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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

WOW! Sorry of I write too much, but I am rather passionate about this subject because it troubled me for over a year. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one with these symptoms! I am 20 years old, junior in college, and it seems to be some kind of epidemic that is facing our age group. I have experienced the same exact symptoms- the dull headache that you wake up with, the inability to focus, sensitivity to light, plugged ears, stuffy nose(but not really), and the really really tight neck muscles. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who experiences these problems. I have also recently had the heartburn as well. In my case, the headache is predominantly on one side of the head, my right side, so I don't know if that is the case with you.

I saw an allergist, endocronologist, ENT specialist, pediatrician, acupuncturist, neurologist, dentist, orthodontist, opthomologist, everyone! I even had my wisdom teeth removed, although I now just wonder if that was a way for the dental surgeon to make more money. I have had this problem for a year, with blurred vision which has inhibited my ability to focus at USC. My grades dropped because of this, and I have had to take a semester off. Fortunately, I have recently gotten a handle on this, and I hope that what I am doing can provide you relief as well. I have been able to reduce my headaches by 95%, and the blurred vision, ear and nose congestion is nearly gone.

I have never been diagnosed as New Daily Persistent Headache, but that is certainly a great evaluation of the symptoms. Haha! In my case, I have found that there are several causes to these problems:

1) Bruxism- grinding your teeth constantly day and night, unconsciously.
2) Clenching- day and night, unconsciously
3) Allergies
4) Diet
5) Stress
6) Unnatural Bite
7) Drugs, Preservatives, Caffeine, Sugar

First of all. Stop taking unnecessary medications!!! I took sinus medications, migraine medications, nose sprays, antibiotics, and there is no reason to force your body to take these things, WHEN THEY DON'T HELP! STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY GOING TO HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT DOCTORS WHEN THEY CANNOT DIAGNOSE YOUR PROBLEMS!

You must make an extra effort to not move your jaw during the day. Do not swing it side to side, do not lift it up and down excessively, do not eat foods that require a lot of biting such as bagels, and chips, and definitely DO NOT BRUX OR CLENCH WHEN YOU ARE AWAKE!!! I have found that I do this unconsciously when I am stressed, nervous, overworked, etc. It is at first hard to do, especially when your whole entire head is sore, but it must be done.

Make sure that your orthodontist has fixed your bite so that it is even. In my case, I had worn a retainer at night for 4 years, and I think that during the night my body unconsciously would try to remove the retainer from my teeth, contributing to my clenching and grinding while I slept. I immediately stopped wearing the retainer, and working with my orthdontist, I have managed to make my bite more even. Part of the problem was that there was a little slide going on in my mouth. 1/10 of a millimeter can make you brux harder and slide around on your teeth. If your teeth feel like they don't fit exactly together, talk with your orthodontist or dentist. In my case, he shaved off some of the enamel from my teeth to make the bite more even. This has helped me alot.

In regards to the night guard, don't use anything that the dentist or orthodontist gives you. They gave me a night guard, to prevent me from bruxing during the night. They took impressions of my teeth, sent it to a lab, which made a little night guard which fitted onto my top teeth. IT WAS WORTHLESS AND A WASTE OF MY MONEY! I still woke up in the morning with the same headache. Furthermore, the thing didn't fit on my teeth exactly, and actually put pressure on my tooth, in which I woke up with a sore tooth! GO TO THE STORE AND BUY ONE! I bought this thing from the store for $20, which works the best. It is a big cumbersome thing that you fit to your mouth by heating it and making your own impression of your mouth. It is great because it is large and just absorbs all of the force from your jaw clenching down while you sleep. I have also found that sleeping on my back rather than my stomach helps to prevent the clenching during the night. However, I usually wake up on my stomach biting down as hard as I can. The over the counter night guard fits right between your teeth and works very well to prevent you from clenching and bruxing all night long. I would recommend using one of these larger night guards than the small ones that some delicately fit onto your teeth.

Keep doing your yoga/breathing exercises. Do not lift heavy weights because that will only make your muscles more tight. I have found that yoga and light exercises or cardio like running or swimming is the best. I lifted weights and my whole entire neck became like a rock and the headache intensified. Acupuncture probably helped me the most, and I am still working with an acupuncturist/qiqong therapist. This has been the only thing that helped me. Before I got the nightguard, and learned of the bruxing and clenching, I had reduced the headache by 75% simply by doing yoga/ Qiqong/ Tai Chi/ standing meditation/ acupuncture. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU DO THIS DAILY! If you are not hip to Chinese medicine, it is really amazing. This is the only thing that was able to provide me with relief. The yoga is great, but refrain from the head stands and things that will put pressure on your head. The yoga helped me alot to relax and release tension from my muscles. It is really a powerful way to help stress and tension which in my case was held in my head, neck, and jaw.

However, the most important thing to do is the standing meditation. This may seem boring at first, but once you get into it, you will realize how powerful it is. Just stand with you feet shoulder width apart, raise your hands in front of you, and hold them about 5" apart. Bent your knees slightly, straighten your back(so you don't have the natural curve), and concentrate on your energy(called qi or life force in Chinese Medicine). Do this for 2 minutes, and work up to 20 minutes every day. You will feel the electric current in your hands and around your body, and it is amazing how it will just move all of your headache out of your head. Just focus and imagine all of the pain in your head moving all the way down and going into the ground. I also recommend reading books on Qiqong or energy healing.

Furthermore, I had allergy problems which I think were contributing to this. I had hives, and I was given an antihistamine for 2 years. I think part of the problem was that I had been taking this drug for 2 years, and toxicity as been shown to cause anxiety, and nervousness. I later found that the hives were caused by food preservatives, and artificial sweeteners which I had totally cut from my diet. If you think that part of your problems are caused by allergies don't waste your money going to an allergist as he will probably put you on drugs for 2 years and then tell you that he can't perform a test for food preservatives. Simply do not eat preservatives and caffeine. I have removed these items from my diet, in addition to doing the other types of therapy, and my symptoms are finally going away. It is really hard not to eat preservatives, because they are in everything, but they have been shown to cause deformities in rats and their children. The FDA approved them in low dosages, but there are is still much research to be done in this field. Some preservatives include sodium benzoate, BHT, BHA, calcium disodium edta, sodium bisulfite, sodium sorbate, and benzoic acid. These are the most common. I also stopped drinking caffeine which I think can contribute to the stress to your body, the nervousness, and the bruxing and clenching. I also stopped smoking and drinking wine which I did infrequently.

These are the things that helped me. I hope they can help you as well, and hang in there, I was in the exact same position that you are in. Fortunately, I figured this out before my bank account went totally dry after paying all the doctors bills. Good luck my fellow New Daily Persistant Headache Sufferer!

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