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Day 1 - TMS or TMJ

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by loudc, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. loudc

    loudc Newcomer

    It's been a couple of weeks since I finished reading all Sarno's books but it has taken me a long time to follow a plan of treatment or even get in touch with whatever is going on with me. I have found that ignoring my symptoms work better than obsessing about them but they are still around and I know I need to deal with them sooner or later, so today I started the treatment plan here.

    However, there is one thing that is keeping me from moving foward. I'm a TMJ sufferer and unfortunately I haven't found much information on Dr. Sarno's book about it (Healing back pain) or anyone with a similar situation as mine.

    So, first a little about me: I am the classic definition of Sarno's type of patient: self critic, ambitious, hardworking, I put a LOT of pressure on myself and feel guilty when I can't correspond my own expectations or other people's, people pleaser etc. I also hold a lot of emotional anger from my chidlhood especially concerning family, friends and the place I grew up. The thing is, I'm conscious of all of those things and have always been. I have been going to therapy for about a year as well.

    My symptoms started at the age of 19 while I as going through a very stressful period. I started grinding my teeth at night and getting neck pain which became chronic for the following years. I could still live a normal life despite the neck pain, but after I graduated from university when I was 23 I was unhappy with my professional and financial life and my symptoms started to get worse. I started getting TMJ symptoms (ear pressure, tinnitus, more neck and shoulder pain, tendinitis - I worked in a computer all day - headaches).
    I looked for help (physiotherapy, pills, alternative treatments) but it was all temporary. I started to look for proper help, but all dentists would tell me different things: they all agreed it was TMJ but their treatments were so different from one another that my mind went crazy. No need to say the anxiety inscreased my symptoms. Some dentists said I needed orthognatic surgery, others 4 years of splint and braces, others 2 years of splint and braces, others a mouthguarg, I tried every possible alternative treatment as well (craniosacral, all types of physio, alexander technique, therapy etc).

    I then found some information on FB about craniofacial disorders caused by teeth extraction in orthodontics (I used braces for +3 years as a teen and had teeth extracted due to lack of space in my mouth). This causes the reduction of the airway and makes the jaw trapped what hurts the tmjs and fucks up your posture (I have the beginning of reverse neck curve and my jaw is indeed retruted and deviated to one side). There were hundreds of people in this situation with the same symptoms as me and they were all struggling to find a permanent cure. They involve appliances, tongue posture, breathing, splints etc, all kinds of treatments.

    It was my case there, and I got convinced I had to reopen the extraction spaces was the only way to fix me. But I live in a place with limited options and couldnt find a dentist to do that. I found a dentist, however, that agreed on the above diagnosis (rare) and started treatment with functional appliances (though not the one I believed I needed). I must say here that when finding out about TMJ I was extremely frustrated with my professional life, my dad was pressuring me to make money (I wasn't affording myself and felt guilty all the time), my group of friends was falling apart, and I was planning on moving abroad with my boyfriend in a few months and most treatments took years so I panicked completely because it was getting in the way of my life. It's been 9 months since I started to wear the appliances but it's been ups and downs, where the downs are very low and the ups are not very high.

    That's when I read Sarno's books and I started to feel some changes right after. My neck pain reduced about 50%-70% but I started getting a lot of anxiety and some other anxiety-related symptoms. I told my dentist about TMS and even thoguh he doesnt belive 100% in it he let me use my appliance only to sleep and when I"m home intead of 24/7. I also told my phisiotherapis about who I used to see once a week to reduce the time going there. My own father is a phisiotherapist and I still haven't been able to talk to him about any of this, he doesn't believe psychology can cause all of this.

    I've had other times of my life when I had health issues that now I realize were cause by emotions. None of them became chronic though. I can't be sure though, due to lack of information in the subject about TMJ and reversed neck curve. How can I be sure to proceed with treatment? Do you know anyone with a similar story?
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi loudc,

    Welcome to the Forum!

    Re TMJ, I put in search term tmj at the Wiki, and got this:
    http://www.tmswiki.org/w/index.php?search=tmj&title=Special%3ASearch&go=Go (Search)
    There are many links.

    TMJ is recognized by Dr. Sarno as a symptom of TMS, I believe. Don't have the evidence in front of me at this moment...

    Most of us here at the Forum have been through numerous treatments for whatever is ailing us, and find that only Dr. Sarno's method finally solves the problem. The endless attempts, and temporary fixes are very typical. So is the anxiety about the pain. So is seeing physical anomalies in the spine which "cause pain."

    You see much evidence to support his theories in your life, and you are not threatened with anything serious in the meantime, I suppose.

    Dr. Sarno observed that the reduction in symptoms often correlated with increased anxiety. He sees anxiety as another "distraction" function, like the pain.

    It is best to keep your Sarno work to yourself for now, as you're doing with regards to your father. As you engage this work, the confidence can be fragile at first, so it is best to express yourself in places like this, where there will be support.

