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Anyone had TMJ issues?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Moose, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Moose

    Moose Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    I've been having a decent amount of success treating my TMS-induced hand and arm pain, however the symptoms seem to have moved to my jaw where they are stubbornly staying.

    The left side of my jaw has always been a bit 'clicky' and occasionally I would wake up with it 'stuck' and unable to open my mouth much. This has always resolved itself quickly on waking up and moving around, usually after a warm shower or something.

    However, the past month or so, I began to have really bad jaw pain. The pain has mostly gone, but I'm clenching my teeth at night (I can tell because I wake up and the muscles around my mouth and my teeth feel sore!). Every morning I'm waking up and it's getting stuck. It's taking longer and longer to get un-stuck every day too, it used to be a few minutes, now it's taking until lunchtime (it's 12.15 and it's still stuck).

    I'm 90% certain this is just another manifestation of TMS, however there's still doubt, because I'm used to TMS pain and this is more stiffness. I keep pawing at my jaw and trying to wiggle it loose, but it's not helping. Basically I just want some reassurance that other people have had similar issues, and that their jaws got better! Because at the moment, it's noticeably worse every day.

    I know the problem is that I'm clenching my jaw like mad and grinding my teeth at night. I'm wearing a mouthguard the dentist gave me - it doesn't help with the clenching (despite his assurance it would), but it's at least protecting my teeth from being worn down while I'm going through this phase. I'm trying to relax in general, but there are big changes going on in my life and I'm very busy at the moment, so it's hard.

    Bloomin' TMS gremlin always gets you where you're most susceptible, doesn't it - it knows I'm not put off by hand pain anymore, so it's found a body part I've always worried about to pester me.
  2. KathyBee

    KathyBee Peer Supporter

    I had TMJ in the past. It was after my back pain but before my leg pain. The classic wandering pain.
    It has mostly gone away (replaced by other things) but it flares up occasionally.
    What I realize now is that after I find a “cure” to a physical problem it shows up as another problem.
    So even though I found a book with exercises that helped, I am reluctant to recommend it. Also, TMS books recommend against therapy exercises.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Moose. Dr. Sarno says that if our pain moves around, it's a sign we have TMS
    and just need to keep thinking about our repressed emotions that are causing it.

    I found that I had many repressed emotions and just told my unconscious mind to
    take any one or more of them it wanted to. It could be best to focus on the biggest one,
    or else attribute the pain to some of the other repressed emotions, kind of like letting
    them take turns. Our unconscious eventually stops sending us pain messages.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  4. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    I have had jaw tension and jaw clicking as well as tooth pain (on and off) but my jaw has never been stuck. There are no easy answers but I have come to the conclusion that it must be tension (TMS) and my symptoms have become better after doing yoga and stop concentrating on my jaw (which is difficult - the more you think about it the worse it gets) but my jaw is still not quite normal and feels strange and tense but I can live with it. I have my doubts whether mouthguards really help (I have one too but have stopped wearing it) but maybe in your case with the clenching they give protection to your teeth. I have done every jaw exercise possible and read every book on TMJ and nothing made any difference. Nor did visits to my dentist. Finally I just decided that it must be TMS and that I may have to live with it. This was a huge relief. Now I am concentrating on relaxing only, i.e. finding out why I am so tense (repressed anger, rage, stress, anxiety, health anxiety). I guess tension (with some people) can become so intense that it gets stuck in your jaw. Usually people with jaw issues also have tense shoulders and neck which I have. If you make a search under TMJ at the TMS Forum you will find several threats which are quite encouraging.
  5. Moose

    Moose Peer Supporter

    Thanks Sybilla. I did try to search for TMJ on the forum but it wouldn't let me search for 3-letter words. What did you search for?
  6. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hi. I would be journaling about what I'm feeling!! specifically anger--i know when I feel angry sometimes I bite down hard and my jaw can hurt!
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I used to have TMJ, at least dentist said I did, before I did the SEP and Dr Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain workbook. However, I'm happy to report that after doing those two programs, plus meditating everyday, the TMJ seems to have disappeared. I'm definitely not grinding my jaw at night, so I don't wear the little orthodontic device that dentist fashioned and charged me a couple hundred bucks for. And this is quite certain because I no longer notice my jaw clenching in the night and the dental assistant is no longer pointing out wear marks on my teeth where I was grinding during the wee hours. Sure, I've got other symptoms in my knee and lower back, but hot digitty do, the tooth grinding has definitely stopped. I guess I'm finally getting more relaxed!
  8. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    Hi Moose,
    If you log on the TMS Forum and search under "Search for" and "Search for all words" for either "TMJ" or "Jaw" you get all threats related to these two words.

