Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

Tmj For 2 Years And Only Getting Worse

Hi I am 16 years old and was diagnosed with tmj 2 years ago. At first it was just an uncomfortable pop on the left side of my mouth, and this only happened when I opened my mouth very widely. A few months later I statred getting severe headaches and throbbing pain in my head. I consulted my doctor and was perscribed imatrex which didn't do anything most of the time. Two months after that I noticed that the popping has gotten worse and was now on both sides. There was alot more pressure in my jaw area infront of my ears. The next day I went to the doctor and was perscribed flexoral, which I still take today at night. This doesn't really target the jaw area, it just helps me fall asleep faster instead of tossing and turning because of the pain.

The tmj kept getting worse and worse with increased pressure, constant headaches, and even popping my jaw out of the socket 2 times. The doctor sent me to a orthadonics braces place and they said that I didn't grind or clench my teeth enough for it to be noticible and that my teeth were in allignment.

I began feeling frusturated about my tmj and this is when I began looking to the internet for awnsers. Most people said that a nightgaurd is the best thing to do. My doctor refered me to another tmj specialist, when I called I was suprised to hear that they wanted over $600 for treatment and my family can't afford that right now. I bought a nightgaurd from a store where you put it in boiling water and it forms to your teeth. I began using that for 2 weeks and saw no change except for my teeth being sore from the nightgaurd.

Where I am at today is where tmj is interfering with my life, I constantly get headaches and my jaw clicking and popping has gotten out of control. I really need help with any short or long term help. Going to a tmj specialest is not an option right now because our insurance does not cover it and we cannot afford the cost. Please post any advice that you have, I would really like to hear any method that can help ease my pain. Please help me.
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First Helper catswolds

replied July 29th, 2006
Experienced User
i'm so sorry to read that you are having tmj problems and at such an early age. You can help yourself without any or little expense, so, let's get started. First, if you are popping your jaw, stop. I know that this will be difficult, but you have to try. That was my biggest problem at first when I developed tmj and it damaged my joints. You don’t want that.

Next, relax your body and to do that you will need to look at your posture and how you handle stress (that all 16-year-olds have). I know this will seem silly and irrelevant, but it is just about the most important issue that must be looked at and corrected. The position of your head and shoulders is extremely important. Look at how you are sitting at the computer. If you are jutting your chin forward *** stop ***. Your shoulders should be back and down with your head directly on center, not forward. And your chin should be down (but not too far down). Most of us have a tendency to hold our heads forward with chin up. Aren’t we taught to keep our chin up? Bad - physically; great - mentally. The website www.Nismat.Org/ptcor/tmj has some good pictures and exercises to look at (also some basic tmj information).

No or little caffeine. None would be the best, but you are a teenager. But try. It will help.

I don’t know what to tell you about 16-year-old’s stress. Maybe yoga will help or exercise every day. Whatever you can do to reduce your stress level will help you.

For pain relief now - use lots of moist heat and/or ice. Put the ice in a plastic bag and then a light towel around it. Ice should never touch your skin. See if your parents have (or can get) a heating pad that has the moist heat option. A "bed buddy" is good. Eat only soft or liquid foods and try not to open your mouth wide for any purpose (watch out for yawning). No gum chewing. And this will be almost impossible but try and not to talk very much. (i know.)

massage or physical therapy can be a god-send. But because we are trying to keep cost down, see if a parent or someone will give you a deep shoulder massage every day. Pay with chores if you have to.

Ibuprofen tends to be the best pain reliever that I have found (600 mg), but ask your parents first before taking any medication. I hesitate to suggest to a minor anything about medications. Most do not help tmj I can tell you. Even strong pain medications. But, talk with your parents about the possibility of taking valium or xanax at bedtime only for a few weeks.

I’ve thrown a lot at you. I hope you will be able to use the information and that it will help. I have had tmj for 26 years and done a lot of research and tried just about everything there is out there (except surgery thank god). The information I gave you is what has helped me the most. I hope and pray that you will not have to go through this nightmare. I do firmly believe that tmj is “curable” or manageable, especially if caught and treated correctly at the beginning. So there is hope.

God bless you...
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replied September 15th, 2010
Hi Carol I dont know if u will still be able to read this but if u do, I am having similar problems with carson and mine has been on for almost 4yrs.I am fed up to say the least. Can u pls write me or send me ur own email. thanks a lot.

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replied September 21st, 2010
I tried to use that night gaurd. It didn't do much of anything. It doesn't hurt to use it I suppose, but not sure how it could possibly help. They give you that night gaurd because they think your are grinding your teeth. From what you are describing, you have the same situation as me. I am no doctor or anything, but if your jaw is popping like that it has something to do with the joint in your jaw bone. Could grinding have caused it? Maybe. A number of things could have caused it, but pretty much it is dislocated, and when you open your mouth it pops.

I had the same problem. I have had this popping for 3 years now. The popping and cracking use to be louder, but now it is more of a dull popping sound from time to time. I think that is because the joint has gotten worse or moved further apart from the position it was supposed to be in.

