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Temporomandibular Joint Disorder TMJ information sought

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Hi, it's Tracy here, :-D

I have posted a thread about yoga helping my jaw problem and how it has reduced discomfort.

Unfortunately it has not resolved my jaw, skull and neck tension and I am still in pain at time (well a lot this last week). I am wondering about TMJ and whether that is the problem. (Note I had a clear CT scan in March 2011).:confused: I have attached TMJ info link here .


I know my surgeon incised the termporal muscle to do the brain surgery. My jaw has been out on both sides ever since (confirmed by specialist TMJ physiotherapist).

I wonder what else to try to relieve the tension/pain I get in my jaw, ears, neck & shoulders.

My GP referred me to a prosthodontist. I didn't go as my dentist said the jaw problem does not appear to have a dental cause.

I have tried massage, physiotherapy and osteopathy.

I am considering (as well as my yoga) trying CranioSacral therapy and maybe Feldenkrais .

Has anyone any advice or experience around TMJ and helpful therapy or interventions?

thank you in anticipation


Narrabeen (where the bandicoots roam)

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Hi Tracy

I'm surprised at your dentist's reaction. I'm assuming that he's disregarded any misaligned crowns or fillings and not looked any other causes.

I worked in a dental practice for 11 years and TMJ was a very common problem. The worst culprits for this is biting your nails and nightime teeth clenching (which can be caused by stress). When you bite your nails you're putting your jaw into positions that it's not designed for and therefore putting it out of alignment. This can also cause your jaw to click and sometimes get stuck.

Night time teeth clenching (main culprit of this is stress) can also be the cause of headaches (even migraines) and all sorts of neck/head pain. You can have a soft mouth guard made that you wear at night. We used to get very good results with patients who wore these, at the same time asking them to look at the levels of stress in their lives. If this didn't work we then referred them to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in Edinburgh. I'm not sure what a prosthodonist is and whether it's the same as an O and M Surgeon in the UK.

My sister had very good results, for her 4 month colicy baby who never slept!, with craniosacral therapy. Again it was the stress of the colic which in turn was causing him to tense his wee muscles. She took him once per week initially (and then fortnightly and then monthly) for this and after each session he would sleep very soundly for about 4 hours and for the next few days he would be much more relaxed. He was even getting constipated (he was fully breastfed) but again things would go back to normal after a session. It was quite amazing, pity this is not available on our NHS.

Hope this helps a little.

Edited by Liz D
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Tracy, I don't have TMJ but I do get cranial sacral therapy. I get it for the tightness in my head, the pain in my temples, and the sinus pain/problems since my SAH. All are relieved immediately during a session and after each session the relief has lasted longer. I was going 2 or 3 times a week, now I go to chiro once a week but only need cranial sacral once a month.

Chiro explained to me that there are 22 bones that make up the skull. Isn't that amazing? These bones get out of alignment for all sorts of reasons including birth! I've seen some video on the Internet where cranial sacral is made up of sudden snaps and cracks. My chiro is very gentle and there are no quick movements on my head. The session takes about 20 minutes and I almost go to sleep. It's very relaxing and it feels like waves moving in my head. My sinuses clear right up, my front teeth stop hurting, and the pressure is relieved.

After my first sessions I would feel my head going back out of alignment a few hours later. It was very similar to the feeling of your arm being out of joint. Now it just stays where it's supposed to be.

Sandi K.

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Hi Tracy

I know a bit about TMJ as i was told i have it 2 years ago. My symptoms were my teeth were constantly hurting but the dentist said there was nothing wrong with them. I went to the maxiofacial in the hospital who pressed and prodded which really hurt. I have a lot of back teeth missing which i lost after my first child so now my biting is misaligned plus think i am grinding at night. I have a mouth guard i wear every night now to help this but still have problems. It has been a problem for ages now and really gets me down with tooth pain. but the dentist says its not the teeth but the nerves making it feel like tooth pain. I have even resorted to ask the dentist to take them all out to stop it. He is very reluctant as he feels i will still have the pain even with no teeth. I just live of pain killers since then

Would love to know what cranial sacral therepy is, as i will try anything to help.

Take care

Traci S xx

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Hi Sandi

The therapist that attended to my little nephew was very gentle also. She would gently put her hands on his head and down his spine. His birth was quite troublesome, my sister was in labour for 3 days before it was decided he was stuck and she had an emergency C section. He was born with red/blue marks on his face (over his forehead and down the side of his nose) and it was the cranio therapist that explained these were caused by him being stuck and because of this his skull bones were out of alignment. She also advised my sister to give him a dummy (pasifier) as this would help re-align the bones on the base of his skull. He wouldn't take one so my sister used to let him suckle on her pinkie and at the same time she would massage his upper mouth. I saw my nephew being very grumbly and uncomfortable before a session and within 5 mins he was very relaxed, went to sleep and as I said before he would go on to sleep for about 4 hours! I'd never heard of this and was quite amazed by the results.

