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Old 05-20-2012, 05:46 AM   #1
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What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Hi all,

We all know that with TMJ, we usually have many symptoms. What is the main symptom that bothers you the most? If you could choose to fix one symtom, which would it be?

For me, the main symptom is the 24/7 constant muscle issues at the jaw area (right side). Pain can be described in many ways. However, I never really have actual 'pain' like the kind of pain someone pinched you. But more of pain described as tension, pressure, swelling, spasms, and when it's bad it can be described as tightness and pulling.

Most of the time, the discomfort is not really in the joint itself, but just slightly above the joint, where the ear just attaches to the face but deep inside. When it's bad it spreads outwards above my ear, at the joint, and to the base of the skull. But then sometimes I can't really pin point exactly because it kind of moves around; but it's always around the jaw area.

When I explained this main symptom to my dentist, he says that this is rather 'atypical'. So I asked him what is 'typical', and he said most of his patients come for headaches and jaw pain (as in real actual pain in the joint itself).

Also, some things that are quite atypical about my symptoms (that I'm guessing by myself and not said by the dentist):
- I can open my mouth wide without pain.
- I can eat anything without pain (including hard food if I want to, but of course I don't). In fact, I don't feel the discomfort so much when I'm eating.
- My jaw has never locked.

I do have many other symptoms. I don't like them but I can live with them. I just can't stand the constant muscle issues. Right now my ear/face feels swollen.

So my questions are:

1. What is your main TMJ symptom that bothers you the most?
Or if you're already better, what was your main TMJ symptom that bothered you the most?

2. Is there anyone else with something similar? Or am I the only one with this 'atypical' symptom?


Sorry for the long post, and thanks for reading. Would really appreciate any feedback.

Last edited by MissyJ; 05-21-2012 at 08:08 PM.

 
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

I'm not certain there really is a "typical" symptom for TMJD. If you view the sticky at the top of this board on tmjd symptoms, there is a huge range.

You asked about our symptoms. Mine presented first with an ear that wouldn't pop, then with ear pain that extended down my neck and into my shoulder area. I still have issues with the muscle spasms that caused my ear and neck pain. The severity of my spasms just varies at times for me now.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

I'm a few weeks ahead of you in the NM splint with the exact same symptoms and not much relief.

It all seems to be muscle pain for me. Tightness that goes from above the ear, to under the eye and sometimes down towards the lips. I also get tingling lips, tingling fingers and some upset stomach. All very painful. I've had neck and shoulder spasms but I've gotten those out.

I don't have joint pain and generally can eat what I want (but don't) Sometimes I notice the muscle activity pickup when eating some things, but hard to pinpoint. I started at 35mm opening and now up over 50mm.

I keep wondering what causes the muscle problems? Is it just inflamation of the joint? Is it the disc damaged or displaced? Will I ever get better if the disc is that messed up?

I know two months isn't that long, but it would be nice to have some idea of what to expect.

 
Old 05-22-2012, 08:44 PM   #4
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

jbuilder2 ,

Thanks for your reply. I'm 3 weeks in my NM orthotic now. The biggest difference so far is that the constant grating sound when I open my mouth is now gone. Also, my jaw feels more relaxed with this orthotic; so far in the 3 weeks I haven't clenched on it in my sleep, or woken with with a headache/sensitive teeth. However, the muscle issues I mentioned before are more or less the same.

I have other symptoms as well:
- When I open my mouth, I can feel the right joint doesn't move smoothly.
- Stiff neck and shoulders (I need to stretch all the time).
- Chills that run through my body/arms/legs randomly.

Some symptoms that I've had before, but haven't experienced for some time:
- Ringing and stuffy ear.
- Pressure behind eye.
- Tremors in the jaw/face when it is cold.

What causes the muscle problems? I think about the same question everyday as well! I've had an MRI done and the report basically says everything is fine. However, my dentist looked at it and said it looks like there's some flattening of the disc (if I remember correctly). And the fact that there are grating sounds, it indicates that there must be some kind of damage done there.

A few questions for you, jbuilder2:

1. What is your age? I'm 28. (Sorry, if you're not comfortable with this you can just ignore this question).

2. How long have you had your symptoms for? Mine's been about 2 years.

3. Did you ask your dentist if he's treated other patients with this kind of muscle issues before? If yes, was the treatment successful? (I'm the first for my dentist to present such chronic muscle issues).

4. Did you manage to find a good muscle relaxant that's not drowsy? When things get bad I take something called Orphenadol. It helps reduce the discomfort, but I'm like a zombie when I'm on it!

Thanks.

Last edited by MissyJ; 05-22-2012 at 09:06 PM.

 
Old 05-22-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Hi. I thought I'd share I was diagnosed with Cervicalgia (neck pain) and Myofascial Pain (chronic pain with trigger points) when I received my TMJD diagnosis. Based upon the assessments my TMJ specialist did, I got the impression both diagnoses are pretty common.

