Not sure where to start.. A few years ago i started noticing a general fatigue and this constant ear pressure. The ear pressure thing would come and go. But that progressed to the point where i had this pressure and pain constantly. Nothing unbearable mind you, but enough to cause constant irritation. My local docs tried everything from allergy problems, dehydration (i do ironman triathlons), to sinus problems. None of it every helped, so i made an appointment with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. One appointment with an Allergist and another with a general physician to have a physical and discuss my issues.
The allergist basically said my allergies were very mild and doubted they were causing me any issues.
The General doc had a bunch of blood work done, a ct scan of my head and sinuses. Referred me to a neurologist and an ENT.
After all of them finished poking and prodding me, the best guess i could get was that i was experiencing atypical tension headaches. So they sent me back home to see my local doc so i could get a script of nortryptaline. I stayed on this drug for several months, and i think it did make me feel better for a while, although it did affect my moods and gave me kind of a short temper. But then i noticed the ear pressure and sinus pressure returning. Doc had me up the dose but it didnt help. So i stopped taking it and just decided to try and deal with it.
August 1st i was sitting at my computer working on a spreadsheet. All of a sudden my vision got blurry, my head started hurting and i felt dizzy. This kind of freaked me out, but after getting up and walking around it mellowed out a bit. Well, this kind of stuck with me for a week. The headaches getting worse, the dizziness coming more often followed by feeling sick to my stomach.
Desperate i went back to the doc begging for something, anything. They put me on different migraine meds, nothing did anything. The only thing that helped was antivert (meclizine) and all it did was make the dizzyness fade a bit. The headaches were intense. After several attempts with the docs, they sent me in for an MRI/MRA. Everything came back normal and they basically told me they did not know what else to do.
So i started googling my symptoms. Headache, ear pain/pressure, dizziness, and came across TMJ. If i concentrate on something besides my vision and head pain i do notice my jaws are always achy. So i went to the dentist, he thinks i have TMJ. Has always told me that i am a clencher. He put an aqualizer in my mouth and left the room, came back 15 minutes later and i did feel better. He gave me a script for muscle relaxers and a new appointment for this coming Wednesday.
I am just not sold on the TMJ thing.. During the weekend i can go almost symptom free, i can wake up Monday morning feeling ok but an hour after i get to work i start feeling crappy again. I must admit though, after taking the muscle relaxers, i do feel a ton better everyday.
I go see an ENT Friday for an Electronystagmography test. I am not going to let the dentist do anything to me until after the ENT tests.
Does all this sound familiar?? I have been reading thru 78 pages on this TMJ forum, so many of my symptoms appear to be just like what you experience.
It sounds like TMJD could be a possibility for your symptoms. Did you notice the symptoms sticky at the top of the page?
My symptoms presented atyically also. It took me lots of different doctor visits and tests, including the brain MRI, to realize they weren't going to be able to help. I too found the possible connection via the internet. Testing by a specially trained functional orthodontist confirmed my TMJD, as did an MRI specifically of the jaw. My advice if you seek treatment from your dentist is to find out how much training he/she has had in TMJD treatment. There is no specific TMJ specialty out there so people can treat the condition without a lot of schooling which some on this board have had issues with in the long run.
Many people with more mild TMJD issues can find long term relief from muscle relaxation treatment and exercises. Some of us who have more severe issues need further treatment to get the jaw in correct positioning and get those muscles out of spasm.
I have some pretty major TMJD issues and have never actually had TMJ/jaw pain. I wouldn't use that as a sole judge of how well you are doing. It could be that tension/stress you are experiencing at work is contribuiting to your symptoms being worse there.
By the way, I had a whole string of tests by my orthodontist before I confirmed my TMJD. Physical exam was only one of them. I had bite and jaw vibration analysises, 3D Cone beam scan, thorough health history, etc...
