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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board
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Old 07-15-2007, 12:52 PM   #1
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Unhappy shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

I have had TMJ for many years, and have had problems with upper chest, shoulder and neck pain, bad. Have been to Dr.s several times and now in physical therapy, had MRI done of cervical spine looking for a pinched nerve, not the case no other tests done thus far except to rule out cardiac.The pain is getting much worse and pain pills and muscle relaxers are no longer working. Sure can get you down day after day. Therapy not working and not so sure what to do, lots of inflammation and spasms, cannot lift arm above shoulder or it pulls on chest area, sometimes pain goes around the upper back. I know I am really clenching my jaw at night and wondered if TMJ can cause all these problems. Anyone know? This has been occuring for the better part of 2 years and I feel it is taking over my life, feel bad for my family and worried about my job. Any feed back would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

 
Old 07-15-2007, 08:01 PM   #2
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

Clenching can cause neck and jaw pain but my guess is that your clenching is pushing your jaw back against your c-spine and you are having more issues with the misalignment that can cause since its affecting the thorasic or chest area. A good tmj specialist should be able to provide a splint that can help ease the affects of clenching and should be able to refer you to a chiro experienced with tmj and c-spine issues. When they did the MRI looking for the pinched nerve did anyone check the position of the atlas and axis (C! and C2 vertebrae)? A neuromuscular dentist checked mine and was able to draw a diagram on my MRI that showed my axis being rotated toward the left side instead of dead center and once that was adjusted most of my upper body pain in the arms, chest and neck area eased up considerably. Its just a thought for you to consider.

 
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:04 AM   #3
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

Thanks Thelma Louise, I have went to a Chiro. and he did indeed mention my axis being off, the pain in my chest and shoulder are so bad that I am waking up with dry heaves, I also have been grinding really bad, that would be so wonderful if indeed that was the problem and could get some help, my Dr. wanted me in physical therapy I wonder if the therapist could work on the axis? Thanks so much for replying, I need to get rid of this problem it is taking over my whole life and what I would give to wake up pain free one morning. Did you have the same symptoms, my range of motion in my left arm is getting bad and the pain worse really bad in the shoulder and chest. Sammyo1

 
Old 07-16-2007, 09:41 AM   #4
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

I had similar problem when my tmj first started - couldn't move my arms above my head and had no upper body strength. My clavicals or collar bones got pushed as well so my shoulder bones were grinding against them and I had a lot of pressure in my throat area. The back of my neck felt crooked and my head tilted a bit to one side.

Try searching the web for a chiro under Upper Cervical Spine or under the Nat'l Upper Cervical Chiropractors Association or Orthoganist or Orthogany. A few sessions to adjust the axis will do a lot but will not correct tmj - but it will help the neck, chest and arm pain and weakness. Unfortunately not all chiros are the same in terms of philosophy (what type of adjustments they do, where they do them, how they do them, etc) - a NUCCA chiro pretty much only adjusts the axis so the adjustments are limited to just under the ear on the side of your neck, depending on what side the axis is rotated towards - but I was very impressed with the results. And I had gone to another chiro for 1 1/2 yrs prior to this w/o getting as much relief as I did with a few sessions with the NUCCA chiro. But they are hard to find since I believe there are only about 150 of them in the US - I was lucky enough to have one about 45 mins away from where I live.

Last edited by Thelma-Louise; 07-16-2007 at 09:43 AM.

 
Old 07-16-2007, 01:29 PM   #5
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

I have had severe neck, shoulder and back pain with my TMJ ... I even got a nerve zapped in a surgical procedure to try to help, but I most certainly DO NOT recommend that because the stabbing pains as it grows back are very unpleasant, and it didn't help much with what essentially are muscle problems for me anyway.