If your jaw is out of place, it can actually through off the balance of the rest of the body.... literally.

I did a lot of PT and orofacial trigger point releases of the masseter and pterygoid for months when I started my splint therapy. I actually started the therapy before the splint even came in. The Cervicalgia and Myofascial PT were both covered by my medical insurance which was a plus in helping me afford treatment since none of the TMJD stuff is on the dental side.
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Last edited by MountainReader; 05-22-2012 at 09:38 PM.

 
Old 05-22-2012, 09:36 PM   #6
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Based on all the questions you've been asking, there is a book that you might find helpful as you seek out information. It is called The TMJ Healing Plan: 10 Steps to Healing Headaches, Neck Pain and Jaw Disorders by Cynthia Peterson, PT. It has tons of useful information on your anatamy, habits that make tmjd worse, muscle pain and things you can do to help with the pain and get things back into balance.

There is also a great book called The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies which gives lots of good information on identifying trigger points and how to properly "release" them to help with those muscle spasms.

I also listened to a TMJ Relaxation CD daily as well to help relax my muscles.

It takes a lot of work to find a dental specialist that is really trained in treating tmjd and your bite as it relates to the rest of your body. It can be really frustrating as you search for the proper team to help you get through all of this. Keep the faith!
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:41 PM   #7
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

I'm 33 year old male from California. This all started last November after a dentist adjusted a filling. That changed my bite pushing my jaw back and up. A few weeks after I started getting lots of muscle pain that turned into full blown severe pain. MRI's of head and neck, CT scans, blood work all came back normal. Took 3 months before the jaw connection was made and I finally got to a dentist.

My scans show some arthritic changes in the left joint. The condoyle is beaking (pointy at the top) and the temporal bone shows some inflamation and changes. I'd upload my scans but i'm not allowed.

The other problem, which may be my main problem is the overactive nerves. I get tingling at the lips, tingling of the fingers and of course the muscle spams with occassional tingling there too. Do you get any of the nerve issues? My neurologist wants me to try some neuraglia medication and i'm getting very close to doing so.

My pain is a small bit better. I have the daily 4-5 pain that hasn't changed, but I don't get the severe pain up to 9 or 10 that I used to get. Occassionaly up to 6 or 7 but less severe and less often. My eye also does not feel like its going to explode, although its even close to 100%. At this rate i'm 12 months from feeling better(assuming I keep making progress).

I never had grating noises. Lots of clicks that stopped with the splint. Occassional small pops at full opening. I also have late deviation when i open. I'm good for the first 40mm or so, but the last 10mm does a little s and then deviates to the left (all my pain is on the left). Dentist thinks this indicates that I still have problems in the left joint.

I never had an MRI because my dentist said its 6-12 months of splint regardless of what the MRI says, then we'd have to do another MRI anyway.

He seems to be a decent dentist but dodges the question of more difficult patients. A lot of "most get better in a few months, some take much longer, everyone is different". I have another adjustment in the middle of June and he says if I'm not feeling better he is going to add to the splint to increase the vertical.

Everything I have tried of hear of trying involves drowsiness. Which sucks.

 
Old 05-24-2012, 02:56 AM   #8
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainReader View Post
If your jaw is out of place, it can actually through off the balance of the rest of the body.... literally.

I did a lot of PT and orofacial trigger point releases of the masseter and pterygoid for months when I started my splint therapy.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention my postural issues:
- Loss of lordosis
- Misaligned neck (I go to the chiropractor to get it adjusted, but by the time I go in the next time, it's misaligned again - I think it's mainly C2)
- Uneven shoulder and hips (my right shoulder is lower, my right hip is higher)
- Tilting head (my head tends to lean to the right)

Yes I totally agree that the key is finding the correct team. But that's the problem. Proper knowledge of TMJD is already very limited in general, and I feel it's almost non existent in this part of the world where I live in. But I will try and keep looking. I will definitely be looking into those books that you recommended and try out self help strategies.

Finally, I don't think this is going to work, but I'll just give it a try anyway-

Anyone living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who knows how to do the following:
- AO or NUCCA chiropractic
- orofacial trigger point releases
Please get in touch with me!!

LOL it would be a miracle if someone answers to this.

Last edited by MissyJ; 05-24-2012 at 07:11 AM.

 
Old 05-24-2012, 03:23 AM   #9
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuilder2 View Post
The other problem, which may be my main problem is the overactive nerves. I get tingling at the lips, tingling of the fingers and of course the muscle spams with occassional tingling there too. Do you get any of the nerve issues? My neurologist wants me to try some neuraglia medication and i'm getting very close to doing so.

The main issues with nerves that I have is chills that run through my body/arms/legs/head. It's not painful and only lasts a few seconds, and it happens randomly maybe about 5-15 times throughout the day. It doesn't bother me too much, but I know this is definitely not right.

