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Tmj--->neck Pain

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I was officially diagnosed with tmj in april of 06. The cracking in my jaw has progressively worsened in severity and occurence since then. The pressure built up in my jaw and ears is driving me insane. Everytime I swallow my ears pop as if I just took off in an airplane or drove up a mountain. If I open my mouth even the slighest bit my ears pop. I was prescribed tylenol 4 for pain by my general doctor. The tmj specialist said that is way too strong for my problem and gave me a very small amount of tylenol 3 and 4 local anesthetic shots in my jaw (2 on each side) when my tylenol 4 ran out. Along with the severe pain in my jaw and ears, about a month ago I started to get really bad pain in the back of my neck. My neck now cracks and feels under pressure just like my ears and jaw...And it is getting worse. I have a consistent headache 24/7 and I feel pain and soreness on the top of my eyelids. I nearly always have a nautious feeling as though I am going to throw up in the back of my throat due to neck pain. I don't have the appetite I used to have and am finding it hard to enjoy a meal. The pain in my neck is making it hard for me to sleep and concentrate on anything but the pain but I am very tired. The frustration from the chronic pain is soon to drive me off the deep end. My tmj specialist told me that I probably have a low pain tolerance...As if I didn't have serious pain. This irked me because I truly am in serious pain. He told me to go back to my family doctor to get a referral to a neurologist for the headaches and neck problems. I am sick of being juggled around. If anyone has any suggestions, I am about willing to commit m-urder for relief, thanks.

Might I have meningitis?

Signs and symptoms

* a high fever
* severe headache - have
* vomiting or nausea with headache - have
* confusion, or difficulty concentrating - have
* sleepiness or difficulty waking up - have
* stiff neck - have
* sensitivity to light - have
* lack of interest in drinking and eating - have
* skin rash in some cases, such as in viral or meningococcal meningitis

i have 7 of the 9 symptoms here, I am starting to get worried.
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replied August 9th, 2006
Experienced User
I'm sorry to say, but other than rashes, you listed tmj symptoms. Have you been checked out by your doctor, though? My tmj caused severe neck pains for me for years. I'm under control for the most part but it is hurting right now. What I want to suggest to you is physical therapy. It's imperative to get a therapist who is trained in tmj and has worked with tmj patients. You will probably need to get a referral from either your dentist or your doctor. I can't stress enough how much pt can help tmj. (if you find a good therapeutic, trained in tmj, massage therapist, they can be a god-send also.)

tell your dentist that it is a proven fact that tmj is one of the most painful disorders there is. I'm surprised at his attitude. Tylenol 3 and 4 has never touched my tmj pain. The only strong med that I have found to help sometimes is vicoprofen (like vicodin but with advil instead of tylenol). Have you tried any muscle relaxants like zanaflex? What about anti-depressants? They can be great pain relievers. Are you wearing a bite splint?

With tmj you almost have to find the right combination of medications for you and the right combination of doctors. I have a tmj dentist, family doctor and a massage therapist. I did have physical therapy and a pain doctor (neurologist). For meds I take prozac and since prozac can cause night-time bruxism, I also take a very small dose of buspar. I also take lyrica which seems to keep the pain at a more tolerable level when I do have it. And when necessary, I take vicoprofen and/or zanaflex. I try not to get to that point though. Right now I am doing rather well. I am concentrating on my posture (especially the head, neck and shoulders) and it has made a big difference. If you are thrusting your chin forward when at a computer monitor, you need to stop. This is very bad for your tmj. Relaxing your shoulders back and down is very important also. Relax your body. Use moist heat and/or ice.

I've given you a lot of information kind of jumbled up. I hope you can make sense and use some of the information. I hope and pray that you get some relieve from the pain.

God bless...
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replied August 9th, 2006
Hi- I just wanted to say hang in there! I was diagnosed just a few months before you and I have all the symptoms you listed. I know they sound like they wouldn't relate to tmj but they do.
Right before I was diagnosed I had horrible headaches and lost a lot of weight with no reason. I visited a neurologist who diagnosed migraines but didn't relate it to my jaw. It was my dentist who told me I had tmj but he referred me to an awesome oral surgeon who diagnosed myofascial pain and tmj. I had physical therapy and a neuromuscular massage and am pretty much back to normal. I do have bad days where my neck, jaw, eyes hurt but I am back to work! I also thought I had meningitis- but after and eeg, mri and cat scan of the brain- and every blood test known to man, it all turned out to be my jaw.
Find a good doctor who can find out the best therapy for you. I am getting my wisdom teeth out soon which is causing a lot of the problem, but as carol said, posture is very important, and a good muscle relaxer. Good luck and you can contact me any time! Amanda
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replied August 9th, 2006
Thank you all for the sympathy. My problem is that my ent/tmj specialist doctor is very, I guess, conservative and reluctant to prescribe me meds. He likes to take things step at a time and it is a slow process. The worst thing is I am 18 right now, just graduated highschool and I have no will to do anything with my life as of right now and soon will be off my fathers medical insurance.


i have been prescribed naproxen, celebrex, ibuprofen, tylenol 3, tylenol 4, and ethylchloride spray. Naproxen, celebrex, and ibuprofen all are anti-inflammatory drugs that really did nothing for me. I have never been issued any type of muscle relaxant and the specialist basically scoffs at my complaints of pain. I think that he thinks I am a nut job or just a teenager looking to enjoy the euphoria the painkillers present, which most definitely isn't the case. Maybe I should look into a new doctor and a therapist. I appreciate your response and will take all of your suggestions into play. It is appeasing yet disturbing to know that their are others out there who share my problem.


thanks for your sympathy and suggestions. I truly hope fate has something better in store for the both of us. It is nice to know that there are people I can relate to. I will take into consideration all of your recommendations.
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