    I would also advice you against going on any TMJ forum. I never felt so depressed, confused and down after reading all the stories from desperate people.

    Good luck and all the best
    Moose and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this reply- so to the point and simplistic, Thanks walt.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Moose,

    TMJ is my main tms woe so I empathise completely. Like everyone else here who suffers with it, all treatment roads have led nowhere. Mercifully though I have a fairly evolved dentist and his biggest and best advice is to relax. Any remedy he employs is in the interests of damage limitation. Clenching or grinding is very common, especially in the current financial climate he tells me, and a lot of people find their pain passes when they realise nothing is actually wrong with teeth or jaw. I'm a stubborn case but own the fact that it's because I've allowed stress to run rampant (we do before we know how to be kind to ourselves).

    The pain one feels in the jaw, neck, shoulders, scalp or face with tmj comes from bracing. The unconscious does all it can to protect the teeth themselves and this has a knock-on effect.

    In my experience and my best advice is soothing is good. Consider the ole soothe-rage ratio. TMJ has it's genesis both literally and metaphorically in pressure. Where in your life are you overwhelmed? Where have you traded pleasure for responsibility? Where and with whom do you need to say no? Assert your boundaries? Beyond anger, look to rage. You'll find it. Red tooth and claw - classic fight behaviours. Your primal self is screaming in it's Unspoken Voice.

    Hope some of this helps.
    Be kind where you can, let go the small and the silly, and smile. There is no better tonic for tmj than laughter.
    Fabi, Ellen and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  11. Moose

    Moose Peer Supporter

    Hi plum, thanks for the kind words. I'm trying to work out how to sooth myself better, but it turns out its quite hard when you've been denying yourself for years. I've been playing more computer games which I enjoy, but I think I need other things too. I still find it really hard to do anything 'for me' (i.e. unproductive and just for fun) without feeling guilty about it - because I could be doing something useful, of course. I know this is silly, but guilt seems to be such a strong force in my life - along with anxiety, it's the emotion I feel most often.

    Someone on here mentioned something to me about how I could be repressing happiness, as well as more negative emotions such as anger. I think I might be - even when things are going well, I often find it hard to really enjoy it. For example, I just heard this week that I have got funding to do the course I really want to do, but instead of feeling happy, my mind instantly went to worrying about sorting out the next bit of paperwork etc. And I just kind of feel like it's really quite sad, not being able to feel joy like I should do. Apart from trying to consciously take stock of and notice all of the good little things, I don't really know what to do.
  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Moose, you're adorable. All you've done is got good at being hard on yourself. Trust me, you can just as easily and quite happily unravel all that. No shoulds or oughts, simply letting yourself be. There's an ease and naturalness to pleasure. It wraps around us, it feels good. Maybe it would help to see fun as a creative aspect of productivity?

    Have you explored Alan Gordon's program?
    I copied this from the section of self-destructive behaviours:

    " Another way people abuse themselves is by putting pressure on themselves: “You’re not working hard enough,” “You’re not making enough money,” “You need to lose more weight.” When you put pressure on yourself, it carries the underlying message of, “You have to do this or else…” You may not be saying these words, but that’s how our primitive minds interpret this pressure. It’s like having a drill sergeant in your head. A lot of clients I’ve worked with feel like the pressure is their friend. “If I didn’t put pressure on myself, I wouldn’t get anything done. I’d just lay around all day in my sweat pants eating bon bons. The pressure helps me accomplish things.”

    In reality, the opposite is often true. Pressure can be a motivation killer. Remember how much more enjoyable it was reading a book for fun than when it was assigned for homework? Discipline can exist without pressure. You can be free to work on things with a sense of joy, instead of a sense of a heaviness. Some clients have told me that when they stop putting so much pressure on themselves, they actually become more productive."

    Amusingly enough it's 3.30pm as I write this and I'm still not dressed. There's no bon-bons but I'm going to take my hubby out for some food in a bit. Simple joys.