Mountain Reader, I am new to this message board and have been reading some of the posts on TMJ. I desperately need to make a decision on which doctor to use. I have had two consultations so far and can't decide which doctor would be the best for me. I
Last edited by moderator2; 09-12-2012 at 05:14 PM.
Welcome to HealthBoards. I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with TMJ issues. As many of us can attest to, TMJD can be frustrating.
As a new member, you are not allowed to receive PM's yet. You will be able to use that feature after you have participated enough to move from your Newbie status. Also, we aren't supposed to solicit PM's on the regular boards. They want us to try to PM the person to see if they are willing to accept your PM. Not all members choose to participate.
According to the board FAQ's, "Naming a book or article title and author, or a doctor's name w/city/state is allowed as long as no other contact information is posted. Post once. Multiple similar posts will be deemed to be advertising."
While there are multiple TMJ dentists in Utah, I did find one that has done wonders for me. His name is Dr. Judson Wall from Bountiful.
There is also a highly trained PT in SLC who specializes in TMJD. Her name is Cynthia Peterson. Unfortunately she doesn't take my insurance so I haven't been able to go to her, but I love the book she published on TMJ healing. I will say that PT in conjunction with the dental treatment made a significant difference in my personal treatment.
If you choose to share any of your information/questions/ concerns with the board, we may be able to provide your with information based upon our experiences that may help you in making your decision.
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I am so appreciative of your time. I have had TMJ symptoms for years, but a year and a half ago, my jaw completely locked up on me. About the same time, I could no longer hear very well out of one of my ears. It took my a few months to finally figure out that my ear issue was a TMJ side effect. I've been to two different TMJ specialists, Dr. McMillan and Dr. Guinn. I didn't have to make a decision right away because I needed the time to save up the cash to pay for this since my insurance doesn't cover this. Well, I finally have the money saved up and want to start the process. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but when I went to see Dr. Guinn & Dr. McMillan, I didn't quite "click" with either of them. They both seemed like extremely knowledgeable, professional and very qualified but I just didn't have that "this is the right doctor" feeling. I rely too much sometimes on feelings rather than logical thought and then I freeze trying to make a decision.
I am going to make an appointment with Dr. Wall tomorrow and hopefully he will be the "one" Lol! I dream of a day that I can fully hear again and be able to open my mouth all the way... oh, and it would be nice to not hear my jaw bone grinding all the time..
I will keep you posted on what I decide. Thank you again so much for taking the time to respond.
The following user gives a hug of support to pinkdaysies: MountainReader (09-12-2012)
Wow, you might want to look at some of my early TMJ posts from around the end of 2009- early 2010. Mine started with ear issues too and took a long time to figure out. My process had been slower too due to it not being covered by insurance.
I too believe you have to have a good level of confort and trust with any medical practitioner you see. I actually saw Dr. Guinn first. My experiences with him are in my early posts. While he is highly trained, it wasn't a good match for me. I considered Dr. McMillian, but ended up choosing to see Dr. Wall first and I really liked his assessment, explaination of my issues, discussions on my treatment choices and respect for the choices I made. I hope you find success with him. His practice is busy and it took me a few weeks for an initial appointment, but it was worth it in my case. If I've had any issues with my splint or braces over the last couple years, they usually get me right in. I will say that it is more a matter of their philosophy and the approach they take towards TMJD treatment. One is more trained on the neruomuscular side and the other on the functional orthodontics, orofacial side. Since there is no one "right" treatment it really is what is the best for you.
I had ear pain and an ear that didn't pop for over a year. Within 3 months with my splint, those were much better. I go for a follow-up with my audiologist in a couple weeks to see how my hearing is.
If you call for an appointment tomorrow, ask about the free community educational class tomorrow night. It would be a good opportunity to meet him.
Just to clarify, it isn't actually a tmj seminar. He is a holistic dentist and looks at whole body health as related to dental treatment and healing. This education session is focusing on the nurtritional aspects of helping the body heal. It is strictly an educational focus to help us learn to help reduce inflammation in our bodies so we can heal better.