I've suffered from TMJ for twenty-something years. I think it started when I had my four impacted wisdom teeth taken out. My oral surgeon's technique was to make a small incision, then crack the tooth into small pieces to be plucked out. I think that he must have done some damage to my right side temporal mandibular joint. When I open my mouth all the way it clicks on that side. Ever since, whenever I had dental work done, my TMJ would act up.
Over the past ten years, I would tense up my jaw without actually clenching my teeth or grinding them at night. Thus, the standard methods of treating TMJ wouldn't work for me. I could also aggrevate it by sucking in on my cheeks too much when I was under stress. Eventually, this became one of my migraine triggers.
I actually was going through physical therapy on my TMJ, which was a combination of stretching exercises, massage, and heat&electrical stimulation. It felt pretty good, and I'm sure it would have helped a lot, had I not kept have dental work done. For about two years, I've been going through major dental work. I kept constant TMJ pain, which was contributing to 2/3 migraine attacks a week. I was taking muscle relaxers, but the inflamation never had a chance to go away between dental treatments. Unfortunately for me, the only anti-migraine medications that work for me now are narcotic in nature, and some new doctor saw me for a migraine after my regular doctor left for the day, and indicated that I was taking more medication, more frequently than a "average" migraine sufferer should take. I was cut off cold from all my migraine meds. I was supposed to be referrred to a "pain clinic", which I found out was actually a "DETOX CENTER" for people with heavy narcotic or barbituate addictions, like heroin and crack. Not what I needed. After over two months of trying to get an appointment, I guess the clinic manager decided that I didn't need their services. I basically got hung out to dry. I've seen a pain specialist at the University of VA Medical Center. She did one round of occipital nerve injections, and scheduled me for a second round, but changed her mind about giving them to me on the second visit. I got referred to the migraine specialist in the Neurology Department at UVA, but it's not until MARCH!!!
I'm still having dental work done, had three back molars pulled out this month. I should only have a couple more visits with my wonderful new dentist, then hopefully the TMJ will be gone. I was getting some rebound headaches, but I've figured out how to control them. But, Heaven Forbid, the weather changes while my TMJ is hurting bad, then I'm in a world of trouble.
Anyway, that's my TMJ story. Looking forward to a ending soon!!!
"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
- Jimmy Buffett