Talking about tingling. Yes it was something that I had before but haven't experienced for a while. Mainly tingling in the cheek, tip of the ear and a bit on the scalp. Never on the lips or fingers.

Oh but I remember one time I was doing a lot of computer work, probably straining my neck a lot, and my whole jaw/face felt like there were a million ants crawling all over. This was in the initial stages, before the whole TMJD realization. Now I know to be aware of my pc usage and posture, and also do stretches more.

About neuralgia medication. I've tried two kinds: Lyrica and Neurontin, but both didn't help much. I didn't feel anything at all with Lyrica. And with Neurontin wow I was hungry all the time! Is your tingling constant? I suppose if the tingling is a major concern you could perhaps give nerve medication a try. Painkillers / anti-inflammatories don't work for me too. The only medication that reduces discomfort for me is muscle relaxants.

 
Old 05-31-2012, 08:24 PM   #10
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

My main symptom is constant pressure in my head, tension type headaches.

I do have random facial tingling, stiff neck and neck pain, fatigue, visual floaters, and popping on the left side of my jaw. I've been wearing a splint now for 2 months when I sleep with no changes at all yet.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 09:10 PM   #11
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

not4sakn

Thanks for your reply. Could you tell us more about the splint that you're wearing?

- What procedure did you go through to make the splint?
- What type of splint is it? Is it soft or acrylic, does it go on the top or bottom, does it cover all teeth or only a few etc.
- You mentioned you wear it when you sleep. Is that the only time you wear it?

Thanks.

 
Old 06-04-2012, 02:19 AM   #12
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Hi all again,

I want to talk about one more symptom that I didn't mention previously. I didn't mention it because this one's a bit more complicated and strange.

I have a small swelling in the right side of my mouth / gum. It is behind the last molar on the top, exactly at the arch / corner that connects to the cheek. The swelling is very small, somewhat like a mosquito bite. Many dentists have put their finger in my mouth to try and feel it, but they can't seem to feel anything. When I put my own finger in, I can't feel it either. The only way I can feel this is with my tongue. But I know for sure that there is a swelling there because the left side doesn't have this.

There's some discomfort in the swelling sometimes, but it is not really painful in general. But about one year ago I tried out some herbal supplements (supposed to boost your immune system, which causes inflammation to promote healing), and that swelling was really painful. That was what actually made me discover there was a swelling there. I discovered the swelling about one year ago, and it's just been there ever since.

jbuilder 2, could you take a look and see if you have anything like this? Anyone else?

MountainReader or anyone else have any idea what this might be? By the way I just bought the book you recommended (by Clair Davies), and will be looking into it soon.

Thanks.

 
Old 06-04-2012, 07:38 AM   #13
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

My main TMJ symptom has been constant ear pressure/pain in my left ear. The pressure gets so intense that it keeps me up at night. The intensity of the pressure/pain changes, but is always with me 24/7. The ear feels stuffy and like I need to pop it, which I'm constantly trying to do. There are times when the pain and pressure will travel to the other ear, but that will feel more like shooting pain in the ear rather than that ear pressure, stuffy feeling. Sometimes the pain will extend from my ear, down the left side of my face and down the side of my neck. It's like someone just hit me on that side of my face.

I can open my mouth wide and I can also eat anything I want. I do notice that if I eat something that's tough to chew like a steak or bagel, my ear will get worse.

My second most bothersome symptom is migraines and headaches in the back of my head. I can live with the other TMJ symptoms that can come and go with no rhyme or reason, but the one I wish I could get rid of the most are the ear symptoms. Sometimes I'm afraid I will have to live the rest of my life with my ear feeling this way.

 
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:34 PM   #14
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

Hi there rlat45,

Just wanted to give you a note of encouragement...I've come across several people whose ear pressure & stuffiness has improved when treated with the proper splint for their issues. You should not have to deal with this for the rest of your life

A doctor described the reason for this ear pain/stuffiness/pressure that is so common with TMJD. He basically said that the structure of the TM joint are enclosed within an encasement, like one of those mickey mouse balloons inside a larger balloon that you get at Disney. If there is an issue inside this encasement, swelling occurs resulting in pressure and pain. The good news is that once those issues are resolved, the inflammation goes away and so does feelings of pressure and pain.

Just make sure you are getting the correct treatment for your issues from the best NM dentist in your area. Always a good idea to get a second or third opinion if you are unsure about this.

Best of luck!

Last edited by judye; 06-04-2012 at 12:35 PM.

 
Old 06-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #15
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Re: What is/was your main TMJ symptom?

i don't notice anything in my mouth like you describe. I did have muscle knots in the ptergoids that had to be worked out from the inside of my mouth. They were definately in spasm, but it didn't really help the pain much.

 
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