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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

13 months ago, my right ear became stuffy and wouldn't pop. To date, it still hasn't popped all the way. Sometimes I think it might, but it just partially pops and goes completly stuffy immediately again. Since then, I also have periods of ear pain that feels like a really bad ear infection. I've been to my PCP multiple times, my ENT several times and two Audiologists. I've found out that my ears are healthy with the exception of hearing loss. I've always had loss in my right ear, but my "good" left ear has gone from above normal to a mild-moderate loss in two years. It took internet research for me to realize that it might be TMJ. I went to my dentist and he agreed. I have been a bruxer for years. He recommended a TMJ specialist. While that specialist steared me to an incredible manual orthopedic physical therapist who could do myofacial releases and help me "loosen" some of those exceptionally tight muscular areas in my mouth, he didn't do much else and I still have the same problem. I got a referral for myofacial pain and cervicalgia that allowed me to receive PT through my medical insurance. I only got 8 visits though. I could have used a lot more.

I'm going on Monday for 2 1/2 hours of testing with a new TMJ specialist so I'll keep you posted on things. I don't have the money for full treatment right now, but I'm taking it a step at a time by paying for the assessments first.

A couple things that help make the pain a bit more bearable sometimes: heat--I like those buckwheat packs you put in the microwave for how they mold, muscle relaxers help some, non-narcotic pain meds help me sleep some when the pain is so bad at night I can't sleep. The triggerpoint releases did help. I have difficulty getting a full release on myself, but there are some trigger points in the masseter and pterygoid muscles that really do help. Basically, you find the knotted muscles and with your thumb in your mouth and fingers on your cheek you manipulate and squeeze/push until it "releases". It was extremely painful the first times I had it. It still really does hurt and it may take several minutes of massaging to get the release. That is why I have trouble doing it myself. There is also a release point of "ganglion nerves" up near the ear that really helped, but it was even worse getting the releases done. I cried every time my PT did the releases. I wouldn't let her stop though because the release does help. To get to this point, I stick my pinkie up to the top of my jaw along the cheek until I feel a "pea" type of knot. That is where I push. It would take my PT about 5 minutes to get a release typically. There is a book I got called [I]The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief [/I]by Clair Davies, NCTMB. It actually has diagrams and descriptions on where to find trigger points and how to work them. I also use the book for trigger points in my neck and shoulder that are also bad. Those muscles are tied to the TMJ also.

My new TMJ specialist also recommended a serious diet change to help the body not be as "inflamed" and help itself heal. I can't afford to see a nutritionist for help so he recommended a book called [I]Voltage is Healing [/I]to help me help myself. The book is expensive but I will be purchasing it when I am able. When I browsed it in his office it did make sense. It would be a serious lifestyle change though.

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