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Thanks Sandi, Traci, Win & Liz

Thank you for the information and advice regarding TMJ & cranio sacral therapy.

I do believe this problem is a result of the brain surgery operation and having my temporal muscle incised as I never had muscle problems in my neck, jaw and around my ears before. I do know that stress and pain escalates the whole problem for me and I do end up being more tense in my jaw and neck whilst trying to sleep (no sign of teeth grinding but I probably do clench my teeth).

I will certainly try cranio sacral massage and talk to my dentist again when I go next. I am willing to try most sensible things to see if they help as long as it is affordable and give me relief. I probably won't bother with the surgeon though as he has given me next to no follow up informaton.

I appreciate having your thoughtful input and sharing of experiences. I'll let you know how I go. I am going to try to get a cranio-sacral appointment soon.



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  • 1 month later...

Hello friends

I wanted to give a quick update on how I am managing TMJ the inflammation I experience through my jaw, skull, neck and shoulders.

FYI I had SAH and clipping nearly 2 years ago. Pain in head, jaw and neck area has been persistent but has flared up in recent months.

I think that my driving to work (2hrs per day, 4 days per week) and computer work aggravates head, neck and shoulder area. Not a surprise is it?

Also some exercises that put pressure on that area aggravate too e.g. the mountain poses in yoga, lifting weights).

My GP confirmed the inflammation I felt in my head and shoulder area was TMJ - my pain had a name, and that made me feel better. He also advised me not to take Ibuprofen anti-inflammatory medication, which I didn't know was not good for people who had SAH.

With his help I got a health plan where I get some limited subsidy on health treatments. I can get some rebate for 5 physiotherapy treatments, fixed $ rebate on some dental (who also have a way to treat TMJ) and rebate on another treatment of my choice.

The physio is fantastic and I love her because she helps reduce my pain. She has excellent training in cranio-sacral therapy and this is just the right treatment for me now. I have had a lot of massage and light osteopathy work before, but this is the trick at this time.

A good friend helped me find her. He searched the internet for people who specialised in cranio-sacral therapy, checked the amount of training they had done and found me the best one. I hope you don't mind if I quote him here where he replied to my email thanking him for his help:

That's great that you have found something that can help, and yes I wondered about certain yoga stretches,

some may be helpful while others could be adding more stress. The fascia tissue wraps the whole body, so it's understandable

if you damage a part of it it will cause stress to other parts (in your case the trauma of necessary surgery, cutting directly

through bone, tissues, fascia etc.). I imagine that when things are cut there is thick scar tissue created to heal the cut, and

in the case of fascia tissue, that scarring would create a kind of pull on the surrounding fascia (which in the head is a deeper fascia

tissue) thus it would have direct affects on the surrounding musculoskeletals (such as tension, pain, discomfort etc.).

Regarding yoga (I'm not sure yoga teachers have much training in anatomy & physiology) so you will need to monitor yourself,

I'm sure that the physio can give you a set of appropriate exercises that will help (she specialises in movement). I know from

my Shintaido practice how the body can react to injuries (large and small) and how movement can both correct problems and/or

cause/exacerbate problems.

So my physiotherapist is working mainly on the fascia tissue (which includes tendons and ligaments) and it is great so far (3 treatments to date) I even had a week with no pain. I feel a bit excited at the thought that I may actually be able to be without pain. My physio friend Carolyn :-D says to just use her therapy first and not to mix it up with other treatments.

Just wanted to share that.

best wishes to all


Edited by Bandicoot
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Glad you are getting help Tracy.......When I was courting my hubby..When he kissed me goodnight my jaw used to go

Click Click..lol

I did not want to tell you earlier as it would have made how you felt well ...words ermmm as if I was not taking it serious......

Glad you are getting help..keep smiling


WinB143 xx

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Hi Tracy,

So pleased you are finally finding some relief from the pain - a week without pain must make you feel a lot more optimistic and therefore a lot happier. Taking the time to write your post will hopefully help others in a similar situation.

I wish you well and hope things continue improving,


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Thanks Sarah and Win for positive messages. Win my jaw has been 'out' and goes click, click too since SAH and guess yours is same cause - or was it your prospective hubby making your knees shake and jaw tremble?

