1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Our TMS drop-in chat is tomorrow (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern (now US Daylight Time) . It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support, with JanAtheCPA as your host. Look for the red Chat flag on top of the menu bar!

Dental problems & TMS pain after stressful circumstances

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by honeybear424, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Just a couple of months ago, my mother (whom I have not had a good relationship with over the years) had surgery and was in the hospital for a week. I am basically the ONLY person in a city in which she has lived in for 34 years that she knows who has car. My obligation as daughter was suddenly kicked into high gear. I went five times (60 miles round trip) to visit her during that time and although I was stressed, I wasn't in a tremendous amount of pain. The night I picked her up from the hospital, I had a twinge of pain in a tooth which resulted in a root canal a few weeks later. Also, beginning the next day, I had 9 days of one of the most intense, constant headaches that I can remember.

    So...a week or so after that root canal, another tooth on the other side started bothering me again, as it has off and on over the years...along with my two front teeth. UGH! We went on our cruise and the pain bugged me intermittently. Then a few days into our trip, I got sick with a stomach bug that lasted several days and ruined my fun. Last Thursday, the pain in the one molar took a turn for the worst landing me in the chair for another root canal on Friday.

    Guess what?! The two front teeth are still bothering me!!! Two different dentists have checked them...no cavities, no fillings, no explanation for the pain. My theory...TMS trying to distract me from working Dr. Schubiner's book because as I started my writing at the end of last month, the tears started flowing. It was mostly when I would have to dry tears and blow my nose that I would be reminded of this weirdness in my front teeth. I have about had it with this TMS stuff trying to destroy my life! I'm telling myself that I don't care if my teeth hurt. There is nothing wrong with them.

    For me, going on vacation causes a lot of stress and anxiety simply getting there, especially since I am such a homebody and have four fur babies, so I am feeling backlash pain from a vacation. Crazy!

    I talked a little bit about this dental stuff during a Live Chat a few weeks ago and a few people said they had TMS manifest as dental pain. This is the worst, though! My whole body hurts, bad headache, and dental issues to boot!! I am trying so hard to not worry about this, but TMS is really trying to get the best of me...

    Thanks for reading. :(
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Vacation can be stressful for sure, even if it's something fun that you wanted to do.

    Sometimes getting mad at the pain and letting yourself feel angry helps.

    Hope you feel better soon.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    OMG, I sure do sympathize, HB - my two absolute LEAST favorite things - dental work and stomach bugs! I am the worst dental patient ever when it comes to being drilled on (nitrous is my friend but hard to get) and I'm actually quite phobic about getting a stomach virus. I am SO sorry you're going through this!

    I don't think that vacation backlash is crazy at all. I'm with you, in fact, when it comes to travel these days. I traveled plenty when I was younger, but my life is so hectic now that vacation to me is sitting on my deck and reading a good novel. Travel IS hard! And the stress can suppress your immune system and make you vulnerable to whatever is going around. Although, you know, sometimes there's not a lot you can do when your food has been contaminated by the poor hygiene of food workers. I'm just phobic enough that I'm pretty sure I will never spend time on a cruise ship in my life - I've heard too many stories!

    I'm suddenly reminded of the years that I vacationed with my ex. He's a really active person, always on the go, always doing stuff, accomplishing things, engaged in activities. Every time we vacationed he would complain about feeling tired for the first several days. It really disturbed him, because he's usually so full of energy (I think he's what they call a "short sleeper" in fact). This now seems like it was a variant of TMS, where his brain was trying to shut down in the absence of distracting activities, in order to keep him from self-reflection.

    So how did those two front teeth feel while you were sick? Do you recall? My TMS symptoms typically disappear whenever I have another health issue that is more distracting, helping to confirm the TMS diagnosis. And I too, in the last year, have experienced a kind of generalized ache in my front teeth when I've managed to get rid of the more obvious TMS symptoms. It comes and goes. Seems like a common place to hold tension.

