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TMJ/neck and shoulder pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by audrey, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. audrey

    audrey New Member

    Hi there,

    This is my first post though I have read many of yours over the last couple of years, thank you.

    Such a long time to wait and so silly I know but I get these lulls when I feel not too bad, but not any more.

    I was diagnosed with TMJ about 10 years ago (I'm 53) my jaw clicks often and I can only open it enough to put small amounts of food in..no pain, but I hate the clicking. It has been bad recently and not sure why. I grind my teeth, but don't use a bite plate any more as it made me worse. The maxillo doctors wanted to operate and I refused. I don't know anyone else who has this and once I told someone they laughed thinking it was funny, which it's not!

    Anyway, I have developed terrible pains in my shoulders, possibly from neck, I'm not sure. When it comes I can barely do domestic tasks as something like taking washing from the machine causes acute pain. This lasts from 2 days to a week when it comes. It can disappear for a couple of months and then like now I'm on my second attack in a month. Both times, there on waking. Doing some research I began to wonder if it was being caused by grinding my teeth, which my husband says I do terribly. Therefore, if there is a cause like that can the shoulder/neck pain be TMS?
    I have read the Sarno books but have this nagging doubt that if there is a cause, though not one I can control, it can't be.

    I've been so very low these last few days thinking that this is me now, stuck with a problem I can do nothing about.

    I have a wonderful family , been loved all my life but I am a terrible worrier. My parents were too though I only realised that a few years ago.

    Think I'll stop there as I'd rather hear from you than fill space with me. Really appreciate some advice.

    Thank you,

    Audrey x
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Audrey. I am also a member of the Worry Club. Sometimes I grind my teeth, and I know that is from being anxious about something.

    I'm 85 now and thanks to TMS knowledge, which healed severe back pain from repressed childhood emotions, I find that when I worry about
    anything, what I worried about never happens. It helps when I do some deep breathing (inhale to 4 through the nose, hold for 4, exhale to 4 through the mouth). And after several deep breaths, I laugh. Laughing away our worries is really helpful.

    And tell yourself a positive mantra such as you posted about: "I have a wonderful family. I have been loved all my life." Your unconscious mind needs to hear that a lot.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Audrey. Do you believe that you have TMS? It seems as though you are thinking the cause of your pain is physical/structural. It is sometimes difficult to rule out a structural cause, because of course the way that TMS is so effective in distracting your mind from a deeper emotional/psychological issue is to convince you that there is something structurally wrong when there isn't. I had a severe spasm in my shoulder/neck that lasted well over a year. It also created occipital pain in the back on my head and sometimes pain in my jaw and a numbness on the right side of my face. MRI revealed multiple herniated cervical discs. Surgery was recommended. But here I am several years later and I do not have pain most of the time. Seeing is believing, but believing is also seeing. TMS is very powerful and it can be a real challenge to stay committed long enough to become pain free. It is well worth it though. Feeling a little stuck and hopeless when you are in chronic pain is very natural and understandable. Be patient and kind to yourself. Notice when you are feeling low, and although it may not be feasible to flip a switch and make the blues go away completely, look for something that can take the edge off just a bit. Something you enjoy, pamper yourself. Walt has given some wonderful advice. It will get better.
  4. audrey

    audrey New Member

    Walt thank you and Anne too.

    When you asked me if I believed it was TMS a quiet wee voice inside me said 'no'. I guess I dont and Lord knows I want to so badly. I reckon I'm about 90% there, but that last 10% is huge!
    I've had an awful day today feeling like I'm aching from every joint in my body and though I've been trying to run away from the possibility this could be fibromyalgia ( self diagnosis) I can get nothing else but that out of my head now. I know I shouldn't even worry about that as it's mentioned in the books as curable too.
    I stopped the SEP at day 25 in anger at my pain getting worse, but I returned tonight to begin again.

    I read of so many of you with awful childhoods and I had nothing like that. I have 2 great kids, big kids now, and am married to a good man. My only problem that I can see is worry, and it's hard to keep journalling about that. However I will try.

    Again thanks,
    Audrey x
  5. The Fool

    The Fool Peer Supporter

    Hi Audrey

    I am a fellow sufferer of diagnosed TMJ, plus I have occipital, and trigeminal nerve pain. Also been diagnosed with chronic myofascial pain in my head, neck and shoulders, and fibromyalgia, all of which Dr Sarno cites as TMS.

    I went through a period of only being able to open my mouth to about one finger-width wide, and opted for surgery. The worst mistake of my life. About a week later I contracted an infection, probably because of the steroid injection into my jaw which lowers the immune system. This caused a maelstrom of health anxiety, and my pain sky-rocketed. The maxillo surgeon referred me to a neurologist who ran MRI scans which revealed just normal wear and tear to the spine and a slight abnormality to the ligaments on the left side of my jaw. He couldn't say whether this was a result of the recent surgery, or whether they had been this way from birth. There was no medical reason for the severity of my pain. But I was convinced that they had missed something - how could there be nothing wrong with me when I was in so much pain?