    Regarding TMJ and success stories, the fact is you can substitute TMJ for any of the symptoms on the Success Stories subforum. When we're new to Dr. Sarno's work, we search so much to find exact conditions/symptoms that we have, to be sure there is a good chance for us. Later, we understand "it is all the same problem, with the same cause." I recall searching for evidence of foot pain, and the titles like Healing Back Pain put me off.

    Here is a great success story, which lists some of the symptoms you have, by a physician.
    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-physicians-tms-story-rsi-hyperacusis-and-much-more.7658/ (A Physician's TMS story - RSI, Hyperacusis and much more.....)

    I might also suggest you start your work at the Wiki with The TMS Recovery Program, which teaches skills and practices right off the bat. Great recordings also.

    Regarding therapy, in the Divided Mind, there is a story of someone who had years of therapy, and so was surprised she could be suffering from TMS. Dr. Sarno explained that she needed to link her understanding of herself with his theory. Just knowing herself was not enough. I found this story very important for me personally. I had many years of psychological spiritual work, both as student and teacher, and at first did not think there could be unconscious stuff so powerful in me which could cause my troubles. Just reading Sarno's explanation to the patient above, this experience allowed me to simply see that everything I already knew about myself was actually a great explanation. There is tremendous inner pressure. I am aware of that. Therefore there is pain, as a distraction. Just allowing this realization was very important in activating the work and getting pain relief.

    These are some thoughts I have when I read your introduction. I hope you stick this out for a couple of months of investigation. If you don't get a lot better, you might see a TMS trained physician. This can also help build confidence, and therefore activate the method in you.

    Andy B
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  3. loudc

    loudc Newcomer

    Hello, Andy

    Thank you very much for your answer. I'm going to phisiotherapy right now (I had this scheduled for a while) and hopefully this will be the last time. Unfortunately I live in Brazil and no one knows about TMS here, nor have Sarno's books been translated in Portuguese, which is a shame, because I know so many people that could benefit from it. Either way, I have just started the TMS Recovery program, and plan on following it until the end!
  4. russelld191

    russelld191 New Member


    I have your exact story, although my complaints include dizziness (POTS), sinus problems, and vision changes. I have been through the ringer, and recently decided to drop the oral appliance completely, and start running every day and sleeping however the heck I want to. When my face and jaw start to tighten, I close my eyes and dare it to tighten even worse, as much is it can give me, because I can take it, and it hasn't killed me in 3-4 years. I too experienced sudden onset of symptoms following an extremely stressful life period. I have yet to discuss this with my docs, but they are very holistic and would likely read up on it. The bottom line is TMJ is well accepted as an over-activation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Sarno's books cite the ANS as the culprit for sending pain and other symptoms to our body via reduced blood flow. I am 100% convinced the only reason splints work, is because of placebo mixed with the fact you are sending different signals to the ANS. I am only 2 weeks into this, and have noticed the best results of the last 3-4 years. I was wondering if anyone else was out there with TMJ/dizziness as the primary concern. Let's kick this thing together so we can get on with life!!!! The seeds of doubt keep us from recovering 100%, I have what you have, and am doing much better, please keep me updated on your progress!
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  5. loudc

    loudc Newcomer

    Hello, russelld191

    Thanks for your answer. So far I'm not doing much better, but I have noticed changes like my neck feeling a lot looser than it has in years since reading Sarno's books, and symptoms changing place (which has always happened, some days it would hurt more in the head, others in the neck, others in the shoulder, others in the face...). Also, I have been feeling over anxious and that makes sense as well. I have had minor dizziness issues, minor vision changes and a lot of sinus problems my whole life - I've had almost every symptom TMJ can give you, but my worst symptom is ear pressure o my left ear. It started a year ago, it improved during oral treatment with an appliance (not an splint - a functional appliance) and now that I'm only using the appliance to sleep it has come back big time and I'm honestly worried about it. I have had an audiometry exam and my hearing is perfect, and seen an ENT doctor more than once about this - they all said it was TMJ causing it and that the ear looked fine. I can take pain and the other symptoms, but ear pressure is just terrible and I don't know how I can possibly be sure whether this is TMS or cause by my TMJs.
  6. russelld191

    russelld191 New Member

    You may want to find a myofascial release therapist just to give you a head start, since your muscles have been tight for so long. You definitely have what I have, and I stopped caring about it, and even dare it to flare up... since I developed that mindset, and also started expressing some rage and anger, my symptoms have been much better (some days better than others). One thing to remember is tissues hold neurotransmitters in them, and when you have tight muscles that begin to relax, the neurotransmitters release again until they flush out of your system. It is not uncommon to experience anxiety or depression early on in physical therapy or TMS treatment as old neurotransmitters release. I guarantee you this will work for you. I am no doctor, but I think the largest reason you have yet to improve is you are still holding out hope there is a conventional medical treatment for you. There may be, but I tried almost all of them for TMJ, and TMS treatment is the only thing that helps. You have to have faith first, and then the evidence comes. As humans, we always want evidence before we have faith. This works in reverse. You have to believe this will work for you, and then the evidence starts to come (slowly). Keep after it. I am not there yet, but if you start to improve, it will help me gain more confidence in the diagnosis and treatment plan for myself.
    MWsunin12 likes this.

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