    And I wonder how all this relates to the obligation you felt to your mother? Root canal - well, I think we are safe in saying that's not TMS. A 9-day headache after discharging that obligation? Hmmm, well, maybe related to the rotten tooth, but probably exacerbated (taken advantage of) by TMS. Steve Ozanich, in his new book (that quite a number of us seem to be reading right now) says that TMS symptoms can often occur AFTER the stress.

    Have faith! We're here for you!

  4. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    What a drag. I too get pretty stressed when leaving on vacation. I can relate to the fur-baby issue and my last trip - I felt like I wasn't even present for the first few days!

    I have had odd aches and pains too as I travel this road. Remember to be kind to yourself, try and remember it most likely is TMS. In fact what you are describing I've read can happen just before - relief. I certainly hope that is the case with you.

  5. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Jan ~ I was, in fact, on a cruise ship. But...no one else got sick and we were all eating the same stuff. My hubby and our girls were all fine. The teeth kinda hurt while I had the stomach bug, but not my head. I had been having some relief from the bad headache. Oh, and here's the interesting part. The first root canal was not for a rotten tooth, nor was the second one last Friday. The x-rays didn't show anything. I was just having a lot of sensitivity with the first one and thought maybe the tooth was dying, and the second had a large filling and he was recommending that I get a crown. It did, however, bother me from time to time over the years. I always attributed it to my TMJ issues. Last week it got worse and it was getting painful to chew, so I figured I'd get it over with. Maybe that tooth was referring pain to my front tooth and the one next to it. The dentist said to give it a week or so, but I am not noticing any change. The good thing is that the front two are more an annoyance. It doesn't really hurt, per se, just feels weird enough to distract me and, quite frankly, piss me off.

    I'm sure that the nine day headache was what Steve Ozanich refers to in his book. It was my brand of "really bad headache, neck & shoulder pain". I have conditioned myself to expect it, and so that's what I get.

    I'll keep plugging away with my TMS work. I have only been at this since February, so I hope it is understandable to still be in all kinds of pain. I didn't get like this overnight

    BG ~ I'm not wanting to go anywhere for quite some time. I'm ready to stay put. My focus needs to be on feeling good and being pain-free. There is nothing more important than that. I hope relief is right around the corner for me, too.

    Thanks to both of your for your support! :)
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Isn't it amazing the variety of symptoms we can conjure up for ourselves? Human beings are SO creative!

    And look at all of the assumptions I made. I broke my first rule (don't assume anything!). Although I think it's obvious that the stress of going on vacation did make you sick. That's pretty interesting about your history of tooth pain, though, and are you saying that the root canals were done to remove the source of the pain even though x-rays showed no reason for it? Hm. Kind of ironic?

    Okay, I just had to look up why they call it a "root canal". Turns out that's really the noun, and that the procedure is technically called "root canal therapy" but no one ever adds the word therapy. I've only ever had one root canal (thankfully performed with nitrous) but all of my back teeth are crowned. Too much clenching over the years, too many little cracks around the tops. Stress is hard on our teeth, and it's hard on sinuses, too, which can make your teeth and gums ache - we might as well call it TMS sinusitis. You mentioned above that you really noticed your front teeth when you were crying, which makes sense, sinus-wise!

    Hang in there and keep doing the work. You're right that your brain will use anything it can to distract you from the work. I hope you've journaled about the recent encounters with your mother. If you need a break from Dr. Shu's workbook, check out some of the other resources that are available. Dr. Zafirides has podcasts on really useful topics on his website The Healthy Mind, although the ones he's posted here on the forum are probably the most relevant to TMS. I recommend going to his profile page and click on the Postings tab to find a list of the topics he's posted.

    Also, when you said
    I thought about Monte Hueftle's "Thinking Clean" advice. Forest recently advised someone to check out Monty as kind of a break from the more complex work of journaling and reflecting. His page of archived articles on the TMS Wiki is here.

