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TMJ and neck and shoulder pain (Page 1)

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Hello all,

I'm so glad to have met you. I have finally found out I have TMJ. I found out the hard unfortunately, a settback to be exact. Here is my story, please send as much insite, advice etc as you can.
In the year 2000 I went to see a dentist, just for a check up. Prior to this visit, I hadn't gone to a dentist in over 15yrs, I am 32yrs old. Basically, the last time I went to a dentist I was maybe 10yrs old. Anyway in 2003 at the age of 25 I went to the dentist for a check up and a clean. He took xrays of my teeth and all was fine, no cavities bla bla. The only issue he had was with my bottom left wisdom tooth. It was sticking out diagnolly and pushing my 2nd molar towards my 1st molar and so on. He said this could become a problem in the future and recommended I see an orthondontist, which I did. The orthodontist took a quick look and said yes, I needed braces. My canines were coming out of place my front teeth were overlamping. This never really concerned me but she said its only going to get worse with time and that she could fix me up in a year. I asked her about the wisdom tooth and she sort of ignored it, but said she will take care of it.
Braces. I wore them for 3yrs and not one plus another year with a retainer. she removed my 4 pre-molars and started the push back realignement procedure. 3 yrs later I still had my wisdom tooth but teeth were straight and back in place. Once the braces off, I immediately felt a discomfort when closing my mouth. I could not close my mouth without my top bottom teeth scraping my front teeth. I went to my ortho and she shaved a bit of on of my bottom teeth. I was a bit better afer that. My muscles round my cheek area no longer reacted like before. they were tense, and every movement rewuired an extra effort. Smiling was uncomfortable and kissing with tongue was actually strainuous. With my retainer though I felt fine. Smiling with the retainer felt normal and not stressful. I continued wearing my retainer and seeing my ortho. I told a friend dentist about my discomfort when without the retainer and he offord an appointment with a maxifacial (face and jaw) doctor-dentist (I live in geneva SWI). Sadly due to circumstances, I never went. I left the condition which was annoying but not painful.
Shoulder Pains. Just before I took off my braces in 2003, I began having pains on my right shoulder and very slight ones on my left shoulder. Doctor, Xrays, Physio, ostepath followed. The pains just kept getting worse and worse. Although my pains on my left did not augment, my right shoulder was pretty much usless. I used to swim, had to stop, tennis too. Things were beginning to get really bad. I used to sleep on a futon bed due to my lower back pains (unrelated), but I had to stop, becasue the hard futon was killing my shoulders.
Neck pains. Neck pains began, maybe a month after my shoulder pains. But they were bearable. Once again, they were mre extreme on my right, and now are the primary pain I'm living with (left and right).
Pain evolvment. My right shoulder pains kept increasing and so did my right side of my neck, from yr 2003. My left side was impaccable. orthopeodic surgeons, physios, MRIs etc followed. NOTHING. they could not see anything wrong. 2005 after more doctors etc, one doctor wrote a letter for me to the head orthoepedic surgeon in the University of Geneva hospital. I saw him and he proposed i undergo arthroscopic surgery in order to see what was wrong with my right shoulder. I kept telling the doctors that my pain began at the top right side of my neck, behind my ears and went down the side of my neck, across my trapeize, down my shoulder (including down my shoulder blade) and all the way down to the tip of my fingers. All the doctors were convinced it was a shoulder problem, although the MRI scans showed nothing. So the great Professor was going to check inside my shoulder with an endoscopy. He did and after the surgical procedure he told me that whilst asleep, he moved my shoulder and it popped out of its socket way too easily. His conlcusion was that I had and instable shoulder which was causing all these neck, shoulder and arm problems. I need open surgery to stabilize my shoulder. He operated me a month later and I never got to see the great Professor again. my shoulder never stopped hurting my neck pains got worse and this is where it gets really exciting, the pains had now traversed to my left side. Hence, neck shoulder, arm pains all down my left side. This was now 2008. From 2003 - 2008 my pains were strictly on my right side now the area doubled. I had my surgery in 2007 and a year later, 2008, the pains were all over my upper body.
TMJ realization. After the great professor masacred my shoulder, and coincidely inititiated pains on my left side I took a break from the doctors. I went back to the osteopath and hes started massaging my jaw. I had never been i saw much pain and relief at the same time. Whilst he massaged my bottom jaw, pain in my jaws increased rapidly, but pains in shoulder/neck decreased. That was my first alarment. I then recalled all those years back when I had the jaw discomfort after taking off my braces and also recalled reading an article on how problems with teeth occlusion could cause neck/shoulder problems.
Back to the dentist. I went back to the dentist I visited way back in 2000. I was going to him during my orthodontic procedure, just for cleaning and cavitiy checks etc. i did tell him back in 2003 of the discomfort i was having after removing my braces and he replied, give the ligaments time to readapt. 8yrs later I returned to him claiming I may have malocclusion and this could be the reason for all my pains. He made a model of my mouth and got me the Michigan splint i beleive its called. It was for my top teeth and I had to wear it at night. 6moths later, there was no difference, I went back and he proceeded in shaving molars on both sides and up and down. Still no differnence, 3mths later I went back and again more shaving. HUGE differnce. Major relief but still pain but at a decreased level. 3mths later went back again. The worst nightmare of my life began. I am in so much pain its unbelievable. Left right side of mouth is numb, neck is sooo painful, shoulders all the was to fingers in pain. Just a nighmare. I went to see him for that, and he reacted diffensively.
Today. I am here on this forum and due to pains in shoulders and neck I can barely type. Holding my neck up right hurts, shoulders hurt terribly all round my neck hurts, my shoulder blades hurt, mouth jaw hurts, my arms and hands hurt. I wake up like this every day.

