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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

I would like to add some facts I've put together over the past few years from books, handouts from Doctors and my own physicians and surgeons opinions.
First, I want to say everyone's opinion and ideas are important. We all learn as we go through this ailment....... I've had a lot of time to learn.

I was diagnosed in 1977. In 1989 with my first MRI, the cause was determined to be Birth Damage. I've dealt with pain and symptoms most of my life and have known what it was for for 28 years. I've tried just about every treatment known to man. I had numerous surgeries that altered my bone structure, cartilage grafts for deteriorated discs and the last in 1997, was removal of the deteriorated grafts, plus most of the already abnormal joint structure.
As of 3 years ago, when I was 50, I was fitted with a splint that allows the muscles to function for the joints without overworking and I now live without pain and symptoms. I did find Therapeutic Massage to be extremely helpful with muscular problems for the entire upper body.

There are a lot of theories on what causes TMJ and what causes it to be worse or to get better....I've been told it was [B]all in my head[/B] more times than I was, but it was physical & structural, not emotional.

About ten million Americans suffer symptoms such as headaches, earaches, tenderness of the jaw muscles, or dull, aching facial pain. These sometimes seem to be unrelated. They all suffer from what has come to be known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
These disorders can have a variety of causes and are believed to result when the chewing muscles and jaw joints do not work together correctly.

[B]The cause or causes of "TMJ" are numerous and varied. Most of the causes have created changes in the structural relationship in the joints. These imbalances and misalignments cause stresses on the joint structure and ability to function, leading to disfunction and pain. [/B]
TMJ problems can also be totally muscular in origin.

Some Causes of TMJ

Back Problems
Birth Damage
Gender - Hormonal Imbalances
Head Posture/Overall Body Posture
Ligament Laxity
Malocclusion/ Bite Problems
Orthodontics/Dental Work
Rheumatoid and Osteo-athritis
Structural Discrepancies
Systemic Disease- Infectious or Inflammatory
Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Stress and tension may awaken an asymptomatic TMJ. It may aggravate or intensify an existing temporomandibular condition. For stress to effect the TM Joints, there must be an underlying physical predisposition for the disorder to cause TMJD. If a patient has healthy dental occlusion, muscle and jaw function, stress would not cause TMJ Dysfunction or symptoms, but would likely produce effects elsewhere in the body.

Stress -
Approximately 80% of people seeking treatment for TMJ are women. Stress has become one of the most widely accepted and most harmful theories for the cause of TMJ Problems. [B]Frequently, TMJ patients are improperly labeled as having a psychological disorder if they do not respond to current treatment. Often patients are blamed or felt to blame themselves for causing and/or maintaining their pain. Without specific answers or credible explanation for their pain, patients will in turn feel self doubt, depression and to some extent shame.[/B] Family, friends and professional providers may even chastise the individual for “not showing improvement” adding to the patient feelings of alienation and depression.

Research -
Researchers have also isolated three different genes thought to be responsible for changes in pain threshold. [B]Factors including physical and emotional stress have also been indicated as causes of muscular TMJD. However, it is unknown if these factors cause the disorder or merely make the condition worse. [/B]

There is no doubt, stress will cause any health problem to be worse. Relieving stress is a great idea for anyone, whether they are ill or not.
This may help with some of the symptoms of TMJD. For mild cases, it may be a cure. Treatment should be determined after an indepth diagnosis by a professional who is very knowlegable about all types of TMJ problems and the treatment that will be required.

[B]I do not advocate surgery. I had surgeries due to not knowing any better and because I had structural problems. It should always be a last resort.[/B]

Cymy Sue

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