    Keep us posted!

    yb44 likes this.
  7. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    This reminds me of a quote from one of the migraine websites:

    "A migraineur lives in fear of that next headache. You know it will strike. It's just a matter of where and when."

    I thought this was so fatalistic when I came across it quite recently but it pretty much sums up my old way of thinking. Headaches are not pre-ordained. You can substitute any other PPD symptom for headache in the above quote too. The operative word here is 'fear'. Interestingly I used to experience alot of neck and shoulder pain along with the migraines. I still get migraines but my neck and shoulders are less tense and I have become more mindful about my teeth clenching. Last summer I was formally diagnosed at a reknowned dental hospital in London as having TMJ. How did this come about? The dentist asked if I grinded my teeth (clearly evident from looking at them), put great pressure on my neck and practically all his body weight onto my shoulders, asking me if it hurt. Well, wouldn't it have hurt just about anyone, I thought. When the letter came through with the dentist's findings, I paid no notice to it and just tossed it aside. Had I stressed over it, the tooth pain I had previously been experiencing would have returned. I'm pleased he gave me that diagnosis because I had already known that TMJ = TMS.

    The migraines are one of my oldest symptoms and harder to shift but I am making progress.

    Jan, I trust you didn't let your inner bully get the better of you over this!
    Mermaid, Beach-Girl and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    LOL, YB!

    ...it's like you know me;)
  9. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    My main TMS symptom was headaches too, and I was also diagnosed with TMJ disorder. My dentist was the ONLY medical professional I saw (other than my TMS doctor) who said this was caused by personality and stress.

    I haven't had TMJ pain at all since working on TMS, my foot/ankle/lower leg issues are almost gone, eye tics are gone, seasonal allergies are gone (and cat allergy is way less severe than before). My only remaining symptoms are occasional headache and anxiety. My therapist asked me if there was something significant about headaches that made me more concerned with them than I was with foot pain. For me it's that my father had horrible headaches when I was growing up and I remember being really afraid seeing him in a lot of pain. I think it's Dr. Sarno who says that the mind will cause whatever kind of pain will be most distracting to you (so it's different for each person)--for me headaches are about the most terrifying kind of pain I could get.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Veronica, it's so exciting to see the list of your accomplishments on this journey! We probably have comparable lists, and it sounds like we're both at the same stage of battling that one big symptom that seems to be out of reach for some reason. With me it's the dizziness, and before I discovered TMS last fall I went to a PT clinic specializing in dizziness, where the goal was to re-train my vestibular system (having been tested for pathology, and finding none). When I read my first Dr. Sarno book, the concept became crystal-clear, because via TMS we have allowed our brains to expect certain symptoms, so they have to be re-trained to not expect them. Only now I'm working on it with knowledge and self-reflection, rather than with special exercises (and no more expensive bills). I actually had a lot of success for many months, but relapsed in the last month due to several factors that I'm reflecting on. And I don't notice it when I exercise (aerobics and weight training), even now while relapsing, so I have faith! But frustration as well - I just can't seem to put my finger on the source, or effectively visualize walking without the wooziness. Though I keep walking anyway.

    It must have been terrifying to see your father in so much pain when you were so young. I was absent from the forum for three months, but I recall, from back in February(?) about how much his anxiety continues to affect you in adulthood. Do you have sadness for him, for how much he has missed due to his own TMS? Or maybe about the fact that he passed it on to you? Inherited TMS, indeed - it's real!

  11. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I used to have dizziness too, for me it was part of panic disorder--I would start to feel dizzy and then all of the other physical sensations and anxious thoughts that lead up to a panic attack would kick in. I remember reading something that really helped me--The Panic & Anxiety Workbook. There's one section that says people who have anxiety tend to interpret benign physical sensations as something "wrong" causing these sensations to get amplified and lead to panic. Once I read that I stopped worrying about the dizziness so if I do get it, it just passes through without being scary.

