Need some reassure. Are these possible TMJ symptoms?
I know it's lengthy, but I really hope you all read...
Almost a month ago from now, I noticed myself clenching at night. I would consciously place my tongue in between my mouth, and would wake up from biting down on it. And the since then, it all went a little like this...
- 3 localized dull pain/headache near base of skull along with neck soreness just below, which I chalked up to a new firm pillow I bought.
- On the day of 3rd headache, I got intense pressure on my left ear, and left side of jaw, with slight eye pressure, left side.
- The next day, both sides hurt, facial pressure, and again, ear pressure.
- Following day, only my right side hurt, along with jaw, face pressure of right, and INTENSE pain on lower teeth.
- Went to the Doctor, gave me antibiotics for sinus infection. No ear infection, UTI negative, throat culture came back for Staph. a. no symptoms.
- Things got better for a week or so, but ear pressure, and jaw pain was still there.
- Redid throat culture. No Staph A. Mentioned jaw discomfort and ear pressure, rechecked ears, no infection. Told me it was "arthritis"
- Sometime the same week, the pressure settled on just the left side for 2/3 days, teeth and all. Around this time, my back started to hurt, shoulder pain, on and off chest pain for a day, which I thought was from my shoulder pain, mostly left, alllll the way down to my butt cheeck, felt like sciatica.
- 5 days ago, I started having a twitching feeling on the left side of my head, above my left ear. Just a few seconds, a few days during the day.
- The next day, started having a tingling sensation on the left side of my scalp. No pain. On and off.
- At one point, i felt a sudden, sharp pain in my left ear. Hasn't happened since.
Since then it has been downward spiral EXTREME. I thought it couldn't get any worse. I was at school, and my right jaw/face/side of head (temp. area) started to hurt/pressure badly. I flipped, went to the Urgent Care. Dr. listened to all my symptoms, felt my jaw, and told me I had TMJ. Sent me home with Ibuprofen, and instructions to see a dentist.
I went to an Orthodontist (he offered a free consultation), took x-rays and found that my bottom wisdom teeth were impacted under the gum line, horizontally, and I have 2 small teeth growing under the skin above my two front top teeth. He referred me to an oral surgeon.
Since then, the tingling sensation on my scalp has been constant for 4/5 days now. It's absolutely painless, and light, but annoying and keeps me up at night. That, and my anxiety, of course. It only tingles on the top left side, and on the back of my head a little off to the left, and occasionally a little more up and right. I haven't really gotten headaches. I didn't noticed any intense clicking/popping at first, and even know, it sounds more like a crunch sound, and I hear it in my ear when I yawn. When I open my mouth, occasionally, the right side feels like the muscle is shifting over. And the more I open and close my jaw constantly, the more pressure I feel in my ears.
The severity of discomfort comes and goes, and when it came again, I paniced, and went to the ER 2 days ago. Blood check, urine check, BP, all was good. The first NP that saw me, told me she thought a CT scan wasn't necessary, but I should go see a neurologist, because of my tingling. She finished her shift before I left, so a PA-C came in, and he told me that he agrees that its TMJ (he claimed to have had it). And that I was also having an anxiety reaction. He sent me home recommending I see an ENT. And a therapist... and with a muscle relaxer (which I haven't taken). That night, I started having tingling under both my armpits, and I eventually felt it randomly on my arms, and hands. This day, I was super anxious. This also only lasted a whole day, and have been feeling it under my armpit occasionally now.
I have been so completely devastated. Crying on and off sometimes, thinking I have a brain tumor, or brain aneurysm. Can't sleep well. I have an Drs. appt. at my local community health (I have no insurance) on Monday, AND I also have an appt. with an TMJ specialist that same day.
