Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

spastic muscles but no joint pain

Hey All

It is nice to find all of you here. I have been experiencing TMD symptoms for about 8 years. I have spastic jaw muscles and the muscle tension spreads throughout my body. From my jaw, to neck, to back, and even to my left foot.

I suspect I have a 'typical' history of someone w/ TMJ. Pretty high strung w/ a history of tooth grinding. The most significant thing is that I had a huge pop on the right side of my jaw from age 12 on. At age 21, after lots of pain and muscle tension, the pop went away. The pain went away, but the muscle tension has always remained. I've alwasy suspected the right side is somehow screwed up despite the fact that it is not popping now.

The interesting thing is that I've been to TMJ dentists before at the U of Washington dental school very early on in my symptoms when I was 21, and because I reported no jaw pain, they discounted me as someone who was just to stressed out and sent me home with some amitriptyline. The symptoms have never really gone away and the tension has become much worse over the years. As the years have passed and I've seen more specialists, I've become skeptic of TMJ dentists and think the whole thing is a lot more complex than they know. I did see one TMJ dentists in NM who seemed to be in tune with my problem, but had braces on at the time and he could not make me a splint. He suggested I may have to be on and off of muscle relaxant for the rest of my life.

Other dentists and orthodontists thought the tensions was because of an anterior open bit and I had orthognathic surgery a year and a half ago to fix the bite. The spastic muscles did get better, but still never completely went away. Interestingly, I don't even think I grind my teeth after my bite was corrected (grinding had been a major problem before). There is still tension though, despite the fact that I am not clenching my teeth.

I am now living in Oklahoma and just got a splint from a dentist at OU's dental school, but I am skeptic it will work. I think the muscle spasms will just increase on the splint. But my jaw is uncomfortable without a splint? What the hell should I do? Can anyone else relate to my symptoms? I think most of the pain, or discomfort, in my case comes from muscles spasms and not from joint pain. This problem has really screwed up my life. From reading other TMJ accounts, I'm sure many people can relate.

Has anyone had success with ibuprofen and muscle relaxants for long term (not short-term) relief of muscle tension? Thanks a lot for your time guys. I'm starting to face the fact that this problem is going to be chronic and meeting other facing the same problems is comforting.

Sincerely,
Matt
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replied December 31st, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Hey I replied tp your pm---we will get this under control. I use ibuprophen and at present flexeril(muscle relaxant) and i have minimal success with the ibuprophen. I prefer aleve--its longer lasting. If you need anything let me know--you already know how to get ahold of me Razz

Im sad to hear that you had braces. that very often is the cause of the problem or if you have it to fix the problem it must makes it worse.

