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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

I can relate a lot to this, I'm 21 and my TMJ started at about 19.

I've always had anxiety ever since my late childhood. It became more severe when I grew up, one event I remember specifically at about age 15 maybe was me walking around town a lone in the dark with an old friend and an older man in a car that was parked with lights off started the car basically charging forward laying on his horn and looking at us -- I don't know why but it just gave me the chills and my stress system went into a panic, I remember after that my anxiety got so bad I didn't want to sleep alone and I was afraid of the dark, most nights I would wait until the sun went up to sleep, and I hated walking in the dark from that point on, especially alone. Anyways, the point is I always had anxiety but that's when it became more extreme, it was probably just a trigger but before that it was mostly social, after that I realized my stress system couldn't handle much and it became generalized and panic disorder at times. I went through high school fine for about a year but my anxiety was still so bad I begged my dad for help and I eventually got on Zoloft. It helped for about 4 months if I remember right and then out of no where I had a seizure one day waking up. Long story short, I had more seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I got on a medication called depakote and it worked great for controlling seizures and even eased my anxiety a little (not near as much as Zoloft) but it also made me put on some weight (side effect), which sucked.

Anyways, getting to the part where I can relate to you, when I was 19 I was in an intense relationship, emotionally demanding and unhealthy, it caused me a lot of needed stress and at that time I was heavy into smoking the reefer if you know what I mean, so when I smoked to much of it I had heavy anxiety, long story short I started feeling trouble swallowing, pressure in ears/full ears (which made me think I had some kind of blockage and probably caused me to obsess over it), and I always seemed to be coughing/clearing my throat, I also had some ear pain (phantom pain or however they describe it now), but after a generalized doctor I ended up at an ENT and they tried to diagnose me with GERD or say it was nothing, so eventually they "came to the conclusion" I needed my tonsils out and I ended up having the surgery thinking it was going to fix everything, after that I felt fine for a couple weeks (the drugs they had me on healing took my mind of anything and everything) and then I felt like the problem wasn't fixed, lately I've researched that surgeries can make symptoms worse and honestly wish there was a way I could sue them.

I now have major TMJ problems, heavy anxiety, and mild ocd symptoms (not diagnosed) from the pain and discomfort I've been in. It really sucks but lately I came into some money from a car accident settlement and I went to a TMJ specialist. I got an orthotic (different than a splint I guess) and it seemed to be super irritating at first and some nights it seemed super soothing and helpful. I was too depressed and distracted to keep it in every night and day for awhile but one week I wore it almost every night and I felt great at night. Recently I had it adjusted and now it seems to be hurting my teeth, one tooth in specific and feels uncomfortable, it I'm hoping it will get better again I might have to go see them and address the problem.

The main problem is there is no 100% guarantees with most treatments, but some people testify that they work. I would [B]never[/B] recommend surgery for it, also I don't really recommend a dentist either, they don't specialize in the problem. I would suggest first trying to relax (advice I tell myself but can't do), buy aromatherapy lotion from bath and body and rub it on your shoulders and arms before bed, try to not clench your teeth if you notice, meditate, avoid gum or hard crunchy or sharp foods, and get good sleep... I myself don't seem to have a jaw lock but my opening is somewhat limited compared to what it originally was, I can still eat fine (not foods like chips, hard pretzels, gum) I guess some cases go away on there own but not if it's too severe. If you still don't feel better in the months to come & have symptoms like sore jaw, sore neck/shoulders, sensitive teeth, ear pressure, trouble swallowing, joint noises I suggest maybe looking into a TMJ specialist (not a dentist)... they are pricey but if you have good insurance it might cover.

Research the best one in your area and make sure you describe to them all your problems and be 100 percent honest about everything. If you do just make sure you find the right one, one who isn't pushy but seems to understand your problems and look out for your well being, Good luck seriously, I still live with my parents too and I feel this is the main reason I'm having trouble getting on my own.

EDIT: sorry for the long post, I keep thinking of more things to add, but also.. if you feel yourself having a stress come on literally try and calm yourself sometimes I say this to myself when I'm feeling hopeless or stressed out "this too shall pass", also maybe Zoloft isn't for you if it's causing side effects, go back and talk to someone maybe and either get on a different medication or just talk to a therapist, I myself have realized anxiety and stress are 50 percent of my problem. The rest is pain, but 50 percent of the time it's caused by these 2. TMJ is also known to be developed by stress in combination with teeth grinding and misalignment according to my research, from what I pick up you obsess a lot over things like me, try not to if you can, I can't seem to take my own advice sometimes but from someone else's prospective it might be easier, if you know you're in pain and having these symptoms don't doubt yourself though. Just try not to stress over it. Anyways, as with the insurance it's something I would definitely discuss with your mom, and also maybe since it's covered now just go get an evaluation at the best TMJ specialist near your area and just see what they have to say... you don't have to go forward with anything you could just get the evaluation, they take x rays and ask you questions, etc.

Btw, now that you're living at home I would suggest saving a portion of your paycheck back in a savings account if you can afford to each month just in case you need treatment when you're not covered. Cash always speaks loud to any doctors, just make sure if you spend your own money you've done your research first. :)

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