Yesterday, I couldn't open my jaw more than 2 fingers until I started to feel discomfort. Today, my ears feel super stuffy, occasional tingling near my armpits, my teeth and jaw feel sore, I still have this annoying tingling sensation on my scalp (I think this is what drives me insane the most), and something new I noticed is, I feel pressure on the front of my hard palate, mostly when I lean my head down, where I'll also feel the pressure on my jaw.
My shoulders, and neck are tender, but now only when touched down on. I'm a side sleeper, so it hurts to sleep on my face, so I've been trying to sleep on my back more.
Does all this sound like TMJ? Can TMJ cause all these bizarre symptoms? Could it have to do something with a nerve being pinched somewhere? Do you think the muscle relaxer (Norflex) would help at all? I've mostly avoided it because I'm currently still nursing my daughter, but I'm willing to take it (and pump and dump the milk) if I knew it would really help.
Re: Need some reassure. Are these possible TMJ symptoms?
First off, relax and try not to stress. Worry will only cause you to clench more at night and hold yourself tight. (I know, easier said than done)
With that being said, it does sound to me like you have some sort of jaw dysfunction going on. I'm sure the Specialist that you're seeing on Monday will be able to offer you more information, upon examination. Write down all of your symptoms to tell him/her, as we often forget when we're in their offices.
Have you tried taking Ibuprofen and if so, did it help? As for the Norflex, that's entirely up to you whether to try or not. TMJD doesn't have a cookie cutter solution, so what may work for one, might not work for another. I've met people that muscle relaxers work wonders for and others who see no relief from them.
What you can do prior to your appt. is try using heat on your jaw/neck and wherever you're feeling pain. (I think they sell those "Bed Buddy's"/microwaveable rice bags everywhere) Try the Ibuprofen if you haven't already. Also, have you already thrown out your old pillow? If not, go back to using that for a while and see if your pain levels improve. Quite often, a new pillow can cause havoc on your jaw and neck.
Above all, don't assume the worst and try your hardest to relax. As I said, the more tense you are, the more you'll clench and hurt.
Hang in there and let us know how your appt. goes on Monday.
Here are the symptoms of TMJD from the post pinned at the top of the page, on case you didn't see it.
The Kinnie-Funt Visual Index of Head, Neck and Facial Pain and TMJ Dysfuction:
Eye Pain and Eye Problems:
- eye pain above, below, behind
- bloodshot eyes
- blurring of vision
- bulging appearance
- pressure behind the eyes
- light sensitivity
- watering of the eyes
- drooping of the eye lid
Head Pain, Headache Problems, Facial Pain:
- forehead pain
- temporal pain
- "migraine" type headache
- "cluster-type" headache
- sinus headache under the eyes
- posterior headaches, back of head, with or without shooting pains
- hair and/or scalp painful to touch
Mouth, Face, Cheek, and Chin Problems:
- discomfort or pain to any of these areas
- limited opening
- inability to open the jaw smoothly or evenly
- jaw deviates to one side when opening
- inability to "find bite" with teeth
Teeth and Gum Problems:
- clenching or grinding at night
- looseness and or soreness of back teeth
- tooth pain
Jaw and Jaw Joint Problems:
- clicking, popping jaw joints
- grating sounds
- jaw locking opened or closed
- pain in cheek muscles
- uncontrollable jaw or tongue movements
Ear Pain, Ear Problems, and Postural Imbalances:
- hissing, buzzing, ringing, or roaring sounds
- diminished hearing
- ear pain - without infection
- clogged, stuffy, "itchy" ears, feeling of fullness
- balance problems, "vertigo", dizziness, or disequilibrium
- swallowing difficulties
- tightness of throat
- sore throat without infection
- voice fluctuations
- frequent coughing or constant clearing of throat
- feeling of foreign object in throat
- tongue pain
- salivation (intense)
- pain of the hard palate in the mouth
Neck and Shoulder Problems:
- lack of mobility - reduced range of movement
- neck pain
- tired, sore neck muscles
- shoulder aches
- back pain upper and lower
- arm and finger tingling, numbness and or pain
Re: Need some reassure. Are these possible TMJ symptoms?
