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Articular Disc Degenerated : Mri Results For Tmj

Hi all, I'm new here to this board, I'm Dee. Here's my little story.

I've always had tightness in my jaw for years, not pain, but a limitation in movement sometimes. last year while at the dentist, my jaw came unhinged during a visit. he reset it and since it was never right. I can only open it barely 2 inches now. I'm not in severe pain, actually the pain has subsided a lot, probably due to my instinctually changing a lot of habits. Ive had 2 splints so far which did nothing. Accupuncture, massage, biofeedback...I've tried it all. Still the same.

Anyway, I had an MRI, and got the results last week. The results read "The articular disc is completely degenerated adn as a result is not well seen. There is degenerative change of the left temporomandibular joint and there is midly reduced anteriour translation of the mandibular condyle on the open mouth views" The results also saw some degeneration on the right side as well.

SO here's my question. I've researched surgury and it just isn't an option (I sing...just cant take the chance of winding up worse). All the treatments I read about seem to apply to the jaw going back to original place or loosening the muscles. Nothing about trying to strengthen the disc (can that be done?). Can you exist (as in being able to talk, eat, etc.) with a disc that is barely there for long? Has anyone on here found suppliments and treatments to stabilize a situation like this so it doesn't get worse? I also have arthritus so I'm feeling like I'm on a downward spiral and need to figure a way to halt or slow this down. I'm not in serious pain, I just can't do a lot of what I used to (I have to sing different, eat different, be conscious of mouth movement or I get a sharp pain to my eardrum). Other than that, I can 'function' OK. I'd appreciate any input and thanks in advance for reading and replying to this.

Dee
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replied June 4th, 2007
Supporter
Hi Dee,
Welcome to the forum and sorry too. I do not have a disc on my left side and my right side is almost shot. I also have arthritis very severely. I agree with you about no surgery. You are in a really precarious position singing. Eating and talking are just about the hardest things on our joints. Unlike you, I've had a lot of pain throughout the years and just recently felt that my TMJ has come to some manageable degree with symptoms similar to your except I can't open my mouth even 2 inches (I'm about 1 inch or less).

Since we have such damaged TMJoints the things that I have discovered that help the most is - reducing stress as much as possible, keeping body relaxed and maintaining good posture particularly in the head, neck and shoulders. There are certain exercises that can be done to keep the muscles working a little better. Check out nismat.org, their physical therapy TMJ page. This has good info on posture and simple exercises. You don't want to overdo it tho.

Super Vitamin B12 Complex is a great vitamin to be taking daily. Also chelated magnesium and fish oil. I also just read something about another mineral that I'll have to look up and get to you. Some people do well with Glucosamine (not me). You really are going to have to watch what you eat forever sadly and be careful about keeping the mouth open too far for too long. I really do highly suggest having regular massage therapy. Have you ever had intra-oral massage? I find this helpful if done just a little bit.

You don't need a disc to function. Somehow the body compensates, but your singing will probably always keep you "tight." I know this isn't much help, but I really can't stress how important it is to keep stress out of your life. Right. That's easy to do. Not. But we have to try.

I will look up that other supplement and get back with you. Take care and sing joyously and pain-free.

God bless...
Carol
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replied June 4th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Hey
remember that a mri is only about 20% accurate. get a second opinion.
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replied June 4th, 2007
My Mri
Wow Carol, it sounds like you have identical symptoms to me and I'm glad you've found a way to keep it stabilized. I do take glucosomane on a regular basis now, but I actually started it for my knees some years back (although I'm bad with vitamins and minerals and tend to go on and off cause they make my stomach queezy often). I'm planning on seeing if I can get hold of this doctor who is a friend of a friend that is doing TMJ pain research here in NY. I'll see if he has any insights. I know the MRI is just a picture, but I would assume everyday people discover things be it a doctor or people like us that stumble on things by accident that work. I do have massage on a regular basis and learned some triggerpoint therapy that I've used on myself in the mouth to calm the tightness when I'm stressed. WHen singing, it's kind of creepy cause it feels like the lower part of my jaw is just floating so I've been training myself to sing with limited facial movements....this one is a tall order.

I will keep you posted on my doc visits. I plan on seeing a few people to get opinions and will be researching any hospitals that have an ongoing research on the disc degeneration situation. I would think getting into a study would be an ideal way to be monitored since I've been paying for all this out of pocket (dentistry is not covered by my medical), and it's emptying out my pocket, lol. but I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do right? I'm just thankful I've got the pain managable now and I pray it stays like this. Thanks for the replies

dee
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