The physio treatment felt great last Friday am but I didn't feel so good after it, but then I did go straight to work and have to start typing minutes of a meeting. I will try to work out better time for physio appointment in future. It seems to take a while for my body to adjust after the physiotherapy. I have only just felt some relief tonight and I hope this more relaxed feeling will stay for a while.

I struggle (as most of us do I am sure) in dealing with pain, feeling tired and emotional and at the same time wanting to get some jobs done or have the energy to have a bit of fun. I still have to work out whether my body needs to move or rest. Had a big cry of frustration tonight and feel better for it. Pain gets you down, but then positive support from BHTGM makes me smile as well as Win's funny quips.

good wishes to all


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Hi Tracy!

When I was having craniosacral therapy I noticed that if I went grocery shopping after the appointment I could feel my head symptoms seep back in before I got home. But, if I arranged my day so that I went home after the appointment and rested I could stretch out the benefits and good feelings for a longer period. Maybe it would be similar after physio.

Good luck. I think it's great that you are exploring ways to feel better.

Sandi K.

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Interesting thread here. I have TMJD and have had it for a number of years. It never caused me much trouble as far as pain being unbearable - just my jaw would occasionally get stuck in the open position. As a massage therapist, I worked on my own muscles of head, neck, shoulders and jaw (which included work inside my mouth). Also had my therapist friends work on me as well. It did help quite a bit - the clicking and spasming of jaw muscles did lessen. Since the SAH, my symptoms (for whatever reason?) have gotten worse. If I sleep on my back, I frequently wake with my jaw stuck in open position - it's the left side that gets stuck and clicks! Sometimes it gets caught while I'm talking or singing - it's freaky and scary at the same time. My jaw clicks EVERY time I open and close my mouth, sometimes it's so loud that others can hear it :shock: Hopefully, once I can get some type of medical coverage, I will look into having this corrected and my jaw re-aligned. The surgery is not a fun one - not that any surgery is, but the jaw will have to be broken to re-align, wired shut for 6 weeks as it heals. Would be great for losing weight though - lol.

Hopefully your cranial - sacral work will help ease your pain. Stick with it and best of luck to you.

Sending hugs,


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Hi Tracy

Glad to hear you're getting some relief and hopefully this will progress. Sorry you had a bad time later on, nothing wrong with a good old cry! Pain does get you down, it can be almost be torturous, keep your spirits up and keep telling yourself it will get better.

When I was getting physio I was always told to have a bit of time to myself and to have a glass of water, I can't imagine having to have typed minutes after it, well done you!

Take care.

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Thanks again for words of support. I do read and try to use the information and encouragement given. So, yes I will take some rest time after physio and remember to have water. Thanks for that.

I'm sorry that you too Carolyn have problems getting good sleep when your jaw. Your jaw problem does sound quite extreme and I hope you too get some resolution of your problem jaw. I reckon we could do a thread on the tricks we try to sleep comfortably with a sore head, or jaw or neck.

Today is a good day and I woke feeling better - just minor lower jaw pain. On bad days it feels like a wandering inflammation path that meanders around my lower and upper jaw then can skirt around behind my ears, down the sides and back of my neck and then annoys my shoulders and upper back. These are apparently some of the symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) which put simply is a pain in the *** head and neck.

I am still hopeful though that my TMJ will settle down and that I am just going through an acute stage. I am also always massaging my own head, jaw and neck as well as I can. I use my hands and also have a little electric massage gizmo. I will keep with craniosacral therapy as it feels the best treatment for me now.

I am putting a couple of links here for anyone interested in cranio-sacral therapy (I saw in an earlier post that Traci asked about craniosacral info).

I am advised there are 4 or 5 levels of courses towards certification.

The link to the right shows who are certified practitioners - http://www.iahp.com/pages/search/index.php#result

A Dr Upledger was a Professor of Biomechanics and put decades of research into developing cranial-sacral therapy (CST)

The website for the Upledger Institute gives background of Dr Upledger http://www.upledger.com/aboutUs.asp

There is also a Biodynamic CranialSacral Therapy http://www.craniosacraltherapy.org.au/ which is not related

to the Upledger Institute (founded by another Canadian Osteopath) years after Upledger Institute was established.

:-D to all


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I will look at the websites ....many thanks although I think mine was due to chatting a lot...ok and kissing lol

The hinges of my jaw used to click but Hubby never heard lol guess I was chatting again......like you do

when in Love and silly.. ...oh for those days again ...lol


WinB 143 x

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