Advice. I am planning to see an orthodontist, jaw face surgeon, and my dentist again. Should I continue shaving my molars to get the best contact possible? What should I do? Put back braces? I am worried my pains will become like some posters here. Any advice?
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First Helper evets
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replied April 21st, 2009
TMJ
I'm sorry you're going through this. I have TMJ too and it sucks! Lots of jumping through hoops to get the relief I needed.
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replied June 9th, 2009
tt
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replied June 9th, 2009
First thing you need to do is see an Upper Cervical chiropractor. Not any old chiropractor but Upper Cervical. They are specially trained and specialise in adjusting the Atlas (C1) and only the Atlas. I see a practitioner in London who uses the NUCCA method. Next see a Neuromuscular dentist. Not a dentist who is good with TMJ but a proper NM dentist and preferably one who is LVI trained.

There is a link between TMJ and Atlas and both specialists are aware of each other and tend to work together. Expensive but what's the point of having money if you are in too much pain to enjoy it? How do I know this? I have been where you are and they were dark days.
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replied April 4th, 2011
what do you think of botox for tmj muscular pain?
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replied June 15th, 2009
Supporter
it started with upper back, lower neck pain for me.
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replied June 15th, 2009
Supporter
I have TMJ as well..I tried the mouth guard but it was horrible..I have since developed jaw will move out of joint and lock..It begins with clicking and then out o place it goes..I have been told they can fix this but will need to break my jaw and screw it back in..may be someday..
I did buy a huge heating pad you place in the microwave and it feels good helping me to sleep..best of luck..
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replied June 15th, 2009
You need to do two things. First see an upper cervical chiropractor. Not a regular chiropractor but a chiropractor who specialises in Atlas (C1) adjustment only. If you search for upper cervical you should get all the info you need. Around the same time you should see a neuromuscular dentist and have your bite checked. I don't mean a dentist who knows a bit about TMJ but a proper qualified NM dentist who will have all the necessary CT and jaw tracking equipment. There is a correlation between the Atlas and the TMJ. If one is out it will pull the other out and if there is nothing pathalogically wrong with you then this has to be the problem. I know exactly what you are going through. In may 2007 I fell ill and got progressively worse. The Doctors could find nothing wrong and wanted to put me on anti depressants. I got to the point where the pain was so bad I could no longer function and it was only by chance that I found out about TMJ and Atlas. There are two particularly good websites I could direct you to but we are not allowed to advertise on this site. I am knew to this site and don't know whether we can swap e mail addresses, but if we can and you want more info let me know on here.
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replied June 15th, 2009
Hello Goonawin,

You will find many differing opinions in the area of TMJ--this is the main reason insurance companies are reluctant to cover TMJ treatment. As evets believes C1 and TMJ need to be in harmony, I believe your muscles need to be relaxed.

