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TMJ & Migraines- My Struggle

Hello everyone,

I have had TMJ for 9 years and counting and have yet to really find a solution to this problem that seems to keep coming back. About 4 years ago I had my wisdom teeth removed causing my TMJ to get considerably worse- to the point now at times I cannot even seem to yawn, sing or even eat a candy bar with out stiffening and some type of pain. Not to mention my TMJ is leading to tension headaches turning into migraines which is making me violently sick. I've lost quite a bit of weight simply from not being able to each much and from being so sick. These bursts seem to come and go- some days I'm fine, other days it is brutal.

In the past I was checked for possible solutions to my TMJ. The first specialist I went too told me without a doubt I would need surgery it is just that bad. The second told me surgery was not needed- I had a mouth guard fit for me, but I have so many problems with my teeth (they are soft so I'm constantly at the dentist having work done) and I have not worn it in years because I keep needing fillings- and every time I get a filling I need it re-adjusted by this one and that one. My jaw also shifts- so much that in the past the person who made my mouth guard actually recommended me to get muscle relaxers to help with the spasms. My actual dentist is wonderful and did tests and everything to showcase what side the issues are on, what muscles are being worked (showcasing the area the headaches are occurring) and everything else related to my jaw and problems. It showcased my jaw is not aligned properly and when I bite my jaw goes from side to side before both of my teeth touch. There was also possible talk that once my back teeth are fixed- the problem might fix itself because this tooth and that tooth wont slide.

Usually my TMJ is aggravated by excessive chewing (I no longer eat a lot of meats because of this) and often when I have work done in my mouth. After I have fillings done it is not uncommon for my jaw to ache for 2-3 weeks at a time. I was taking pain killers more for the headaches which occur to prevent them from turning into migraines- but lately I just feel so sick of taking this and that- I am hoping there is something else I am overlooking and can try out to relieve the soreness and stiffness my TMJ has been giving me.

I have tried all sorts of pain killers, ice packs, heat packs- my jaw still seems to ache and the headaches still appear. It's even worse if I am out and cannot take any medications- resulting in me being sick for about 3-5 days. My jaw in general feels tired and overworked, even when I'm not doing anything to aggravate it. Seeing I have been having these violent migraine episodes- it is starting to affect my driving and work- as well as causing a lot of concerns for my family.

I am switching to a new doctor soon- so I will not be able to get any appointments for the couple months.

I don't really know what my dentist can do either because this issue has been ongoing. In the past when my jaw would lock during the fillings he would do this massage that instantly relieved it- and I'm not sure if I should look into therapy or something to relieve this tightness. A family friend also said I have bad walking posture- and that could also be aggravating my TMJ as well. Right now my main concern is getting the migraines/ headaches under control and being able to actually eat. My TMJ is also affecting my sleep- I cannot seem to sleep very well due to the soreness.

I don't know if this matters either- but in the line of work I am in I work with computers and I also sew for a hobby- so I don't know if I need a back brace or something to keep my posture accurate to help with the alignment. I also have a mild form of scoliosis which I'm sure is not helping in this case.

If anybody has any advice/ recommendations- it would be great. I'm hoping for natural types of remedies, exercises or even recommendations for types of therapies (I'm not sure if acupuncture would work?). I'm petrified of surgery (and if possible want to avoid it) so if I could live with my TMJ somewhat comfortably with the bursts but have a way to counter them- I would be happy at that. The only upside to this that I see is my diet and nutrition has significantly improved over the past 5 years (I eat a lot more sea food now, take vitamins, eat foods rich in nutrients to counter the lack of meat, more fruits and veggies, etc).

Thank you everyone for reading and taking the time to respond. Any advice or recommendations is greatly appreciated.
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replied January 11th, 2013
Experienced User
scollosis is a result of TMJD. Have you tried inta-oral massage? h
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replied January 11th, 2013
You say that your bite is not OK. You probably have any kind of malocclusion or jaw assymetry.

What studies do you have? Cephalogram? Xray from your TMJs? MRI from TMJs? Measure of your muscular activity?

I think that you are just not taking the correct via to fix your issue.

You need to wear a splint that relax jaw muscles, increase intra-articular spaces, allows the condyles to align properly with the joints, and, overall, stabilize your bite and articular situation, and quit symptoms.

After that: you probably will need some kind of occlusal adjustment.

Good luck.
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