's also a thread on "great tmj drs" you might want to check to see if any are in your area. Teaching universities often have myofacial or tmj depts as well but the list was long at the ones in my area so appts were booked 3-4 months in advance and I was too impatient for that.
BTW the NUCCA chiro doesn't really adjust your neck - the adjustments are done on the side of your face near the lower jaw and ear - don't ask me why b/c I don't know - I'm assuming that is where the C1 pushes when its out of alignment. But I understand your concern of going to one - I would feel the same way of course.
Hang in there - don't give up. Hipefully you will find someone soon that can help shed some light on what is wrong and what to do to fix it.
and was referred to him by my dentist who had made a night-splint for
me. The dentist has me taking msm, cousamin and vitamin c. He wanted me to go to the chiro for ultra sound on the jaw, as well as spinal adjustment. Quite honestly, I walked out of the chiro office feeling better than I had in months! I've been back 3 more times, each get a week or 2 of relief. My overall tmj is probably 60 - 70% improved from my first experience with it. Some very minor "grinding" noise...bite is returning to normal...not there yet, but getting better....pain is gone, so I do feel better.
Unfortunately, I had an onset of tinnitus the morning I woke up with tmj...and that hasn't improved at all. An ENT guy told me yesterday that he believes the tinnitus will eventually go away when the tmj is fully recovered. I'm hanging on to that!
Good luck....you're in charge...seek help wherever you can find it. Cheers...elwo
thanks all for the advise and experiences. makes me feel alot less alone. spoke to the spine specialist and he said anything in the face /head area he sneds them to a neuro and luckily due to other problems ihave an appt tomorrow with him. had and MRI of brain with contrast done last week as neuro suspected a possible TIA. also spoke to my dentists office and they said he doesn't treat it but will send me to someone who does. a friend called yesterday and i mentioned it to her and she gave me the name of one of the best in the city. so at least at his point I have a couple of options. the way i have been shuffled around for the past 8 months i am taking control and not stopping until i am treated properly. I have great health benefits and fabulous dental insurance so that shouldn't be an issue. thanks again all
got my teethe cleaned yesterday and the nice girl stood behind me the whole time instead of sitting so she didn't have to put my chair back that far. i was ok. dentist came in and told me that it's anxiety. OMG. said that when you get TMJ from your jaw being opened for hours it goes away on it's own within days. I think i'll have him finish my crowns and move on.
Posted this before in "To those who say don't have Surgery"
I had surgery at 19. It was the worst decsion at the time. We didn't know better. The oral surgeon was recommended by my orthodontist who did not offer conservative treatments or approaches. My jaw was clicking during brace work, then my jaw started slipping. The rubber bands used for correction were pulling on my jaw muscles. Yet he had me continue treatment until it got worse. By the time they decided the braces should come off my jaw began locking up.
My right joint became displaced and I could hardly open my mouth. They surgically manipulated the joint to put it back in place. I was in 5 times more pain after the surgery. Pain killers hardly took the edge off. Then my left side slipped out of place. The splint or bite guard caused more pain. My jaw continued to lock up. We sought another opinion. A specialist we saw through Loma Linda Dentistry said conservative methods should have been tried before rushing to surgery. He looked at my posture, neck and shoulders and recommended phsycial therapy or a chiropractor. I had injuries to my back and shoulders before along with mild scoliosis that may have contributed to the problems I was having.
Luckily I found a chiropractor who also had TMJ and was very knowledgable. Along with muscle relaxants I began to heal. After suffering for a year my worst symptoms cleared after a few months. Therapy included the relaxant, adjustments, massage, ultrasound heat therapy, accupressure and a muscle activator. The left disc that slipped out, glided back into place on it's own. The right side recovered as well. I also learned to sleep on my back with pillows to support my back in the most relaxed postion. Small pillows for my neck and lower back then a larger pillow under my knees. This is what I believe has been the best technique to maintaining a healthy posture and less tension in my neck, shoulder and jaw. It had been 12 years since I've had major symptoms. Only grinding and tension sometimes with stress. My dentist made a soft bite quard for me that forms around my top teeth, a little bit like a bleaching tray but a tad thicker. I only wear it at night when I feel tension and notice I've been grinding my teeth.
From my experience and research most oral surgeons are bascially doing exploratory surgery and there is not enough data or success rate to support most of thier methods. I felt like a guniea pig. I contribute my sucess to my mom who believes if you are unsatisfied with a doctor keep looking until you find someone who won't push pills or surgery. Also we learned to do our own research from then on for any health problems our family faces. We always try to seek out more natural and alternative means. Most Western doctors are trained to treat symptoms and do not work find the the root of the problem. What motivation do they have as there is no money in healthy people? You have to challenge them. Thank God the internet came along.
Recently the major symptoms have returned due to re-injuring my back and stress. I noticed I have been sleeping on my side again, curled up in reaction to stress. This creates shoulder and neck pain. So I have to be more aware and sleep on my back. I have started to see a chiropractor again in hopes it will correct it before it gets worse. I am already seeing results after two vistits. I no longer live near the chiropractor I like so if this doesn't work I will search out others, who have more expercience with TMJ. I started taking a muscle relaxant as well. Skelaxin.
I hope this post helps helps others. It saddens me to hear that so many continue to suffer after surgery. I was hoping to see more mention of alternative treatments when I looked here. Please remember that just because you or your doctor doesn't know what else to do doesn't mean there aren't other answers out there. I will try to get in more natural supplements that are known to help help joints like MSM, and glucosamine. Vitamin C and Omega 3's also help inflamation. I am praying that I get well soon trying these natural means.
Thanks. Im feeling better after seeing the chiropractor three times. Also I stopped taking the muscle relaxant and continue to wear the biteguard as I still grind at night. Tensioncomes and goes still but no pain and I can open my jaw and chew without any pain. I continue to try and sleep on my back with a memory foam pillow to support my neck, a small pillow under my lower spine and a large pillow under my knees. This helps releive tensin in my back and neck. I find that when I do sleep on my side the tensin returns.
Re: Yep....I do see a chiropractor for tmj treatment
Originally Posted by chonger
I also heard that once the jaw is back to so called normal that the tinnitus would also go away if the jaw was causing the ringing. When i eat my ringing goes up and down or when I clench down hard my ringing goes higher with that action.I think the ringing drives me more crazy than the pain.Always have my iPod close when I can not stand it.
Re: Yep....I do see a chiropractor for tmj treatment
Chonger....thank God for my iPod as well! TMJ and Tinnitus...what a heckuva malady. Klonipen is helping lower my stress level so the Tinnitus abates somewhat for a few hours. I don't have much actual pain from the TMJ so am fortunate there. I'm doing everything I can do to lose the TMJ...praying the T will vacate my head simultaneously. Hope you're doing better...and thanks for the reply. Cheers...elwo
I have mild TMJ and tinnitus but have never been convinced that I am likely to get relief from any remedy. But I'm still hoping.
As for chiros, my only experience was responding to a call from a friend who had gone to one with a back problem. I and a couple of friends carried her out of his office and took her to a hospital.