Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

Advice from someone who is being cured with physiotherapy!

Hi All!

This is quite a long post but I wanted to share my experience in detail in case it helps someone else. I am a 28-year-old female. Here is a description I wrote in a previous post of the symptoms I have experienced for the last two years:

“My symptoms are: pain in my temple, ear, jaw, throat, neck and shoulder - all on the left side. Sometimes it is brief pain for a few minutes in one or a couple of these areas. Other times (usually every couple of weeks) I get what I call an 'episode' where all areas start to hurt and I feel very unwell: light headed, exhausted and sometimes a bit nauseas. At these times I can't do anything except lie on the couch until it gets better which can take a few days to a week.”

This has been going on for two years. Initially I was told it was glandular fever because of the throat swelling - I was advised to just rest and take care of myself. Then they thought it was my wisdom teeth which I then had removed. Then they thought it might be that my fillings on the left side of my mouth were decaying so I had them hollowed out and re-done. Then I had a neck and jaw x-ray and they said nothing looked unusual. Then they finally came up with TMJD. They thought I might be grinding my teeth at night so I was given a mouth splint to wear at night which actually made my symptoms worse! Every single treatment did not work for me.

Eventually I was referred to a physiotherapist (at the Melbourne TMJ and Facial Pain Centre) and we finally found the answer. The root cause is my neck! The top vertebra in my neck is tilted so it’s higher on the left. This has been pressing on nerves and causing muscle spasms. Not only this but this imbalance has put my jaw position off so that the left side of my jaw is higher. If you look at a picture of me my mouth is actually higher on the left.

All of this is REALLY obvious in the neck x-ray pictures I had in the past! Even I could see it when the physio went through the x-ray pictures with me in his office. ALWAYS get a second opinion on x-rays!

My condition can be a result of neck trauma but it can also develop over time just from terrible posture during the day (especially at the computer) and while sleeping.

The physio works on my neck and back and also inside my mouth with a gloved hand to release my jaw muscles. I also sleep with three pillows in a special way so my spine is aligned. I have been seeing my physio for 4 months now and I have seen a dramatic decrease in my symptoms!! Before I would have symptoms around 15 days out of each month (I kept a diary) which is half of my life! Now I’m getting symptoms about 2 days out of each month and when I do get them they are about 90% milder than they used to be. Gone are the days when TMJD has prevented me from going about my daily activities. I never have to stop and lie down because of TMJD anymore!

I am down to seeing my physio once every three weeks (we started off twice a week) and we are moving onto stretches and self-massages I can do at home for maintenance.

MY ADVICE: Find out what the root cause of your TMJD is - is it your jaw joint or your neck? For many people, the jaw joint itself is the issue. But for others, it could actually be your neck and I would urge you to see a physio. My jaw joint functions perfectly fine and yet I have been experiencing so much jaw pain because of my neck. It’s also important to note that my physio does see patients where they do have a jaw joint dysfunction so physio may still be an option for these people.

I have shed countless tears over this condition over the last two years. Yes, I have felt a lot of pain and been unwell but the effect on my mental state has been worse. There have been so many days when I have been unable to leave the house to see friends and family. I haven’t been able to exercise or do active things. I’m doing a PhD which has been drastically delayed because of my symptoms. TMJD has kept me from living my life. I really feel like my life has been given back to me now!

I truly hope that this post will help someone. Good luck to you all Smile
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First Helper Finette

replied February 26th, 2013
great thaks for sharing !
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replied March 8th, 2013
I love this.

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replied March 10th, 2013
Melbourne, Australia? I really hope that is Melbourne, Florida.
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replied March 27th, 2013
Tmj help
Hi I'm 28 female from Melbourne I have tmj and it's destroyed my life I can't work I have so much sinus pressure upper nose teeth jaw migraines headaches I saw a tmj specialist he gave me upper splint it helps very little waiting for my lower one and injecting my socket can someone please help me who suffers from tmj how can I relieve this sinus pressure It's so bad to the point I want to end my life apparently my jaw is out of place and the disc pops when I open my mouth
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replied November 5th, 2013
Also Melbourne TMJ sufferer
Thanks for your post Finette. I too am 29 (Melbourne Australia) & have the problem for about the last 6 years. It was only the start of this year I started to see someone, but it didn't help, so I really need to see a proper specialist.

Completely understand where your coming from & glad you were able to reduce the occurrences. I will look into the "Melbourne TMJ and Facial Pain Centre" (just need to get time from work)!

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