Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's Always Something - TMJ



Seems like a while since I've done a post. I've been pretty busy.  What with my three times a week physical therapy sessions for my recovering injured leg (coming along nicely thank you) and trying to keep up with my gardening work, two whole days have gone by without a blog post from yours truly.

I have to be a downer but it seems like I have a new problem.  My left jaw is sore.  Not all the time but when I move it.  Sometimes the soreness is more intense than other times.  I thought at first it might have something to do with an old root canal I had done years ago.  When I was at the dentist a couple of week ago for my long delayed semi-annual checkup, my dental hygienist indicated that "there is some pathology going on there" when she saw a dark area around my root canal.  She said "It could be scar tissue or it could be something else."  I don't want to hear about the "something else" so I quickly convinced myself it was scar tissue and put it out of my mind.

Now three days ago I noticed that when I chew a certain way, pain results.  Not at the base of the tooth but above, where my jawbone attaches to my skull. "Oh Christ!" I think . . . . "what now?"  Of course I put it out of my mind and ignored it, hoping it would go away or resolve itself but the sensitivity and pain has stayed with me.  So yesterday I gave in and made a dental appointment.  That is tomorrow at 12 noon.  

My friend Pat is coming down this Saturday for a week's visit to Delaware and my home state of Pennsylvania.  I had other plans but he may be accompanying me to another round of doctor's visits.  

I did a little Internet checking on jaw pain and I discovered "TMJ", a "pain tenderness of your jaw."  Yep, that's what I have.

TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the connection between the jawbone to the skull. The injured temporomandibular joint leads to pain with chewing, clicking, and popping of the jaw; swelling on the sides of the face; nerve inflammation; headaches; tooth grinding; Eustachian tube dysfunction; and sometimes dislocation of the temporomandibular joint. Temporomandibular joint syndrome is also known as the temporomandibular joint disorder.

It said that painful TMJ disorder can occur if:


  • The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
  • The joint's cartilage id damaged by arthritis
  • The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact
I think my problem is either arthritis (which I now have in various parts of my body) or, somehow my jaw disk eroded or moved out of its proper alignment.  

I hate to seem to always be the bearer of bad news in this blog.  It seems that I have one health issue after another.  

My leg is healing and I can now walk without my cane, but I still carry it with me in case my knee buckles.  I am attending one-hour physical therapy sessions three times a week which are very beneficial to me. 

My leg is still swollen and will be so for months to come (according to my doctor and physical therapist) but I can live with it. 

I still can't drive but I can ride in the passenger seat of my car.  

I also still can't kneel and pull weeds or transplant plants but I manage by stooping over which I know isn't good for my back.  

But you know folks, I'm walking around on my own two legs now and for that I am grateful.


19 comments:

  1. Ron - I'm really looking forward to seeing you and Delaware. If that is part of the holiday (appointments) I'm good with that. We'll still get in favourite eateries and boardwalks and other towns to visit. The T in TMJ I think is for Temporary. So it may disappear down the road. Unfortunately aches in joints last longer as they are always being manipulated.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      Already you're accompanying me to two physical therapy sessions (you can count of me). l am so looking forward to your visit and hitting all the tourist high spots that Rehoboth has to offer.
      Ron

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  2. Well, soon you'll be able to walk to the dentist...lol!

    You might be grinding/clenching your jaws whilst sleeping, your DDS should be able to tell.

