Sunday, November 17, 2013
I was diagnosed with TMJ disorder this week, though looking at some of the symptoms (headaches, sensitive teeth, bloodshot eyes, clicking jaw, sinus problems, etc.), I wonder if I've had it for years but just didn't have the pain yet.
It started with dental work last month. I've had lots and lots of dental work over the years, and I never had a problem afterwards (besides sensitivity), but this time I had a lot of pain. They told me since it was a big filling, it could take time to heal, so I waited a month before calling them and asking for an appointment. It turned out I had a "high bite' where the filling was too high and it hurt every time I bit down. They filed it down a bit, and I started to feel better, but two days later, I woke with excruciating pain on the opposite side of my mouth! The pain felt like it was in my jaw, something I had never felt before in my life.
I called the dentist office back and they suggested alternating heat and ice and taking ibuprofen. (They acted like the jaw pain couldn't have anything to do with them since the filling was on the opposite side of my mouth) I did what they instructed for a few days, but it didn't get better (both sides of my jaw started hurting by then), so they prescribed Naproxen. That did nothing, so I saw my general doctor, who prescribed 800 mg of ibuprofen three times a day. It helps a little bit...
In the meantime, I called my chiropractor because I had heard they can sometimes help. It turned out he treats a lot of TMJ patients! (I had scoliosis when I was younger and headaches caused by a misalignment in my neck. I started seeing my chiropractor again once per month in the last year) He treated me with electric stimulation on the back of my neck and he massaged the TMJ joint and adjusted my neck and back on Thursday. Friday I felt almost no pain! It was wonderful to feel so much relief!!
Then I woke up at 3am Saturday morning with excruciating pain on my left side. I've already been taking 800 mg of ibuprofen three times per day, so I didn't know what to do! I used heat and ice and after about an hour, I was able to go back to sleep. Woke up 4 hours later with pain on both sides.
I'm trying to train myself to sleep only on my back, which is difficult for me, but I have lots of pain if I try to sleep on my side. My chiropractor said he thinks the pain is from the high bite, from my bite being off, and as long as that was fixed, I should be okay after a few adjustments. I really hope he's right!
This pain is really hard to deal with. I'm on a soft foods diet, which takes away most of my favorite foods. I have to mix fiber powder with my foods and beverages, my stomach is getting upset from all the ibuprofen, and I'm not sleeping well at all. I'm pretty miserable, as I've been in almost constant pain since October 1st.
Today has been slightly better, I think due to sleeping on my back last night. I woke up about a thousand times, wanting to roll over, but if I put any pressure on either side of my face, it starts to hurt. I've found that pain is a pretty good motivator, actually. And waking up wanting to roll over is way better than waking up from pain!
I had heard of TMJ before, but I can now totally sympathize with anyone who deals with it. I've read that most people have a flare-up and it goes away within a few days. I'm hoping mine does, too. I had a dentist who wanted to deny it had anything to do with him, a doctor who just gave me pills to treat the symptoms, and now a chiropractor who will actually treat the cause. I'm really, really hoping his treatments work!