    My dad actually doesn't have headaches anymore. He's someone who's the ultimate perfectionist, very driven so I must have figured that for some kind of pain to stop him it had to be BAD. It made an impact on me for sure.

    I don't think I inherited TMS biologically. I might be slightly more genetically predisposed to anxiety than "normal" people, but I think it's more nurture than nature in my case--growing up around high-achievers/repressers.

    Personally I think everyone has had some kind of TMS in their lives, it just might not have risen to the level that it has for a lot of us here. The mindbodyspirit are really all the same so it makes sense that everyone would have physical symptoms in response to emotions, at least sometimes.

    I hope the dizziness goes away soon, Jan. You know you have been able to eliminate it before by working on TMS so I'm sure you can do it again.
  12. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hi Honeybear. Sorry to hear the cruise wasn't exactly as you'd hoped! Hope you had a good mojito or 2 though!

    There are some mind/body books that talk about teeth problems and what issues/situations could be related.

  13. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Okay, so went to the dentist again yesterday for that special TOMO X-ray and he didn't even do it! He checked out my front teeth and said everything looks good. He said we should wait and see. Thing is...it's not really so much pain that I am experiencing. It is a little bit, but also tingling feelings, strange feelings in my mouth on the whole. I even asked him if he thought anxiety could cause this kind of stuff and he agreed.I am more certain than ever that it is TMS. My headaches and other pain have not been as bad. Since I have accepted that TMS is the cause of my head, neck, shoulder, arm, etc. pain, my brain had to throw me a monkey wrench to get me off track. I, too, have been diagnosed with TMJ and in my readings, totally accept that it is a TMS equivalent. Does that mean we have to throw away our splints forever?

    The other night, the weirdness in my front teeth and mouth started getting worse and I was starting to obsess about it to the point where I started having bad anxiety. I got up, went to my journal and furiously started venting. I was so angry, and used as much profanity as I felt like. I wrote several pages as I cried. Guess what?! It got better! Proved to myself for the first time the power of journaling. I hadn't done any since being back from the trip even though I put the journal out in clear sight as a reminder. lol Also, I had been reading Monte's stuff on and off all day. Really am liking his straightforward approach.

    Jan ~ Your statement about passing on TMS has me worried. It is something I have been thinking about for the past year or so. My youngest daughter who is 15 has lots of anxiety and complains of headaches frequently. That's a tough one for me not to own as being responsible for. I mean, after all, she has watched me all these years. :( Trying real hard to not beat myself up for it. In a sense, it motivates me more to recover from this TMS....for her sake. I have to show her that her thinking is responsible for her symptoms and that only she can fix it. The best way to do that is to fix myself first and she will see firsthand that it works. It is my heartfelt intent to prevent her from creating a 22 year chronic pain situation for herself.

    Lori ~ I would love to know which mind/body books talk about teeth! Can you lead me in the right direction? I'd really appreciate it. And yes, I did continue to drink Mojitos in spite of my tummy trouble. Figured the alcohol might kill the bug...or at least numb it...and I ate every last bit of the mint in the glass. ;)
  14. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Honeybear,

    I'm so glad to hear you got some relief from getting angry and journaling! Great news!

    I'm assuming you mean NTI/mouthguard? Pre-TMS pain days I would sometimes grind my teeth so hard that I physically broke and cracked teeth. After grinding on and off for over 10 years, my dentist recommended a splint. It prevented me from damaging my teeth with grinding and at first it seemed to help a lot with headaches, but like all physically based treatments the headache benefit was for a limited time. I asked my TMS doctor about the mouthguard when I went to see him in February--he thought it was OK for me to keep using it when I sleep at least for a while since the unconscious mind can run amok while you sleep and also because unlike the headaches, the act of tooth grinding in my case was causing real physical damage (broken teeth). I do still wear the mouthguard but only when I sleep--before I used to sometimes put it in as soon as I got home from work on a bad day. I bet in the future as TMS & its equivalents fade out for me I won't need it anymore, but for now I'm OK with using it.

