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TMJD worsening, would much appreciate any advice/help

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Old 09-09-2003, 02:10 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Isobelj HB User
Question TMJD worsening, would much appreciate any advice/help

I am rather concerned as my TMJD seems to be progressing undesirably, I think I must be doing things wrong and want to be sure I try to do what will help now, any advice on this would be so welcome.

To recap on my 'case', I was diagnosed with TMJD five and a half weeks ago, first going to see an ear doctor as I was experiencing rumbling, drumming noises in
my ears, plus some resultant hearing loss. I had no idea what TMJD is at the time, so the diagnosis didn't worry me too much, the dr prescribed a non-steroid anti inflammatory course for one week, use of hot
compresses for a month, and use of a nightguard. I took it pretty lightly (then I had no pains in my face or jaw) and, being against taking meds, decided to wait a bit to take the medication. I didn't
get the nightguard fitted immediately either, seeing my dentist about that two weeks ago, tomorrow I will pick it up. Anyway, in the interim my symptoms have changed, the ear problems subsided a little,
I became a bit less sensitive to noises, but developed a constant vibration in my ears which is driving me mad. I began also to have some jaw aching though I can still open my jaw fully, when I jump or run I can hear clicking in my head, when I open my jaw it clicks
slightly about half the time, when I move it to the side I hear half the time a whistling noise like air being expelled in my right ear. Further unpleasant symptoms which developed are pains trickling down
the back of my head on each side, neck pains, and huge neck tension, pains and tension in my shoulders and arms (partic the right), and, very recently, a kind of headached above each temple, behind my eyes,
and muscle spasms which feel like throbbing pulsing sensations in my cheeks. All of these seem to be textbook symptoms for TMJ now I have begun to read about it.

I just took a course of an antiinflammatory,it initally helped with the pains but now they are getting worse anyway, perhaps because I am
taking a lower dosage than suggested (I do hate taking meds and my stomach is a bit upset with it) and partly because I took it a little bit sporadically, two one day, one the next etc. I tried using a wet
towel (wet with hot water)as a compress but found it so ineffectual, it went cold very fast and dripped down my neck (!), so I bought a heating pad, also recently, to use instead. I've been using the pad
but on dry heat, is moist heat more effective? How do you create dry heat (sorry if this is a silly quesiont but I've never ventured into this realm before!). Also, someone here mentioned that if you use heat for more than about 15 or 20 mins you can make nflammation worse, why is this? I am so clueless on this issue.

Then, two alarming recent occurances worry me. Last Thursday on the way home from the hospital we drove home through mountains, going up to a higher altitude (where I have been many times before without
problems), I experienced sudden hearing loss and then pain in my ears, we slowly drove down and the pain went but I was left with a sensation as if each ear had a little balloon full of water in it.
Also after this my neck clicked when I bent it forward or moved my head from side to side, this has not gone. I am assuming that the inflammation already in my ears makes them sensitive to altitude changes, has anyone else experienced this? I also feel, and have
from the beginning six weeks ago, nauseaus all the time and dizzy, and incredibly tired.

Secondly, yesterday I went to see a film, something I haven't dared to do since this began because of my ear sensitivity. But since I could handle the music noise in the shopping mall I estimated my ears
would be ok in the cinema. During the film I was sitting comfortably and not strained physically, towards the end I began to have slight above the temple headaches and neck and shoulder strain but I thought I was ok. It was after I came out that things got really bad. My ears were (and still are) vibrating like mad, and my cheeks seemed to go into spasms, I felt like a marionette almost being jerked about.
I felt very trembly and weak also, I had to pick up some basic groceries and couldn't even carry a litre of milk in my hand. This was frightening, after I got
home I felt better, but this am when I woke I realized I have what feels like a hard muscle mass, well, like a hard lump situated beneath my left cheekbone (the right side of my cheek is normal so I can feel the difference). I guess this is from the muscles spasming
there (pressing it is rather like the feeling of pressing on your teeth, that hard, but it is not teeth), but will it go away? Now I am terrified to develop facial distortion. I've tried using the
heating pad, standing in the warm shower, and massaging it today but it remains obdurately there, what else could I do to make the muscles

I don't know whether to take more of the medication now. My symptoms all seem to be getting worse on a daily basis now.

My questions are;

If you are experiencing hearing sensitivity and inner ear inflammation (or even if not) do loud noises make the TMJ worse? It seems to me this is absolutely the case, since it happened to me last night, the only thing in the cinema which could have affected me was
the noise levels.

Is moist heat better than dry heat? How do you create moist heat? How long do you apply heat for and how frequently?

Is it better to take an anti inflammatory or is the help it gives minimal???

Does anyone take vits or minerals or any kind of natural product which helps them?

Does exercise help or worsen TMJD? (I'm thinking of stuff like stretching etc for muscle relaxation, and also of more vigorous excercise - could this help blood flow and so help? yet also maybe
the latter would cause more pain, distortion or pulling?)

How much do people suffer in cars? I'm finding it less and less tolerable to be in a car, the vibration in my ears is worsened and it causes all kinds of tension and pains which take longer and longer to go, if they do.

I really hope the nightguard I'm getting tomorrow does help. I'll stop rambling on now but any feedback would be very welcome!

Thank you.


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Old 09-09-2003, 11:09 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: UK
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Emsybobs HB User

Hi Isobal, I cant help much as have not yet been diagnosed, not sure what I have, but I once went and had a chiropractic adjustement in my neck which then created the hard muscle mass on my jaw like you describe...I went to a cranial osteopath and wow, it went completely away after 5 mins treatment. I highly recommend this form of osteopathy for any muscle tension. Good luck xxx

Old 09-11-2003, 03:24 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 154
Isobelj HB User

Thank you! I do have a lot of muscle tension in my neck, it clicks much more than my jaw, so maybe this contributes. Im finding the muscle mass is harder when I wake, with heat I can soften it but it doesn't seem about to go any time soon, its been there since Monday (which seems like an age ago). I'm encouraged that perhaps massage could just 'vanish' it, what was scaring me was the idea it would be there forever making me look heavy faced and lopsided.

What did your osteopath do to make the mass go? I'm getting really interested in massage and PT now but don't have a clue where to go. I've tried massaging the cheek and neck area in eveyr way I can manage (just with fingers), but again, though there is maybe a slight softening (less than with heat) that's all. You made me feel much better replying though, thanks again.


Old 09-11-2003, 09:34 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montana
Posts: 407
Elaine HB User

I sewed a bag of regular long grain rice into a dishtowel. Heat it up in the microwave for about four minutes and it makes a great moist heat. When I get bad headaches, I use icepacks. Hope this is of some help.

Old 09-12-2003, 05:27 AM   #5
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: ontario, canada
Posts: 646
saaraah HB User

just a note about sewing your own heat bags - be careful about what type of thread you use.. i had a heat bag that was commercially made, and it got a hole in it. i sewed it up, thinking i was the happy homemaker [ heh], and the next thing i know, there's smoke pummeling out of my microwave.

make sure the thread doesnt have nylon in it before putting it into the microwave!

- saaraah.

Old 09-16-2003, 09:00 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 154
Isobelj HB User

Thanks so much Elaine and Sarah for the tips! I'd never heard of using long grain rice, does it 'self-moisten' when heated? Unfortunately I don't have a microwave right now, but I will definitely bear the rice idea in mind for the future, and avoid nylon! For now I'm finding the heating pad seems to help, I'm feeling better recently so something seems to be doing some good anyway


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