What causes overused, tense muscles? Most of your muscles work whenever your teeth are together. Keep your teeth apart and most of your muscles will not be contracting. --and if your teeth are apart, occlusal equilibration will not be of additional help. Smile

Your muscles do not know what it feels like to be relaxed. Get facial/neck/shoulder massages, use a heat pack and see your physician for a LIMITED medicinal regimin to chemically relax your muscles.

It has taken years to get to where you are now, try relaxing your muscles for 60 days and see what happens.

Let us know what happens...
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replied June 15th, 2009
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I get massage therapy, facials, use heat and use muscle relaxers to help me sleep..The mouth guard caused me greater pain..THe jaw began clicking and moving, it is now out of line and now and then I can feel a slight unhinge and it locks back..Do you agree that breaking jaw and screwing it back is correct procedure? kd
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replied June 15th, 2009
Hello kdlee,

Have you had an MRI, like Goonawin, to check for any cranial abnormalities?

A mouth guard can cause greater pain if there is constant contact with your teeth causing muscle contractions. Over time muscle contractions cause muscle cramps which in turn cause painful sensations.

Do you lock shut or lock open? Commonly, locking shut comes from cramped muscles and locking open comes from movement beyond normal range of motion locking your condyle in front of your eminence.

"Do you agree that breaking jaw and screwing it back is correct procedure?" A complicated question kd, not enough information. I have seen several threads in this forum where there has been success. However, I have not recommended this type of treatment for the 600 patients who have received TMJ/TMD Evaluation and Care from me.

Good luck and let us know what happens...
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replied October 15th, 2010
anyone got cured????
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replied March 7th, 2011
tmj
I am going through the terrible shoulder pain that does not go away. I have also been told to relax the muscles. It is so frustrating to be taking some kind of medication everyday. It seems like I am getting older so fast that my kids are going to confuse me with their grandma:-{
If there is an expert out there, I want to know the long term prognosis. Does this go away? My problems started about a two years ago. I used to feel like my neck is not atttached to my body esp. at night. I keep my shoulder cleched up because the muscle is tight there. Physio helps but just to relieve pain for a few hours but then it comes back. I do wear an aqualizer. I can so relate with you. My shoulder pain has a trigger point in between my shoulder blades. It hurts when I lay down to sleep. Could it be that that point is causing my jaw pain ??chicken or the egg situation here??
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replied March 9th, 2011
Thanks 2netta. I would ask my dentist about orthosis.
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replied April 6th, 2011
o i got botox injections on Thursday and its wed today and I am still very sore on my shoulder ..feel very tight . The only mistake seems like was to go to massage the day after injections. Can something be done to relieve this tigtness..it feels like as if the skins going to tear . it's that tight.please help
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replied March 22nd, 2011
I dont think we should be so quick to label FHP=pain. That is simply untrue.

Just check out anyone standing around in a mall. most people have some FHP and most elderly have tons of FHP, BUT not many have chronic pain or pain at all. why? because FHP may be a contributor to a pain patient but lets be very careful not to associate FHP with pain as if its a 1:1 relationship. Its one finding not a diagnosis.
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replied March 23rd, 2011
Experienced User
Head Forward Posture, TMJ and NMD
2netta - I believe the head forward posture could well cause TMJ. What is less clear to me is just what fixes it. I went to see a NMD and the cost seemed too great and the outcome too uncertain. ($5,000 just to start and then no guarantee.) Then the method seems to be to relax the jaw using the TENS-like device and then make precise measurements toward a precise mouth guard. I doubt that a mouth guard can fix forward head posture and then TMJ. If FHP is fixable I would guess it would be more via yoga or pilates or physical therapy which loosens the muscles of the neck and supporting muscles. Or exercise like swimming can relax, strengthen, loosen.
If I am missing something about how NMD works to fix TMJ I am glad to be enlightened.
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replied May 4th, 2011
I got the splint made. cost me a fortune. it seems to be for repositioning. Lower teeth at night time.
A,ot he botox three weeks ago but it has made my right shoulder droop down. It hurts when i move/ lift my arm to even 45 degree. GP gave me ibuprophen and said it is brusitis. very frustrating to be in pain all the time. Is it TMj ot am i dealing with arthritis or something else. I have not read anywhere on the net that TMJ or botox could cause this. What shoudl I do?? my collor bone on right side is protruding as well.
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replied March 23rd, 2011
Re: Head Forward Posture, TMJ and NMD
Actually you are half right zeren. the splint can put the jaw in an orthopedic position that can change head posture. Physical therapy and pilates then can reeducate muscles and streghten the core to help. Did you know that 40% of posture and gait proprioception input to the brain comes from the jaw?
Now you are right on one thing. It doesnt take a NM splint to do this. That is just one approach. Any orthopedic splint properly applied will do the job. And I'm glad 2netta clarified that FHP does not equal pain. that last post of the man with arrows all over the place was fine but one would conclude since there was no explanation as to why it was posted one would conclude that FHP=pain. however it was explained after after i commented on it. that statement would have been helpful in the intial picture post. this is how easy things can be miscommuncated. Im sure 2netta is doctor and its imperative that the information is clearly presented for purpose and intent.

