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TMJ treatment alternatives

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I'm a 19 year old female who has been suffering from severe tmj symptoms that have been steadily getting worse.

All of this started when I got my wisdom teeth out last may. 4 days after I got my wisdom teeth out, this horrible pain happened in my ears and kept getting worse.

I was also having bad headaches,back pain, and all that jazz.


After I went away to college, the pain eased up a bit. I didn't have to take the pain medication I had been on for so long.......I felt great.


Then, the pain reared up again,only this time,worse than before. The pain is so bad that now it hurts to do anything. It hurts to chew it hurts to pretty much do about anything. My ears feel like they are always constantly blocked and the pain went from being bearable to unbearable now im at the excruciating level.
I have jaw pain all the time now. It feels like I have a sore thorat all the time too.
I've been on medicine to help control the pain, but nothing makes it bearable.


Currently, i'm on flexeril and naprosin. I went to the oral surgeon last week whos fitting me with an nti but I need results now.


I've tried exercising and eating softer food,but i'm starting to lose it.


I'm a 19 year old freshman in college and this pain has pretty much started to ruin my life. Every four hours on the dot no matter what im dong,if the pain goes away, it comes back.

Im really starting to lose it and can't take it anymore.


Please,can someone please please help me so I can

a: sleep
b: not have to take medication so much
c: live my life

i know tmj is partly from stress. The fact that I had to go away to college and go through that and having my grandmother have a stroke and fights with relatives probably aren't helping.


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replied January 3rd, 2007
TMJ Answer A2061
TMJ can be managed. Simple, gentle therapies are usually recommended first. If those don't work, mouth guards and more aggressive treatments may be considered. Surgery is generally considered a last resort for treating TMJ. You might try some of the suggestions before seeking any more aggressive therapies.
1. MASSAGE the various muscles that may be involved in creating tension in the jaw. You can probe all of the muscles of the face, shoulders, and back of the neck. (Avoid the area around the throat.) Press on the muscles to identify extremely painful points. Massage the painful spot with hard, slow, short strokes. Do this several times a day until the muscle is no longer painful when pressed. To help you, you might be interested in looking at the anatomy of the muscles of the jaw on a website like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masseter.
To massage the masseter muscles on each side of your jaw, place your thumb inside your mouth and squeeze the thick muscle in your cheek (toward the back of your mouth) with your fingers. To get at the harder-to-reach jaw muscles inside your mouth, use your index finger to probe for tender areas behind the teeth, and use the finger to massage these spots.
2. LIFE STYLE CHANGES:
• Maintain good posture while working at a computer, watching TV, and reading. Take frequent breaks to relieve stressed muscles.
• Make a habit of relaxing your facial and jaw muscles throughout the day.
• Avoid eating hard foods, like nuts, candies, and steak.
• Drink plenty of water every day and get plenty of sleep.
• Learn relaxation techniques to reduce overall stress and muscle tension in your back, neck, and body. Yoga has been known to help people experiencing TMJ, as has meditation practice or other body awareness exercises.
3. OTHER HOME-CARE THERAPIES:
• moist heat or cold packs on the face,
• vitamin supplements,
• Exercising several times each week may help you relax, strengthen your body, increase flexibility, and increase your pain threshold.
4. MOUTH GUARDS
Mouth guards, also called splints or appliances, are used to treat teeth grinding, clenching, and TMJ disorders. Many people have found them to be useful, but the benefits vary widely. The guard may lose its effectiveness over time, or when you stop wearing it. Other people may feel worse pain when they wear one.
There are different types of splints. Some fit over the top of the teeth, some on the bottom. They may be designed to keep your jaw in a more relaxed position, inhibit clenching, or provide some other function. If one type doesn't work, another may.
For example, a new type of splint is called the NTI-tss. It fits over just a couple of top, front teeth. The idea is to keep all of your back teeth completely separated, under the theory that most clenching is done by these back teeth. With the NTI splint, the only contact is between the tiny splint and one bottom front tooth.
5. MORE AGGRESSIVE TREATMENT
Be cautious about any non-reversible treatment method that permanently alters your bite. However, if a mouth guard doesn't work, your dentist may recommend orthodontics to help re-align your teeth.
Reconstructive surgery of the jaw is rarely required. In fact, studies have shown that the results are often worse than before surgery.
6. DRUGS: Muscle relaxant medications may help. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) help reduce inflammation in the jaw stemming from arthritis or other causes of inflammation. Continue to seek alternatives and post your successes or frustrations here on ehealthforum. Good luck and let us know how you're doing.

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