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Wooster

TMJ care?

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What do you to do take care of your TMJ pain?

I feel like I've asked this before, but can't find it for some reason.

Mine is acting up to the point that I'm getting stupid headaches and can't chew hard foods very well again. Tylenol helps a minor amount.

Apparently moist, warm compresses are a thing. I'm trying to figure out how to accomplish that.

I've also been trying to do some of the PT exercises where you put your fist under your chin and press down to open your mouth just a bit. It doesn't really seem to help or hurt particularly. I guess it's one of those "long term" things that's supposed to help rather than immediate relief.

 

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Have you talked to a dentist?

They can create a bite guard to wear while you sleep which eases the clenching of your jaws, and eliminates the pain. I've used one for probably over 25 years. (Stress seems to be a long-standing issue for me...) When I was originally diagnosed, I'd reached a point where my jaws would spasm and I'd be unable to open my mouth in the morning for about an hour while I massaged the muscles and got them to release.

The cost can be significant, but dental insurance frequently covers at least part of the cost. 

In the interim, I'd suggest warm compresses and some kind of NSAID. If Tylenol isn't cutting it, perhaps ibuprofen or naprosyn.

Good luck.

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Thanks, in_media_res

I have totally been putting off going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I would *almost* rather go to the gynecologist, but both are high up on my list of things I Do Not Like.

I had an NTI about 10 years ago, but I ended up swallowing it. I'll have to ask about other options. I have thought about going to the drug store to see what's available there, but I suspect none of it will be as good as custom fit ones.

When you do your warm compresses, do you just heat them in the microwave or use warm tap water?

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Just warm tap water. Although I do have a heating pad that has a thin foam insert you can soak in water for a nice moist heat. I use that if it's bad, and for my gout flare-ups.

My bite splint would be pretty hard to swallow. It's large, and it's molded to my upper teeth so once it's on, it's not going anywhere. Of course, if you're not big on the dentist, you might not enjoy the casting process to create the mold. I've used the over the counter ones a few times -- I've had several of the custom ones wear out, and I use those to tide me over until I can get to the dentist and have a new one made. They're ok...they're  not as comfortable, and generally don't work as well. But much better than nothing.

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I got a custom biteguard from the dentist (and I didn't go to the dentist for 10 years, even though I had coverage).  Ativan and a dentist with a dog help.

I also saw a chiro.  I still click, but I don't have pain anymore.  

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I usually just take a good few minutes throughout my day to massage my jaw and temples, it gives that immediate rush of relief and is (for me anyways) a good way to relax your body.

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Go to Walmart and get the $5 mouthguard with the football stuff. It's a boil to fit thing. I had a dentist that swore by this - but was specific, it's the $5 not the $9 one.

Prices might've changed, it's been a few years.

I have a dog, so I got a couple. Dogs are notorious for eating mouthguards. I'm careful and haven't had an issue, but at $5 it wasn't a steep investment.

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I'm sorry Woo. TMJ is a pain, no pun intended. I also have terrible TMJ. Caffeine makes mine much much worse even if I only drink coffee in the morning. I got a mouth guard fitted by my dentist but I thought it just made my TMJ worse. I ended up biting it in half.  Stress definitely makes my TMJ worse.

There is a soft rubber mouth guard one size fits all that I saw recommended here at CB for TMJ. Don;t remember the name, but I'll look.

Warm long lasting compress idea I found for my girl: put a cup or more of rice in a stocking bottom. Cut off above the ankle, tie and put in the microwave. It stays hot for a LONG time and the rice makes it moist. Really works great though you can toast the rice if you leave it in the microwave too long. I think we did 30 seconds but we have a low energy microwave.  

There are masseuses who specialize in TMJ.  This is what my doctor recommended. But unlike my back I can massage my own face. There are many instructional videos on Youtube. This guy is a hoot:

 

 

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Thanks for the pro tips, all.

Geek, I wondered about the boil to fit mouth guards. I haven't had once since 10th grade basketball... way back in the waaaaaaaaaay back machine.

Crass, that's a great idea. It might be a good idea to set an alarm on my phone for a couple of times a day.

Jarn, what did the chiro do for the TMJ? I think when I *finally* break down and schedule my cleaning I will take at least one Klonipin and bring another with me, and  pour myself into a taxi with a note pinned to my shirt if I'm too loopy to take the bus.

Oh. Thanks for reminding me about the rice in the sock trick, water. I'll check out that video too.

 

I happen to have some nice long socks in the box of stuff that I'm donating, so I pulled them out and put a bunch of rice in one. I'm trying to figure out how to get it on both sides of my face at the same time. I'm sure it's delightfully amusing to watch

 

 

 

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I've tried the boil and fit mouth guards, and if you have any issues with having things in your mouth, despite the lengthy and icky fitting process, custom is the only way to go.

And here's a weird one: install a hand-held shower head with adjustable settings in your shower, set the water hot, focus it down to a narrow jet, and point it at hinge of your jaw til it relaxes. It's like a vibrating bed for your mandibular muscles. Aim carefully, because power washing your eardrums or sinuses = not fun.

And last but not least, you want muscle relaxants. I prefer Midrin. 

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12 hours ago, Wooster said:

Jarn, what did the chiro do for the TMJ? I think when I *finally* break down and schedule my cleaning I will take at least one Klonipin and bring another with me, and  pour myself into a taxi with a note pinned to my shirt if I'm too loopy to take the bus.

 

 

 

 

What did he do...geez, I'm forgetful.  He massaged the muscles around the joint, and had me open and close while he manipulated the joint and massaged (IT HURT), I remember that.  There was no popping of the joint into place though, for me anyways.  My dentist suggested chiro and I was like 'Huh!  I guess it IS a joint...good point!'  I never would've thought of it on my own.  

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