Trust me, I know that you're not going nuts. 10 years ago when my 13 year old came down with an acute case of TMJD, he became suicidal due to the pain, which led me here. Some people can claim they have TMJD while chewing gum, whereas for others, if can be life-altering.
Try continuing with the Ibuprofen until you see the Specialist on Monday, but be sure to eat with it, as you don't wanting it eating a hole in your stomach.
I found that trying new pillows with my son years ago was a bad idea and usually increased his symptoms. I eventually did switch his pillows, after his treatment began and now he swears by his contour pillow. (It takes the pressure off of his neck/jaw)
That's wonderful that you already own a Bed Buddy. Keep heating that up and wrapping it around your neck and gently holding it on your jaw, alternating sides as often as you're able to.
If your Specialist suggests seeing an ENT or a Neurologist, don't panic. Many Specialists like to cover all bases. My son probably saw a Specialist in nearly every specialty.
My son has had many of the same symptoms as you're currently having, don't despair. I highly doubt you have anything life-threatening, even though it may feel like it. Most importantly, don't cry! (Crying tenses up your face and seems to make it all hurt far worse)
Try to relax this weekend and let us all know how your appt. goes.
The Following User Says Thank You to CherylLynn24 For This Useful Post: h02w (10-29-2012)
Re: Need some reassure. Are these possible TMJ symptoms?
I just wanted to say how helpful reading this post was. I too am a recent sufferer of similar TMJ symptoms.
I'm 28 years old and went to see my dentist for a regular 6 mo. checkup back in July. He told me I needed a couple cavities filled...ok, no big deal. I came back the following week and had them filled and immediately noticed something wasn't right. The cavities were filled in tooth #2 and #3 (top right molars). I noticed at first that all my teeth on the top right side of my mouth were sensitive to cold - not normal. Several days later the right side of my face started to ache. I couldn't really explain it, but my face just hurt. Most of the sensitivity went away after several weeks, but my face continued to hurt and then I would get these strong, throbbing pains above the tooth and into the roof of my mouth. Felt like somebody was trying to crush my mouth.
After everything I have been through over the past 3+ months...getting 2nd opinions, seeing 2 Endodontists, getting a CT done, losing 20+ lbs, not sleeping, anxiety over what was going on with me, I had a Root Canal done on Tooth #2 on the 15th of October. The filling was deep and placed practically right on top of my nerve. I was very swollen and bruised after this treatment. Could barely open my mouth, but things have improved.
In addition to the nerve pain that I was feeling (and has almost completely subsided, thank the Lord), I was told by my dentist that I started clenching my teeth during all this - throwing my bite off and causing my muscles to tense up.
It's a scary feeling when these things start happening to you and you have no idea why and everybody tells you something different. My jaw on the right side starts to ache throughout the day. I get sorness in my neck behind my right ear. I also get tingling/stinging pains sometimes in my face through my cheek. My dentist didn't think this was any neurological damage, but just from the muscles. I pray and hope he's right. It's not easy to deal with every day, especially as I work full time and am a Mom of two young kids. The past week has been better...yesterday was probably my best day in quite sometime.
I take 600mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day, along with lots of natural/homepathic medications to help...Ginger and Tumeric are natural anti-inflammatories. I also take Kaava and Valerian to help calm me down and a natural anti-stress remedy. Massages and going to my Chiropractor have helped a little. My dentist also made me a bite guard...I've had it about 3 weeks now. I wear it at night on my top teeth and throughout the day if I'm feeling uncomfortable or uneasy about it. It's embarrasing and somewhat difficult for me to speak with on (as it has a bump in the middle that keeps my teeth apart), but I think this has helped greatly.
Any other reassurance or advice would be greatly appreciated. I hope I continue improving. It's a reassuring feeling to know I'm not alone, as I have felt very alone through this whole process. Thank you for posting your stories!