TMJ face painToday we have a special guest writer with us, Jane is sharing her story about dealing with TMJ.

For years I suffered from face pain, which was manageable to begin with, however, as time went on it became increasingly worse and more difficult to handle. I spent years going back and forth between dentists and doctors, who all had mixed views of what could be causing it.

I was told it was likely it was sinusitis and I was given course after course of antibiotics, but this had no effect. What was causing the pain remained a mystery for years.

Then one day I was eating lunch and I suddenly got an excruciating pain in my jaw and my ear. I also heard a large popping sound, and from then the discomfort just went from bad to worse.

How I Found Out About the Issue

As the pain was getting worse, and I was concerned it could be a dental problem, I went to another dentist. The dentist carried out x-rays to rule out sinusitis or a dental infection, and she suggested that the pain was caused by TMJ or TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).

TMJ Symptoms

As well as the pain in my face, the other symptoms I experienced included headaches, popping and cracking noises when I ate or yawned, pain when I chewed or yawned, depression, problems sleeping, and shoulder and neck pain, as TMJ can often cause referred pain.

TMJ Treatments

When I was referred for treatment, I found that the options were limited. I was given an anti-inflammatory called Naproxen, which made my mouth dry and made me thirsty, and it made little difference to the pain.

Next, I was offered physiotherapy, and although I found it to be beneficial some of the time, if I was in a lot of discomfort the exercises tended to exuberate the symptoms.

Later, I was given a prescription of an antispasmodic called Baclofen. I found it helped a bit to begin with however, it wasn’t long before I was on the maximum dose and I wasn’t getting any pain relief or a reduction in the spasms.

Home Treatments to Ease the Pain

The method I have found most beneficial is using moist heat to help relax my jaw when it goes into spasm. I also find that keeping a blanket over the painful area at night can help to relax a spasm and aid in keeping me pain free at night.

Stretching my neck and shoulders helps to prevent any tension building up, which can contribute to spasm in the TMJ joint, and evening primrose oil can help, but this shouldn’t be taken without medical advice, especially if you are on medication, pregnant or breastfeeding.

How I am Living and Dealing with TMJ Today

I have learned to control my stress levels much better as I find that stress is one of the factors that can make my symptoms worse.

I adapt my diet accordingly, and if the spasm is worse some days than others I find it better to eat softer foods that don’t need a lot of chewing.

I have found that getting cold will make my muscles go into spasm, so I take extra care on colder days, and I don’t let the draught get against my skin as I know this can trigger the spasm, which in turn will cause pain.

I have also learnt to pay attention to way I use the phone or other gadgets so I don’t lean to one side as this puts too much pressure on the TMJ joint.

I feel that anybody living with this condition must learn to understand their own personal triggers and manage these the best they can.

-Jane

Thank you for sharing your story with us Jane.

If you or a loved one is dealing with pain and you would like to share your story, please feel free to send us a message on the contact form page or leave a comment below.

Have a great day,