The things that have worked for me:
_getting a good splint - my pain has decreased dramatically
_switch from a hand-held mouse to a touch pad at the bottom of my keyboard, and moving my phone around at work so I'm not always leaning to the same side
_regular chiro. a NUCCA chiro found my axis was not far off, so I just go to a regular
_exercise - yoga and pilates and walking ... I think this is a must to try and keep the body balanced and to gain strength back in the affected areas
_heat and TENS unit. I love my TENS unit and the heat pad that I can wrap around my neck. I normally just use my TENS on my jaw, then relaxing it helps relax the rest.
_Of course, I really like accupuncture and massage, but these get very expensive since insurance doesn't pay

 
Old 07-16-2007, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

Thanks , What is a TENS unit, I am willing to look into anything, got Dr.s appointment tommorrow, new Doc, hope something can be found I can't wait to get relief, feeling worse everyday. I live with moist heat pad and ice, even take them to work. Could not even stand the seat belt on today. I have order the aqualizer bite gaurd, had one in the past and it seemed to help with the TMJ, also helped a friend of mine. I will start with using that and see if indeed I get any relief. Don't care for the store bought so I have to wait for Aqualizer since it is ordered only through a dental supply. I have spent so much trying to get help I am hoping that it is the TMJ, perhaps if a Doc. will actually do some diagnostic testing I could find out. I am so glad I found this message board!

Last edited by sammyo1; 07-16-2007 at 03:15 PM.

 
Old 07-17-2007, 08:58 AM   #7
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

A TENS unit is a small machine that sends electrical stimulation to your muscles and nerves that helps to block pain signals and helps loosen up muscles.

My advice would be to get a proper splint from a dentist that fits your mouth. Anything that you buy from a store or that's not fitted for you can cause more problems. It is very difficult to buy splints when insurance often doesn't pay, but I think it's much more difficult to live with the pain of TMJ or possibly do more damage because you don't have the proper treatment.

I wish you luck in finding something that helps. I know when my arm/neck and shoulder were at their worst they would just ache so badly that I could sometimes hardly sleep. Now, with my new mouth orthotic and changing my computer station at work I have almost no shoulder and arm pain. My neck is still tight, but I think that's something I'll always battle.




Quote:
Originally Posted by sammyo1 View Post
Thanks , What is a TENS unit, I am willing to look into anything, got Dr.s appointment tommorrow, new Doc, hope something can be found I can't wait to get relief, feeling worse everyday. I live with moist heat pad and ice, even take them to work. Could not even stand the seat belt on today. I have order the aqualizer bite gaurd, had one in the past and it seemed to help with the TMJ, also helped a friend of mine. I will start with using that and see if indeed I get any relief. Don't care for the store bought so I have to wait for Aqualizer since it is ordered only through a dental supply. I have spent so much trying to get help I am hoping that it is the TMJ, perhaps if a Doc. will actually do some diagnostic testing I could find out. I am so glad I found this message board!

 
Old 07-17-2007, 01:40 PM   #8
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

Im sorry you're dealing with this. I too have had chest pain, and it's very difficult lifting my arms above my chest and shoulders. I believe as well this coud be the alignment of your jaw effecting your muscles and possibly spine. Im still new to this in giving advice, but I decided to give my share and to let you know that your are not alone.

I recommed you depending on your pain to see about getting your jaw shifted correctly and off your c-spine; see a specialist in this and what's the best procedure to do. If you are grinding then try a splint, without the the grinding and having the splint resting your jaw, it might slowly shift back to a normal position; although this didn't work for me it might work for you becasue you said you grind. Good luck and I wish you and everyone dealing with this the best.
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Last edited by SJustice1621; 07-17-2007 at 01:41 PM.

 
Old 07-17-2007, 04:29 PM   #9
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Re: shoulder,upper chest, neck pain, can it be TMJ?

Thanks sjustice1621, went to a new doc today and there is something called thoracic outlet syndrome that cause alot of difficulty when attempting to lift your arm above your head, not sure but going to look into it and just to have a diagnosis and getting the proper treatment would be great, sounds like it could be a long road, still got to take care of the TMJ would like to keep the teeth I have. I feel for anyone who had to deal with pain on a daily basis. NO one likes to have limitations on living life. I hope you look into what causes this for you(if you have not already). I know I am, I am going to take my quality back. Good Luck

 
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