How Do I Break The Pain Cycle Of TMJ?

How do I break the pain cycle of tmj?

I drink powdered magnesium in water every night. That helps. My tmj is due to trauma 4 months ago.

It has improved on its own.

It doesn't click and pop anymore unless I forget not to open my mouth wide and fast.

It just feels "loose" in there now. It used to be quite spastic.

I do jaw exercises that I downloaded off the internet from tmj programs that had high ratings.

I don't want a splint, every dentist charges several thousand dollars for one plus other care they give you.

I have a chiropractor massage, stretch the area, even adjust the jaw gently and uses ultrasound and trigger point therapy.

It helps but I want to be able to handle this on my own.


Joshua Answers:

Hello Anonymous.

Magnesium, good!

Doing the exercises, good!

Loose now instead of spastic, good!

Getting better 'on it's own', great!

Don't want a splint? I'm on board with that.

Some questions:

1. Do you think that the looseness feels odd because it's been spastic and tight for so long? Or is it really -too- loose? And what does that mean, exactly?

2. Can you give me an idea of the trauma to the jaw? Dental, car crash, got hit, slept is a horrible weird position, etc.

3. Does what the Chiropractor
does help? Does s/he work inside the mouth too?

4. Depending on where you live (big city, little town) do you have any CranioSacral therapists around? (And I mean, someone who ONLY does CranioSacral work. A massage therapist that took a weekend workshop just won't cut it.)

5. Do you have full range of motion now with your jaw if you carefully open it/move it around?

6. Do you clench at night? Did you before this started?

7. Along those lines, has this really only been going on for 4 months?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Feb 24, 2010
PART 2 - Answers - How Do I Break The Pain Cycle Of TMJ?
by: Anonymous

1. Question 1- It feels looser on that side because that was the side that was damaged, got hit from behind the ear and and skewed (sp) it outward. It probably became hypermobile in that all the ligaments got stretched. It felt like it wouldn't stay in its socket, or moved around alot, even popped out and that was excruciating. the muscles got spastic in reaction and from me trying to hold it in place without a splint. It still feels looser on that side than the left.

Maybe I'm over-doing some of the stretching exercises? I'm waiting patiently for everything to "tighten up" I know with one tmj surgery they can tighten the ligaments, but no thanks.

I was afraid of splints causing me an open bite and I read they could make matters worse ( plus I didn't want to fork out several thousand before it was all said and done.

I dislocated it severely in an auto accident when I was 16 so its prone to do that now, never as strong as it once was. I never had treatment or was checked for that.

Question 2 - Trauma to the jaw:

I was in the truck with my husband and we were on some rough terrian . we went over a bank and down it. the vehicle lurched sideways and we hit a bad bump. I'm pretty sure that compressed the joint and pushed it out of place when I bumped my head around.

yes, sleeping in "weird" positions has also caused it to slide out of place too. I use a cervical pillow. The ligaments and muscles didn't quite heal like they should have. see whiplash section.

Question 3 - Chiropractor

From what I read some do work inside the mouth with a glove, some do not (???)

Mine does not, finally found a young chiro. not long out of school who took extra physical therapy/soft tissue specialization or something.

He did trigger point therapy on the spastic muscles. He gently stretched my jaw the opposite way it was deviating, trigger point therapy on mt neck, traps, scm muscles and used ultrasound. He's the only one out of like 5 that did that. I did look up on the internet how to stick your thumb in your own mouth and squeeze trigger points that way. I did. it helped. It is still sore and stiff but not so much spastic.

I have to keep doing all this, moving fluids in and out of the muscles and getting them to work normally again. that chiro did teach me how to track my jaw thru slow open and close exercise.

Question 5- jaw flexibility

Not quite but better than it was. If I open to wide, it feels like its going to pop again. If I do the movements or exercises very slowly, I can seem to move it better. It feels so loose on the one side I don't want to overstretch it again and tear fibers and start the spasms all over again. This whole incident has taken a great amt. of patience and is very frustrating at times.

Feb 24, 2010
PART 2.5 - More Answers - How Do I Break The Pain Cycle Of TMJ?
by: Anonymous


Do I clench my Jaw? Not to my knowledge.

My last dentist (been a year since I've seen him) said my teeth are not worn down. I think I did when the injury was fresh as a reaction to the pain.

I was very stressed to over it, esp, with the neck pain I was having. It's finally going away. I refused muscle relaxers but took several hundred mgs of magnesium and soaked my jaw in Epsom salts using a hand towel.

As i said above, this was an old injury back from when I was 16, so I have had maybe 2 or 3 bad bouts of it since.

Question 7-

This is the worst bout I had being it came from trauma. Yes since Oct of 09 I've put up with this. I've let chiropractors twist my neck when they adjusted me. I think they kept overstretching everything,it was too frequent. always stretching fibers never letting them knit.

I did try a nucca chiro for a while. It seemed to get better with that and when I finally stopped letting it get twisted. the new chiro listens and won't adjust my neck because I won't allow him (at this point) and he just does PT modalities and treatments.

I've had bouts of tmj, some minor, some major ever since the head/whiplash injury when I was 16. never completely healed right.

Yes 4 months seems long. but when I read websites on dentists and splints you have to wear a splint for 4-6 months minimum. I tried a costly splint once and didn't help.

Feb 25, 2010
PART 3 - Joshua Answers - How Do I Break The Pain Cycle Of TMJ?
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Joshua Comments:

Thanks for all the details.

So it sounds like you are suffering the long term effects of an old whiplash injury.

And from an old jaw injury, with what sounds like a 'loose' jaw joint, meaning the ligament(s) holding the jaw bone in place is stretched. This isn't going to shrink back on it's own.

Surgery may be a good thing for you, but I bet with some work we can get your jaw to a much more happy place. THEN you can decide how motivated you are to get surgery.

Ok, until I get my Whiplash ebook done, here are my top two suggestions:

1. Like the chiro did, and like you have been doing, keep doing the self massage outside the mouth, and inside the mouth.

Right now the tissue is dry, crunchy, fragile, and painful. The more you work it, the softer, squishier, and pain-free-er it will get.

My ex girlfriend had a lifetime of jaw pain. Then she started to work the inside of her jaw when she watched tv at night. After 3 months, she had ZERO jaw pain, and now occasionally has to work on her jaw a little bit.

Anywhere it hurts in there, gently and patiently work it, with static pressure, small movements, pressures, and stretches of the tissue with your finger. Spend some time working outside the mouth, on the muscles through the skin of your cheeks/face.

Patience and diligence is key here.

Other than the (allegedly) stretched ligament, you can make everything juicy and pain free. If you do that, I bet that most of your jaw pain will be gone and then you can see how much of a problem that stretched ligament is.

Possibly you'll be able to keep yourself pain free, but will have to learn to be careful not to push that jaw out of place.

2. Keep taking the Magnesium, and find your tolerance level, and stay there for a few months. Read my page on Magnesium for Tendonitis and my Kerri's page on Magnesium Dosage.

Magnesium deficiency and pain and stress go hand in hand.

Keep me updated.

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