    When I first started caring for him, I struggled a lot with finding a balance between looking after him and looking after myself. It's left a messy legacy that I've been untangling which involves yukky things like responsibility and guilt. I mean, the buck stops with me. I'm finding I need to give other aspects of my self life, such as the girl who wants to paint her toenails scarlet, or the bookworm who needs to browse the dusty shelves of a secondhand bookstore, or the freespirit who wants to drive nowhere in particular with the car windows down and music playing, or...

    We all have these elements. Parts that we hold down. The bringing out and dusting down and celebration of these innocent-child-selves harbours much healing. No one but you can fathom this and then free them, but you can. And guilt? It's a perverse gift. Walk into it. Look around, look clearly and deeply. You'll find a doorway to the other side.

    I'm not exactly sure where guilt resides in the pantheon of primal emotions but like the others it's appearance is naturally fleeting. It has a message for us. It is only when we narrate a drama around it that it causes problems. I actually find guilt to be quite possibly the least pleasant emotional experience. There's something murky about it, as compared to say the absolute clarity of anger or fear or joy. It makes me want to shake it off, discard it, look at it from a distance.

    Invariably it's message is that I've entered a situation or an interaction already in the grip of an undealt with emotion or feeling (typically overwhelm = anger), and this has lead to me being emotionally unavailable, annoyed/annoying, terse/stressed, and not really being in the moment.

    Not sure how well I've conveyed that but I hope you get the gist. It looks different for us all and for ourselves on different days but mostly I'd say don't be shy about grabbing the beggar by the tail and shaking some sense out of it.
    Fabi likes this.
  13. Moose

    Moose Peer Supporter

    Yes, there's something very insidious and undermining about guilt. I think it's a consequence of misplacing other feelings - I definitely do this with anger; I mostly feel that as anxiety. Guilt, I'm not so sure about, but I'm pretty sure that I'm sitting on a bucket load of shame that I was made to feel as a child, and possibly this comes out nowadays as guilt, which is more productive than shame as you can do something to appease guilt, but you can't with shame.

    One problem I have is that I want to do more stuff to have fun, but a lot of stuff that's fun costs money, and I don't have much and am meant to be saving it so I automatically feel guilty whenever I spend money on non-essentials. And yes I know you can have fun without breaking the bank, but you're quite limited that way (especially if your friends want to go out to the pub or whatever).

    When you say 'walk into guilt', what exactly do you mean?
  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm not sure that you can heal or resolve something that you don't first accept. With any of our shadow selves, and in this instance, guilt, once you welcome them, you move towards becoming whole.
    It's not necessary to dismantle your past or present, or your emotional self. It really is enough to know that you feel this way too much, too often.

    When I was first told my husband may not have long to live, I lost myself in being the best damned carer on the planet. Talk about people-pleasing! Unsurprisingly my less savoury emotions were not too happen about being stuffed down, even though it was with the very best of intentions. But isn't that often the case?

    We hold ourselves to ridiculous standards. Sometimes these standards are inherited. By walking into an emotion and actually feeling it as opposed to shutting down, numbing out, or escaping, we give ourselves a chance to see where we are being cruel to ourselves, and maybe why.

    I'm not suggesting we wallow in the emotion, just know it. We are our best selves and our worst selves and it's ok.

    Remember my love, this is only an invitation to see the bigger picture. Someone once said 'what you resist, persists'. I'm suggesting the possibility of blooming. Guilt holds us in, when maybe a greater flowering beckons.
    Ellen likes this.
  15. Moose

    Moose Peer Supporter

    Thanks Plum. I think the key for me is just really trying to seek joy in all the little things in life, and just reminding myself that I don't need to feel guilty, until hopefully it happens more naturally!

    Change is hard :confused:
  16. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Plum, your post was simply amazing. There is so much wisdom and helpful advice in this. Thanks for posting it :)
  17. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ah shucks Forest, that's real sweet of you. I owe you a lot my dear. Without this place we'd all be sunk. The way you've championed and furthered Dr. Sarno's message is lifesaving and inspirational.
  18. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    As a great song says 'don't worry about a thing cos every little things gonna be alright...'

    You'll laugh about all this one day.
  19. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Plum, you just amaze me. Poetry, beautiful prose, and wisdom......

    And where else can one find such a great discussion about guilt, but on this forum? I think I've found my tribe.
  20. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, gentle soul, isn't it a beautiful feeling when something clicks. Like two unknown dance partners who come together and naturally find their rhythm with little fumbling and toe-treading (important to me right now as I have just painted my toenails deep red. Aphrodite smiles approvingly).
    Shall we dance my dear?
    Ellen likes this.

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