Hi guys,

for the past 1.5 years my life has been a living hell. Non-stop headaches, neck-pain every now and then, I feel dizzy/light-headed all the time, i'm always fatigured, all I ever want to do is sleep. All of this is making my life miserable.

This all started about 1.5 years ago. I felt normal before, always full of energy, and then all of a sudden it felt like my head was clouded, which lasted for a couple months, and eventually lead to headaches and all of my other symptoms, which have not gone away.

I've been to the doctor countless times during this period. One doctor recommended me to a ent specialist, which eventually lead to surgery to correct a deviated septum, which they thought was affecting my sinuses, and causing my headaches - this has done nothing.

Another doctor said that I am suffering from chronic tension headaches, and recommended to get through them by just taking tylenol and trying to relax more to relieve stress - this hasn't helped either.

Recently, I got braces, and the orthodontist said I have slight tmj, but didn't get into any more detail. I didn't think much about this, but as my symptons continued, I couldn't handle it anymore and am starting to do a lot more research.

Could all of the symptoms I described be a by-product of tmj? Or is there something else wrong with me?

I will talk with my orhtodontist about the tmj in greater detail next appointment (january 23rd), and see if he has any options or opinions for me. In the meantime, is there anything I can do to help alleviate these symptons, if indeed they are a result of tmj? There is a slight popping when I open and close my jaw, but I typically don't have too much pain in my jaw (although at this point, i've been accustom to so much pain that I dont even factor in the minor issues anymore).

There isn't a single day I wake up and feel refreshed and healthy.
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replied January 15th, 2006
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There is probably a good chance you are clenching and/or grinding your teeth at night, which means you will wake up feeling like you didn't get any decent sleep. Before going to bed, use moist heat on your jaw(s) (usually one side is the biggest problem) to help relax the muscles in your jaw and face.

If you think that my suggestion is correct, ask your doctor or dentist for a couple of weeks of valium to take a night to see how this helps with night-time clenching/grinding. Also try and eat only soft foods for a few weeks to again relax the muscle. Also do not open mouth wide for anything and do not chew gum or ice. The better pain medication to take is either ibuprofen or if at night, aleve (only because it lasts all night).

If any of this helps, you probably do have tmj and a night problem of clenching and grinding. Find out if your orthodontist can make you a bite splint to wear while you are wearing braces. If he can't or doesn't know how to, check around to see if you can find someone who can.

What might be happening is that your mouth is subconsciously trying to find the right bite position when you are sleeping. That's why you were probably having problems before the braces. Now your bite is changing constantly confusing your teeth to have that perfect bite to sleep. A balanced bite is important to get good sleep for some reason. The bite splint might help stop the teeth from being so confused.

I hope some of my suggestions help and you are able to get back to some normalcy. It can be difficult but tmj is "curable" if caught early before damage is done to the jaw. Sleeping is so extremely important, so keep working on it.

God bless...
Carol
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