so i look forward to talking with you Smile you fellow post fallian(is that what we would call ourselves LOL)
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replied January 13th, 2008
Tmj Due to Muscle Tension
I too have tmj mostly due to muscle tension. Thought it was just migraines & neck pain until I actually started having jaw pain May 2006 and even soft foods were difficult to eat. Had previously been seeing a neurologist for the migraines but he wasn't much help. The Imitrex worked great, but the topamax did nothing but give me side effects. Received a splint in June 2006 to wear 24/7. Received several adjustments until the dentist thought I was ready to have teeth "shaped" to fit together better. (I was still getting headaches & didn't feel I was ready so soon.) Sought a 2nd opinion from an oral surgeon, he said having teeth shaped would be fine, xrayed joints & they were fine, said I mostly had muscle tension due to stress & clenching. Recommended walking a 15-minute mile at least 3x's/week to relieve tension, also prescribed anti-inflammatory & muscle relaxers for a month. Now I only wear splint at night & when I play my violin (which doesn't help the tmj - the jaw pain actually started right after I was accepted to the newly formed local symphony and we played our first concert). I am probably going to quit playing because of it. I also have pain in one shoulder which I thought was mostly from playing the violin but may also be related to tmj. I still take the Imitrex even though I realize my pain is from my jaw and not a typical migraine (although I do have the sensitivity to light and sound), usually my jaw hurts first and my neck muscles tighten, the joint in front of my ear aches and extends into my temple and lots of times even my eyeballs and teeth ache. The imitrex takes all the pain away though. Sometimes taking aleve will help but not usually. What also helped a lot was a tens unit I bought after being treated with one at a chiropractor's office. My unit was only $40 - I put the electrodes on my cheeks/jaw and zapped those muscles all night - it was actually very relaxing. I went from taking 5-6 pills a month to only 2 pills for two months in a row, and one of those months included six symphony rehearsals and two concerts. Then I developed a reaction to the adhesive on the electrodes and had to quit using them. I've been on the internet and have ordered different electrodes that I hopefully won't have a problem with. I really need to get back to walking as well because that also cut my pill usage way down. Also, sleeping on my side usually aggravates my jaw so I try to sleep on my back, and sleeping in on the weekends almost always leads to jaw pain and a migraine pill. I also take a sleep aid every night - I can't sleep through the night without one. I was taking tylenol pm (didn't need the tylenol because aleve works better for the joint pain), until I realized they sold the sleep aid w/out the tylenol. I think anyone that is diagnosed with migraines should be checked for tmj problems, because you can have it w/out actually having pain in the joints. I also think all tmj patients should be prescribed imitrex, as tmj symptoms mimic migraine syptoms, and the imitrex works wonders for me. Hope this info helps someone! Oh, I also see a chiropractor once a week - starting going when I stood up one morning from going to the bathroom and passed out before I got to the door, attributed to pain/pressure in my neck (this was about 6 months before being diagnosed w/tmj) and the sudden drop in blood pressure from standing up too fast. I've also noticed that I can't "pop" my neck when my jaw hurts from my neck muscles tightening so much, and taking the Imitrex gets everything to relax to where I can pop it (even though I know I shouldn't). If you're interested in seeing a chiropractor make sure you choose one who is interested in getting the correct curve back in your neck, not just one people go to for a few visits to "feel better". Losing the curve in your neck stretches your spinal cord and puts pressure on your brain stem, which are the two things your brain uses to tell everything in your body what to do. Oh, and go to one that will take before & after xrays. When I first started going I had a slight reverse curve in my neck, I no longer have that, I have a slight curve going in the right direction at least, but I still have a ways to go. I'm not nearly as sick as I used to be though, and neither is the rest of my family (we all go once/week), because your immune system is controlled by your nervous system (brain, brain stem, spinal cord, nerves to every part of your body), and if you improve your nervous system you will also improve your immune system. Not everyone believes this but it makes perfect sense to me. The medical system can only treat symptoms for many things they cannot cure (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), but many people on medication for these things are able to go off their medicines once their spines are correctly aligned. Don't put too much trust in the medical system...after all, they can't do anything for our tmj either, you really need to see a tmj specialist - and not just any dentist can treat it either. Make sure they are experienced!!! Oh, the oral surgeon also recommended getting a massage once a week to help relieve tension - which I was glad to hear! I was already getting them after nearly every symphony concert because I hurt so bad, but I felt guilty about spending the money. Now I had a doctor prescribing me to have them!
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replied January 14th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
why were you on topamax--that is an anti seizure med. If you need any help let mek n ow. and dont feel guilty about spending money--thats what its for. if it makes your life better spend it.
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replied January 14th, 2008
Topamax
The neurologist prescribed me topamax because taken daily it's supposed to help prevent migraines. Don't know why - but it didn't do diddly squat for me. Maybe people with non-tmj related migraines have better luck with it.
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replied January 15th, 2008
Yes, Topamax is used for migraines now...it's one of the most widely prescribed and popular migraine drugs out there. I tried it for a while, but it didn't help me at all:(
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replied January 15th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
huh thats interesting---cafergot is supposed to be the best one for migrains. topomax is used for seizures so i just find it strange they would use it for that.
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replied January 8th, 2009
Help!!!!!!
Ive had chronic headachs and migraines for four years now. Ive tried every pill you can think of, seen many neurologists.. lately I noticed i clench my teeth and it really hurts when I work out. Dentist says i do clench and my bite is off but he isnt convinced my headachs are cause of TMJ because I have no clicking or pain in my joints. Is it possible to have TMJ HEADACHS With no joint pain? Please help desperate.. i want my life back!!
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