    :-)

    -Andy

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    1. Andy,
      I have my appointment with my dentist at 12 noon today. I'm pretty sure TMJ is what I have. I know I grind and clench my jaws while sleeping but I don't know how to stop it. Maybe he'll suggest a one of those Hannibal Lector face masks for me.
      Ron

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  3. Hopefully it's nothing serious - - you've already been plagued with enough problems. When you didn't blog for a few days I was admittedly worried. Two scenarios crossed my mind:

    1. Ron fell again OR

    2. Ron and Pat ran away to Los Angeles

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    1. Jon,
      The more research I've taken, I don't think this is serious. Of course the first thing I thought of was I have cancer of the jaw. I remember bears ago a co-worker of mine at the bank went to the dentist with a sore jaw and was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw. He lost half his face (and an eye) and, of course eventually died. I've never forgotten his plight. He was so handsome and successful and then cut down in the prime of his life. Of course I always overreact. My dental appointment is at 12 noon today so I'll know. I"m pretty sure I have TMJ.
      Ron

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  4. Ron,

    Good grief, you really need a break from all this stuff. I hope it doesn't mess you up for Pat coming. I am really looking forward to getting together with the two of you on Saturday. I'm needing a bit of a break myself.

    Lar

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    1. Lar,
      Nothing is going to interfere with Pat's visit this weekend and us getting together. The plans are still on to meet you in Wilmington this Saturday. We're going to the Apple store in Christiania. I'm getting an Apple watch.
      Ron

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  5. Ron, I don't know if this will be helpful but I've had TMJ on the left side for years. If I use an armrest on that side while driving, I'll get twinges. Combine that with an open driver's side window or AC vent and the pain becomes unbearable. So it's mainly postural and atmospheric in my case --along with traffic stress. Stress. If you're using different muscles to favor the injured leg, might be worthwhile to ask your doc about that. Best wishes for a successful solution.

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    1. Geo.,
      You have provided me with helpful information. I'm pretty sure I have TMJ, caused by me grinding my teeth while sleeping plus I sleep with my mouth wide open. I can't breathe through my nose and thus I usually wake up with a gaping mouth. Not a pretty picture but there it is. Also, I've had a lot of stress in the past few months which I'm sure has contributed to my TMJ. I'll know for sure this afternoon at my 12 PM appointment with my dentist.
      Ron

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  6. Your jaw, my ankle. I fear the osteoarthritis has migrated downward.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,
      Basically, I ache all over. Back, elbow, legs, now jaw. Can't stay young and vibrant forever I guess, even though in my mind's eye I'm still a snappy 36 year old in the prime of my life.
      Ron

      Delete
  7. Hi, don't think I've commented before.
    Regarding TMJ, a lot of people have it, to one degree or another. I've had it for years, it flares up, goes away. I've never had it treated, but it's never been acute, either. But by it's self, TMJ is not something to be concerned overly about.
    Hope you're well.
    Mike

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    1. Mike (Should Fish More),
      No, I don't believe you have comment before. Welcome! I think I've had this condition before. I vaguely remember soreness in my jaw but eventually it went away. My condition now, while not terribly painful, is noticeable but it comes and goes in waves. I just have to be careful the way I eat and the way I sleep. It seems to be worse when I sleep on my right side (my favorite side) than it does when I sleep on my back. Last night I slept on my back and when I woke up this morning the soreness was almost negligible.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Ro

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  8. Sounds like the gods are determined to keep you from forgetting the 'good fortune' which you have experienced, even though it's been far less than that of the majority of others. Always a spanner in the works! Hope that by now, following your appointment, it's turned out to be something relatively trivial and short-lasting, so that you can enjoy your upcoming time with Pat (even if it means accompanying him to see 'Mad Max'!). No doubt your next post will give us the news.

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    1. Ray,
      My dental appointment is at 12 noon today. I'm pretty sure TMJ is what I have. I just have to take it easy and try to destress (is that a word?) myself. Pat's visit should do that.
      Ron

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  9. The best azoth for TMJ is scotch. do not dare to question this.

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    1. Dr. Spo,
      I bet it is but I cannot abide scotch. It gags me just to think of it. I never got the attraction to this most wondrous of inebriations.
      Ron

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  10. For what it's worth, there's a lot of us out there who know what you're going through and have a lot of sympathy. My husband has had to deal with TMJ, and saying it can be rough is an understatement! But at the same time that really makes us want to give you some applause for handling it so well!

    Cynthia Bowers @ Bay Area TMJ & Sleep Center

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