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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

My symptoms of (possible) TMJD began a couple years ago with ear fullness, headaches and jaw tenderness/burning. It comes and goes but has generally been managed. Until now. Earlier this year I began noticing how tired and strained my face and neck muscles would feel after talking for long periods of time. More and more as the months went by this tiredness and achiness from simply moving my mouth got worse and more easily aggravated. I also joined a band in April as a lead singer, which may be contributing to whatever this is. My voice often cracks and by the end of a few sentences I'm out of breath and all the muscles that lead from my ears to my neck to my shoulders feel extremely tight and tense. It has become constant whenever I talk, chew or smile. If I "squinch" my face and hold it there I notice how tired and painful my cheeks feel.

So I'm wondering if this sounds like joint degeneration or muscle strain? I can open my jaw pretty wide, enough for 3 fingers to fit in my mouth with relative ease. Although it does hurt the longer I leave my mouth open. BUT I have never experienced lockjaw that I know of and there is no sharp or searing pain every time I open my jaw. There is some mild popping and crunchy sounds when I open my mouth wide or swallow but I attribute this to eustachian tube problems.

If this is just a strained neck or overworked muscles, how do I begin the process of reversing this horrible ache that is severely hurting the quality of my life? I don't know whether to see a neuromuscular dentist first or a massage therapist to see if it's just built up trigger point tension or whatever. I saw a chiropractor a few days ago, and whether by coincidence or not, my headaches and jaw burning have subsided, but the horrible ache and strain from chewing and talking persists.

I was told by my dentist several years back that I do grind my teeth, and I also have a 50% overbite. Other tmj symptoms I experience off and on include tongue pain and dry mouth.

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