Hi, this is a first post on these forums for me. I'm a 20 year old college student, im majoring in film and special effects, and i guess i've had tmj for a long time but only became aware of it recently after an accident.
This all started back in september when i was fooling around with some friends and we were all climbing over a tall chain link fence. Being a klutz, i got to the top and tried to jump off (it was like a 10-12 foot fence i was so stupid) and i put my hand on the top of the fence for support. That might have been the dumbest idea ever. My left arm got caught on the fence and it tore right down the length of my arm, and through the palm of my hand. To make matters worse, since i was caught on the fence, i was dangling in the air for a few seconds before i wriggled my arm loose and fell neck first into a garbage can.
Seriously, it probably would have looked like the funniest thing if it wasn't such a serious accident.
Well right after the accident the whole left side of my face, neck, head, shoulder, and arm was in a lot of pain and i could barely twist my head. In about a week the pain subsided but in it's place I started to feel like I had to gag all the time. Thats a scary feeling. I also felt like it was hard to swallow, and like there was pressure on my adams apple - as if someone was constantly pushing on it with force.
The first time i went to see a doctor they ran a boatload of tests on me only to conclude that nothing was wrong. I got sent off with them basically telling me it was all in my head, and one doctor told me i was suffering from a globus sensation which pretty much is the medically polite term for saying "your crazy". Then i went to go see an ent. The only thing he found was some acid reflux, which he told me could cause alot of the gaging feelings that i was having. He prescribed prevacid, but my insurance doesn't cover that so i've never taken it but he told me to take prilosec every day instead and i think that helps a little with heartburn and stuff.
Well by thanksgiving time i was only feeling progressively worse and my parents took me to an oral surgeon who took a panoramic x-ray but didn't see anything. He did however point out how tender i was to his touch in the back of my mouth and suggested that i was suffering from a muscular form of tmj. He perscribed diazepam (muscle relaxant) and mobic (strong anti-inflamitory) to me for about a month and a half and durring the time that i was on those medications, i felt a lot better. at times, i could barely even notice that anything was wrong with me. Unfortunately things didn't stay that way.
I got home for winter break and within a week or two after getting off the meds everything came back, at full force. I pointed this out to my dentist durring a routine checkup, and she noticed that i couldn't open my mouth very wide, and that when i did open my mouth she felt that at my jaw joints, on both sides something would pop out. She reffered me to a tmj specialist.
The TMJ specialist that I saw ordered an MRI and OH BOY did it come back with some interesting results. He told me that on the right side of my jaw the ball thing (i dont know what it's called) was completely dislocated, and on my left side it was partially dislocated because when i closed my mouth it would pop back in but come out when i opened my mouth. The right side was just a mess though. He also told me that it looks like for years i've been grinding down the joint into a sharp edge because it's been bone on bone rubbing against each other on both sides.
The way he described it it made me feel like it's a miracle that my jaw is even still attached to my face.
He noticed that i could only open my mouth to like 30mm or something (he said that was a very small opening) and that my jaw was deviated a lot to one side.
He made me a 24-hour mouth guard/splint/piece or whatever it's called. I've been wearing that since december 24 hours a day but i don't feel like it's made much of a difference at all.
I went back to school and just tried to deal with the pain and symptoms i was having but soon i just began to get some of the strangest symptoms, like i felt as if upon swallowing a giant blister would burst behind my tonsil
or that when i talked i also got pain in the back of my mouth behind my tonsil but no doctor has ever found any kind of cyst or anything back there. my mouth has always seemed normal. The other thing is the one symptom that i've had the whole time and that is a "forced swallow". Swallowing food and water is ok, but swallowing saliva is difficult. I have to "force" the saliva down. it's VERY annoying and difficult to deal with.
During the spring semester i caught Mono on top of all of this, and my doctor gave me prednisone (an anti-inflamitory steroid) to deal with the swelling in my throat. This is interesting - not only did it relieve my swollen throat but i took it for a couple of weeks, and didn't feel any strong tmj symptoms for that time and a couple more weeks after that.
It actually helped my forced swallow for while i was on it and for the next couple of weeks after.
Needless to say it all came back, (and worse) within a little while and that brings me to the past couple of weeks. My forced swallow is really bad, i've been having a lot of jaw pain on my right side, it feels like there is a giant spiky ball under my jaw on the right side that cracks and hurts every time i swallow, the back of my head hurts alot, and it's tender, my shoulders and arms hurt, and lately i can barely open my mouth at all. I tried to eat a hamburger last night and couldn't do it without being in excruciating pain. but i dont care about the pain outside of my mouth the things that bother me the most are my forced swallow and when it hurts my throat to talk or when i swallow and it hurts behind my tonsil.
the only times i have felt better were the times that i've been on strong anti-inflamitory drugs. i'm pretty sure that if not for my loving, amazing girlfriend and my caring parents i would have been driven to nervous breakdowns more than once by now. I have too much going on in my life to be distracted by this.
can anyone tell me if this will get better at all without any drugs? The Tmj specialist i'm seeing wont give me any kind of drugs because he says it will interfere with the mouthpiece but that's not even working anyway.
i feel so lost and helpless. can anyone relate to the forced swallowing problem?
yes--forced swallowing is a symptom of tmd. what type of tmj specialist are you seeing. Drugs dont interfere with mouth peices thats silly. I could probably find you a better doctor. also you should get into a chiropractor.
keep your diet soft. that means back away from anything that is crunchy or chewy etc. no gum. ice it. and take some ibuprophen.
dont let it distract you--its not worth the attention that some people give it---remember that you have it--and not vice versa