I take ibuprofen when I don't have real pain medications.

I'm about to go in soon to get a referral, but I am not even gonna mention "TMJ"... I'm just gonna tell them my jaw is dislocated and pops resulting in excruciating pain, and then tell them about having my wisdom teeth removed. The doctor said I could have a torn disc or joint in the Jaw from the wisdom teeth growing in. I don't want the doctor to get confused about the problem, I know what it is. I am sure what needs to be done.

People get splints, braces or whatever to correct the problem. See if you can get an X-ray or MRI of the jaw area. I would steer clear of the word TMJ, though. At least I am, because the last time I went to the doctor about the jaw popping he mentioned tmj and said something about grinding my teeth and go buy some mouth gaurd. Then he tried to refer me to somebody, but it was so long ago I forgot all about it. BTW I just had my wsidom teeth removed that was my first step, now it is time to focus on the jaw . Your situation is probably different, but i figure if i got my wisdom teeth removed it would help me. Some people it makes worse or is the cause.
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replied February 18th, 2016
Your jaw is not dislocated. The tendons that hold the discs in place between the bones have become stretched. The discs are therefore not sitting in the correct location and the jaw is forced to bump up and over them every time it opens and closes past a certain point. The purpose of the splint is too hold the jaw joints apart so that the tendon has time and space to hopefully heal and retract back to its original shape and length pulling the disc back into its proper position. In order for this to work you need to wear your splints 24/7, only removing them to brush your teeth. The splints need to hold your jaw a little bit forward and prevent you from closing your back teeth together, especially at night. At night our jaw has a tendency to relax and slide back cutting off the airway. The night splint needs to prevent that to be effective.
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replied October 2nd, 2010
I would like to encourage anyone who is not getting relief from TMJ treatments to visit a neurologist and let him check you for Trigeminal neuralgia. I had TN over 30 years but was only treated for TMJ and TMJ was the least of my problems, TMJ aggravates TN. If you have TN, then the insurance will cover medical treatment for that. I suffered needlessly for many years as I was only diagnosed with TN 2 years ago. The meds I take now are allowing me to live pain free. I am in search of natural healing for it but at least I can enjoy life while searching
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replied February 16th, 2016

I have been diagnosed with TMJ by the dental hospital and then a week later told it was TN by my Neurologist. I have asked for a 2nd opinion and awaiting my MRI scan. I do have MS so this maybe a thing from this.

What pills do you take? I was given Carbamazepine 200mg twice a day and then told to double it after a week. I was unable to last a week as they made me so tired and unwell and the worst I had felt in weeks.

What symptoms do you have for TN? I do not have a sharp shooting pain, I get a throbbing pain and I can feel the pain in my muscle's and in the pressure points where the TMJ can be found so I personally think it is TMJ
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replied February 25th, 2011
I have TMJ/49 yo female. For the last year it has been worse. make your whole night time sleeping experience as pleasurable as possible. You may need to sleep alone to accomplish this.

FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT!!!!Accommodate your environment with a great bed/great linen, pillows-one that will provide support to your head while lying on your BACK TO SLEEP. Yes, lay on your back to sleep.

No laying and watching television.
Take Omega fattys (go to your local chiropractor for all the vitamins you need) to lubricate all your joints, even your jaw joints.

Stop eating and drinking caffeinated products--seriously.....caffeine deteriorated bone

Learn to relax, go to a chiropractor for TMJ therapy, it is a must....and it really should not cost a whole lot.....

You must learn to destress.
If you are stressed, then just simply pay special attention to not allowing you jaw to lock and pop, make it a priority in your health...overcome it..always be aware....if you have your palm on the side that is popping....and baby it with a massage....don't let things stress you....your health is the most important thing to you and maintain long as you have your health you are one of the most fortunate people living.

So, go shopping for relaxing music. Personally, I like to listen to rain storm music, the lightening and thunder and rain actually relaxes me.....get nature music....I think it works best, I go to sleep with a relaxed jaw...shut your door....put a do not disturb sign on the door. I am telling you the truth, TMJ control and relief symptoms begins with this all night program.

So, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will let you know, I have personally tried these suggestions and they work.

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replied May 6th, 2013
TMJ Disorder
I got Elbowed in the jaw playing basketball. I have a concussion and TMJ. I have been getting TMJ Therapy for 2 weeks and I feel worse now than before. (With the splints) My head ace is bad and jaw pain is always. Every ER I go to I ask for an MRI because the TMJ Specialists only used X-Ray to tell me I have a TMJ disorder. From what I understand the ER wants nothing to do with this. The Urgent Care recommends the TMJ Specialists. The MRI is supposed to show everything, including tissues, scar tissue ect. This is the worst Month of my life and it doesn't seem like it is going to get better. It sounds like everyone has seemed to live with it, I feel like I am fighting for my health and I need to make it clear to some doctors the board of healing arts in going to get some letters for not Fully evaluating me with MRI and find ultimate problem/solution.
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