Monday, February 4, 2008

Not-so-encouraging news on the TMJ front

This morning I had my consult with the doctor at the pain management center about getting Botox in my jaw. His first question was, how long have you had this, and when I said almost 20 years, he made a face and said that Botox isn't likely to work for me. He gave me an injection that they can use to test whether the Botox will have an effect - I'm supposed to monitor my pain over the next 3-4 days, and if this doesn't help, then the Botox won't, either.

His best advice was to do some kind of mind/body pain management, so I have an appointment with the pain psychologist on their staff in a couple weeks. He says I should do something for relaxation every day - I guess it's not good that my first thought was, when will I find the time? I think the most likely thing for me to try would be a yoga DVD at home. If anyone knows some good ones for a yoga beginner, please share!

I just don't know where this is going to lead if the Botox isn't an option. I would be willing to try chiropractic or acupuncture, but since my insurance won't pay for most or any of that, it'll be a real struggle to make that work financially. I guess right now it's wait and see if the injections I got this morning will help.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, getting injections into your jaw muscles reallyreallyreallyreally hurts.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Hi Lori...I have TMJ too which, when stressed in particular, really becomes a pain!

Here's what I have had done: jaw surgery at 15 to reset my jaw so that my teeth would have space to move and fit into place (esp. since I had 11 pulled out already). It didn't really work since, at the time, they were not aware that post-surgery physio should take place. Now I am told I hold my mouth "wrong" (off to the left) and that my back and neck muscles have to overcompensate for them. Tie that with a job spent on the computer most of the time, and it ain't great when a deadline ensues or my DD decides that she would like to party all night!

I have had physio on my back and neck (including acupuncture) to relieve the pain. In addition, I have had physio on the inside of my mouth to "relax" my jaw muscles. This is the worst! Not only is it screamingly painful but you cry all the time since the tear ducts are right close too! I have taken various muscle relaxants, have mouth exercises (they have tried to re-teach for years to hold my mouth different) and wear a mouth guard at night to avoid grinding my teeth and clicking my jaw.

I do have an occasional lock occur (say if I have spent a night at a party talking, in the morning, I can usually bet on opening my mouth to take a bite during breakfast where it will lock). It takes about 10 minutes to disengage and then seems to "go away". If you get any really useful info on this, I'd love to hear it since I have been in "maintenance mode" for years!

Good luck!