    I think the concern about passing on TMS is part of our TMS/goodist personality. I have had that concern myself. But would you feel guilty if someone caught your cold or stomach bug? Because I think having/passing TMS is pretty much the same--done unconsiously and not our "fault" at all. Also, your daughter is seeing you make positive changes and heal yourself and that is a great example.

    ~ Veronica
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Honeybear - You are making so much progress!

    I agree with Veronica on both points. I continue to wear my nightguard because I really don't want to ruin my teeth at night due to unconscious tension. I work hard at this TMS stuff while I'm awake, and I've given up on all my other crutches (special pillows, back brace, antacids, PT and chiro, you name it) but once you've cracked or ground down your teeth, there is no going back. My parents told us when we were little that our teeth weren't designed to last past age 50 unless we take care of them really well, and I've always taken that seriously!

    As for passing on TMS, Steve Ozanich joined us on the Saturday chat today, and he said something that I absolutely believe with my whole heart and which Veronica also said above: every human being experiences TMS to some degree - it's part of the human experience, built-in to our psyches.

    Your TMS didn't appear out of nowhere, after all! You can probably blame your own parents, as I am able to blame mine - but I forgive them, too, because they were excellent parents in most respects - just human. As are you. And this:
    is a strong and heartfelt goal. And a good motivator.


    Persistence will pay off (Steve O says that :^)
    veronica73 likes this.
  16. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Thank you, Jan! :) For the first time in...well, EVER (!), I actually do feel like I am making some progress. If nothing else, this TMS is shifting within me and only confirms that it is what I have. Since the dental stuff has been more "in the limelight", the headaches, neck and shoulder pain haven't been as bad. Now, as I am ignoring the weirdness in my front teeth, I have abdominal discomfort creeping in to try an distract me further. Wow! This TMS is very insidious stuff, isn't it?!

    I have another question about the nightguard, if I may. I have two of these things. One was made years ago by a dentist just to keep me from grinding my teeth while I sleep, and the other was made by the TMJ guru here in town. It is one of those expensive ones ($1000) designed especially to correct my bite. This was the one I was told to wear round the clock at first to see if it alleviated my headaches and stuff, and if so, the next step would be reconstructive jaw surgery. Well, obviously it never worked. I have only worn it off and on over the years, but tried it again a few months ago. Seems it is not fitting correctly anymore and my lower teeth are sore in the morning. I was advised to have it adjusted, so I made an appointment and can't get in til the end of the month. What I'd like to ask you Jan, is if you have a special fancy nightguard made by a TMJ specialist, or is it just an ordinary one? I am wondering if I should simply stick with the other one and forget about the expense of seeing the TMJ specialist at the end of the month. I already know that TMJ is a TMS equivalent.

    Funny, but I tried the basic one the other night and had to take it out. It started making my upper molar hurt (the one next to the one I just had a root canal on). :eek: I think I will try it once more tonight. My brain may be up to it's tricks again!
  17. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Honeybear - no, sorry, I only have the regular old kind of nightguard - anti-clenching in my case.

    However, whenever I have a new crown, my dentist has me bring it in to make sure it works well with the crown, even for a lower tooth. So if it's been a long time since you used it, and if the TMJ device has made changes to your bite, perhaps it is actually off. Mine fits much more loosely than it originally did due to the adjustments over time (it must be 15 years old, at least - maybe 20!). It got it from the retired predecessor of my current dentist, and current guy doesn't seem inclined to replace it - he just reminds me to bring it in at each checkup so they can run it through the ultrasound cleaner.

    I don't think my dentist believes in TMJ - he's never mentioned it in ten+ years.
  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm no authority on teeth.
    Years ago I had all my uppers removed and got a full upper plate
    and haven't had a toothache since.
    My lower teeth are fine.

    Keep brushing and cleaning and you'll keep your teeth strong and bright for many years.

Share This Page