TMJ Pain is Ruining My Life
When treating TMJ pain seems hopeless
Surgery may not be your best solution
TMJ pain may not be a jaw problem I've seen a lot of patients with TMJ in my Wellington office in the past couple of months. Patients with TMJ often see a large drop in the quality of their life:
"I feel like a baby because I can't eat solid foods anymore"
"There are times where I just have to stop talking because all I can think about is the pain"
"That popping sound creeps me out and drives me nuts" A lot of people will experience jaw pain for a day or two if they bite into a hard/chewy piece of food, but imagine if your life was plagued with jaw pain every single day. We underestimate the importance of our jaw, but it's the piece of anatomy that allows you to enjoy some of the finest pleasures in life. Everything from kissing, to chewing, to a casual conversation with friends becomes a burden when your jaw fails to function.
Desperate Times and Desperate Measures Severe cases of TMD can make people reach their breaking point quickly. Many of the patients that come to see me are usually looking at surgery as their next and final option because they don't know what to do. Even worse is when a patient spends tens of thousands of dollars for surgery but the pain doesn't go away. Procedures that help to remove or replace a degenerated disc in the joint is sometimes performed to eliminate this pain sensitive piece of anatomy. The problem is that a degenerated disc can show up on imaging, but it isn't necessarily the cause of the pain. Unfortunately this happens more often than you might think, and it's something that can make a patient with TMD hopeless if even surgery couldn't get the job done. This isn't to say that surgery is not the answer, or that surgery can't help, but we have to remember that TMD is a problem that science has yet to reveal all of the answers, and dental surgery is still working on figuring out what works and when it's appropriate. Source
TMJ Pain May Not Be A Jaw Problem There are many different causes for TMJ pain. They can range from abnormal jaw movement, tight jaw muscles, and degenerated discs. These can all be problem areas for a TMJ patient, but they all have something in common. In fact, their commonality goes back to some of the same neurological mechanisms that contribute to neck pain and headaches. That's why people with TMJ don't just have jaw pain, they often have neck pain and headaches at the same time. It's because almost all pain signals from the head and neck go through a small piece of spinal cord called the trigemino-cervical nucleus. .....Trigemino what????
Sometimes Pain is a Computer Problem So if you don't have a medical background, some of that terminology might jump over your head. Instead of thinking anatomy, let's talk about it like a computer.
Tight and tense jaw muscles
Central pain sensitivity