dont get caught up in the NMD part. its about splint therapy and there are plenty of studies that show how splints change head posture. sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse but they do. for the most part they help not hurt.
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replied March 24th, 2011
Experienced User
So here's my deal with the splint. I had a splint made by a highly regarded TMJ specialist and Dentist associated with Stanford. On its own it did not help symptoms much and it seemed to stretch my jaw in such a way that it was becoming harder to close when I would take it out. He was also doing some kind of relaxation technique on the back of my skull which felt nice and all - but at $200 per half hour. And then I found out my insurance covered NOTHING for TMJ. So there was about $3,000 out of pocket and I stopped going.

I have improved to where I have about 8 to 10 good hours a day before the TMJD (sore jaw, ear pressure, tongue numbess/tingling, headache) kicks in. Then the only things that help me are swimming or warm/hot water on the base of the skull. If I stop swimming a few days the flareups return in earnest and I get fewer good hours. Lumbar support when I am sitting seems to be helping somewhat too. Also I gave up stomach sleeping and now sleep only on my back and try to be careful if I sleep on my side not to tweak my neck or jaw.

I supposed I could try the splint again now that I have some of these other things are helping.
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replied March 26th, 2011
I know the doctor that you are referring to that is associate with Stanford. He is an exceptional TMJ dentist.

Is your concern the fees are too high or that you are not giving it enough time. Splint therapy is a 24/7. If you take it out it is normal to have difficulty closing the same way. Why are you taking it out other than to clean it.

Please consider contacting him again.

Although the fees may seem high to you, they are just. you will pay the same or even more switching to someone else and having to start all over again.
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replied April 4th, 2011
Experienced User
I may go back. My main objection was the $200 half hour craniosacral/electro massage a week was adding up quickly and no end in sight and it wasn't clear what it was accomplishing. Especially since these treatments were done in the morning when I feel honky dory anyhow.
I'd rather pay $75 for an hour craniosacral by a full time massage practitioner.

In the meantime - I have been excited to find this article online. It finally explains to me (indirectly) why I get relief when I swim. If I swim for an hour - my mouth is open wide much of the time to draw breath as I swim free style.
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replied April 8th, 2011
Experienced User
btw - I was wearing it 24x7 for a couple of months. Then pulled back to night only. Like I say it didn't seem that effective for me. And logically I am not clear just what it's supposed to accomplish. I mean if you clench without a mouth protector and this causes muscles and nerves to strain in your jaw - you will likely clench with the mouth protector.
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replied May 4th, 2011
does anyone know of a Neuromuscular Dentist in vancouver bc ??
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replied May 23rd, 2011
TMJ neck pain
I am not sure if I do suffer from TMJ but I do clench and grind my teeth at night and have done so for some years now. I am only 25 and for the past 2 years I have been suffering with left shoulder pain. In the past 2 months I have had pain in the right side of my neck. I am terrified that it will only get worse. I have seen doctors, chiro, physio therapists and a dentist. I am starting to loose all hope and don't know what to do. It is making me miserable and forcing me to have time off work that I cannot afford to have. I seem to get different opinions from different people. I have been told to use a splint/night guard from a dentist and the chiropractor but have not heard of 1 person that has had an improvement from using one.

Any advice would help.
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