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TMD symptoms switching sides

Hello I am a 23 year old who after 3 1/2 years of tmd symptoms on my left side they have seemed to mysteriously decreased significantly. Only not to appear on the right side. I was just sitting there and the right side felt strange, no pain at the time. It just felt tensed up and after a week or so it began to hurt like the other side, with ear fullness and pressure that was similar to what I have experienced on the left side for so long. The night before this happened I was quite intoxicated and passed out on a kitchen table, so I wonder if this could have caused the change. I have also felt somewhat dizzy since the symptoms changed sides, which has bothered me a lot. I wonder if it has to do with the styloid process rather than the tmj, since I have a pain in the corner of the throat when swallowing. Also it does not hurt to chew, but the jaw often gets stiff shortly after eating. Maybe it is some type of arthritis, like rheumatoid. I just don't understand how something that has bothered me so much for 3-1/2 years could dissapppear so suddenly and drastically and now manifest itself on the other side. If anyone can offer some insight or relate to this it would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
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replied March 12th, 2009
hi -
Hi Ryan,
Not sure what the styloid process is, I'll have to look it up.
I have had some TMJ on both sides - and dental work on both sides that it a problem. But I also fell, face forward one time, on the sidewalk, where I couldn't really protect my face. I stuck my chin out to protect my face (nose), and got quite a whomp on the jaw. There was a delayed reaction - about a week later one side of my jaw hurt A LOT for about a week, and then went away. The ER doctor (who had to sew up my chin) asked if I wanted xrays, and I said no, it didn't hurt (probably numb!) so i don't know if anything would have shown up, but if it happened again, I would say 'yes', just to be sure.
I also have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and I know that can play into it. In fact, I'm having some overlapping problems now. But you don't need to have RA to have joint problems, and some people start getting OA (osteoarthritis) long before, particularly if there have been injuries, be they sports, accidents, or what.
Don't know if this helps, but write back if you like.
Ellen
57 years old, RA, FM, reflux, on Enbrel, Celebrex, omeptrazole (generic prilosec), and some vitamins and minerals... guaifenesin, osteobiflex, acidophilus.
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replied March 16th, 2009
Hi Ryan,

Sometimes when we have TMD on one side only, we tend to protect that side a bit more, and unintentionally injure the other side because it's doing most of the work. That, plus maybe the hard surface of the table might have caused the initial flare up of that joint.
I've always had TMD on both sides, but the left side flares up more frequently and painfully than the right (even thought an MRI showed that the right side is in worse condition).
Do you think your TMD is in the joint itself, or more muscular? Some good advice would be to rest your jaw, eat soft foods, hot/cold packs, and maybe try some gentle massage on your face while your in the shower. Hopefully it will go away on its own.
Good Luck!
Melanie.
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