Re: TMJ pain worse now then ever.. has been almost 16 years :(
I haven’t read this board in half a year, and now that I have something to offer, Christmas feels like the right time to come back here. I had my TMJ problems for over 18 years before I found a solution. I had one very painful and debilitating symptom (migraines), and one less debilitating symptom (sore and tight jaw muscles). At the best of times, I’d get maybe two migraines per month. At the worst of times, I got two per week, and each would last a couple of days. The migraines often took away my ability to enjoy life, my ability to work, and in recent years, my ability to be the mother I wanted to be for my young son. I tried two mouth guards from a TMJ specialist and one from a neuromuscular dentist. For me the mouth guards made little or no difference. I had many chiropractic treatments as well, which sometimes brought partial relief, but no major relief. In recent years the migraines were sometimes so bad I thought of ending it all, but I couldn’t leave my son without a mom.
About a year ago a friend recommended I try a SleepGuard biofeedback headband to train myself out of clenching my teeth in my sleep. I am usually challenged by technical gadgets to begin with, and I had lost all hope that anything would work, so I put off trying it for many months. Then one week I had a cold and noticed that when my nose was stuffed up and I was probably clenching less at night because I was breathing through my mouth, I had only one migraine, and my jaw was not as sore. So I decided to give the SleepGuard headband a try.
I followed the instructions to the letter and used it for the first three days without the biofeedback, to measure how bad a clencher I was. It turned out I was clenching about 250 seconds per night, and I called the company to find out if that was a big number. To my surprise, I got to talk to the guy who designed the thing, and he told me I was in the top 5% of the worst clenchers. That wasn’t a contest I wanted to win, and I was scared I would never be able to get that to a “low” number, but he reassured me that if I made friends with the gadget and heard the biofeedback sound as a gentle loving reminder to relax, I would do fine. I did that, and it was amazing the difference it made. Within a week I had learned to respond to the sound in my sleep, and my migraines and jaw soreness were gone within a month. My clenching is now less than 10 seconds per night. These days I actually expect to feel good and rested when I wake up. A year ago that seemed impossible. It is still amazing to me that all that pain and suffering for all those years came from just having a habit of clenching my teeth in my sleep.