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TMJ -Hospital appointment soon, please help!

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Old 06-27-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: England
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Kate486 HB User
TMJ -Hospital appointment soon, please help!

Hi there

I've had TMJ for the last ten years or so. When I was 15 I had a severe blow to the face and ever since I've had severe pain, swelling, clicking/popping of the jaw joint. At first my Dentist thought it was Wisdon Teeth so I was referred to an Orthodontist who said I don't have any wisdom teeth and disgnosed me with TMJ, put me on a liquid diet and saw me again a month later. Of course it got a bit better seeing as I wasn't chewing! She told me to wear a nightguard to stop the grinding which made it worse but I couldn't get on with it and it didn't help whatsoever. This was about 5 years ago. Ever since I have been on several medications and the problem is getting worse as I get older.

I have now had enough so I've been seeing a Chiropractor for the last 3 months and he's been a great help. He discovered that my jaw was actually slightly dislocated and suspects it may have well been fractured all those years ago and didn't heal properly. He's done as much work on it as he could and have put it back into place but can't do anything about the clicking/popping and he said it's the worst case he's seen and can't believe nothing has ever been done about it and suspects the cartledge/ligaments are damaged but can't know for sure without an x-ray. He helps manage the 'knots' and 'spasmed' muscles but it doesn't last long I'm afraid and I can't afford to keep going.

Anyway, I've gone to my Dr's who has referred me to the Maxillofacial Surgery at my Local Hospital. I know they will x-ray but what should I expect? For years I've said no to people talking about surgery but I'm starting to think it may be the only solution I'm now 25 and it's getting better not worse and I can't carry on taking these painkillers for the rest of my life! Every day, all day I'm in pain and have constant swelling and the only relief is strong co-codamols which take the edge off. I was also on Amoxicylin, Naproxen amongst other things but came off them all last year as was sick of all the medication but as a result this means I'm taking 2 Co-codamols 4 times a day... Help!

Thankyou all in advance

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:26 PM   #2
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Re: TMJ -Hospital appointment soon, please help!

I'm so sorry about your TMJ symptoms and the blow to the face. I also began having TMJ problems after I was assaulted, beaten about the back of the head. My attack happened in the early 1980's.
I'm glad that you're going to the maxillofacial unit at your local hospital. That is where I've gotten the most help.
The good news is.. the treatment for TMJ has come a long way since I started treatment almost 30 years ago. When I was first injured my doctor said that 95% of TMJ patients never need surgery. That's the good news, but he went on to say that out of those that need surgery 90% of the patients have suffered a traumatic injury.
In my experience, bite plates, splints, whatever you want to call them, have been very helpful. They align the teeth so that they're in the best position for the jaw. I've also found muscle relaxers to help a great deal.
When thinking about TMJ pain, there are two types of pain, and each type responds to different therapies. There's joint pain which occurs when the jaw is dislocated, or there are things wrong with the joint itself. Then there's the muscle pain. There are actually several TMJ muscles that are involved. This type of pain is what responds best to massage, muscle relaxers, soft diet, and relaxation techniques.
It sounds like you're off to a good start. I found it most helpful to keep a TMJ journal. I write down my symptoms, what they are, the date, what helps, what makes it worse. I also note all doctors, tests, treatments, and any other pertinent information. As part of this I keep a pain journal where I note the date, type of pain, intensity of pain from 0-10, again meds, or other treatments. I take the journal to all appointments. Years ago a doctor told me that being scientists, doctors rely on data. Keeping a journal, pain journal, TMJ journal, food journal, or whatever else you need is a great help in getting treatment.
The good news is... I had a bilateral total TMJ joint replacement surgery about a year and a half ago, and now I have no pain, I eat everything, work full time, and lead a full life. I'm not saying that you need surgery, I'm simply saying that if I got relief after 12-15 blows to the back of my head, and then 26 years of pain and other symptoms, I'm fully recovered.
Please keep us posted, and let me know what I can do for you.

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