    I tried many other avenues when the docs just sent me away with pills, which didn't seem to make a lot of difference to the pain, and my pain just persisted. But since finding out about TMS, I have made some progress. I can now open my mouth normally, and am working on the pain.

    None of the health professionals had asked me what was going on in my life at the time. I had recently given up work, my only son left home to live with his partner, and my Mum had recently died from pancreatic cancer. Plus, I am a constant worrier, and after reading SteveO's book, found out I was an HSP (highly sensitive person).

    The good people on this site can give you a lot of great advice. I am still on my own TMS journey, and it's turning out to be slow, and steady. I am finding out a lot about myself that I would never have discovered if I hadn't found out about TMS. Good luck with your own journey.

    Anne Walker likes this.
  6. audrey

    audrey New Member

    Dear Cath,

    Thank you for writing. My toes are curling as I read about your surgery and I'm so glad I didn't go ahead with it. The professor I saw here in Glasgow told me with a shrug of his shoulders 'it will work but I'll have to do it again in 4 years if you don't stop grinding your teeth.' I have no idea I am doing that but my husband hears it often so I know I do.

    The best advice I got from the doc was to go take up a hobby and calm down, so I gave up.

    At the moment my opening is about a finger and I chop everything up, no pain though, never any pain just clicking and grinding and sticking shut a couple of times.
    I am amazed you can open your mouth normally now I can't ever imagine doing that, really pleased for you as I know it's not fun...especially at the dentist.

    I don't have Steve Os book would you recommend it?

  7. The Fool

    The Fool Peer Supporter

    Hi Audrey

    I can't recommend it enough. It's a great read and Steve's humour helps to keep you hooked. I have it in hard copy, and also on my kindle because there's a wealth of good TMS advice. Although I have already read it through, I need to constantly keep dipping into it every day, as my stupid TMS negative thinking, and fear of the pain needs daily reminders that this is only mild oxygen reduction, and it will pass with persistence.

    My jaw still clicks and grates, but I can open it to three finger-widths wide now with no bother. There were times early on when I used to panic when I could only open it a very small amount. I thought I would never be able to open it again. But I kept trying to relax, and imagine myself opening it wider and wider, and gradually with effort I eventually did. I think I only ate soft mushy food for about a year, and that was enough for me.

  8. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Audrey,

    Many of us here have been "diagnosed" with fibromyalgia. I saw many expensive doctors and specialists over the years, alternative health practitioners, accupuncturists and chinese medicinal doctors, nutritionists, brain chemistry specialists with six month waiting lists... Some of the best doctors said that I could adopt the fibromyalgia diagnosis if I wanted to, but they felt the diagnosis would not be helpful to me. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be controlled but it is not curable in the sense that they don't know exactly what it is and what causes it. It is essentially an umbrella diagnosis for a range of symptoms that people have, primarily women. I have also met numerous people with TMJ and occipital neuralgia, that have tried all kinds of treatments, including surgery. I was not ever able to identify a clear cut path to recovery and I know several people who live with chronic pain and feel very hopeless about the future outcome. I am so grateful I did not end up being one of those people. I know you have mentioned several times about not having a terrible childhood. You do not need to have a terrible childhood or huge trauma to have TMS. Remember this is your own personal subconscious at work. It wants to distract you from something that you don't consciously want to think about and feel. Worry fuels TMS. There may be something going on in your life that you are angry with and you don't think you should be angry with it, that its not appropriate or worth being angry about. It can be a whole range of things, and you are the only one who can truly explore and discover what that is. I never did figure out "the thing" that caused my TMS. I did have to learn how to live differently, feel my emotions more fully, and to wrangle the thought processes that were creating all the worry and anxiety.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Anne. Great advice from you, as always.
    I was looking at YpuTube last night about body fat and came upon a video by JP Sears that
    relates to getting in touch with our feelings. His video doesn't mention TMS but is pure TMS involving
    journaling, meditation, deep breathing, etc.

    It can be found at Youtube through JP Sears or a google search at
    Anne Walker likes this.
  10. The Fool

    The Fool Peer Supporter

    Wow! What a great answer Anne. Although I have done a lot of work "thinking psychologically", I still find myself slipping back to the physical, and I too try not to label myself as a fibromyalgia sufferer, consciously correcting myself all the time that this is all TMS. I've met a few people diagnosed with fibro, and they've had varying symptoms, and differing degrees of disability.

    There are many things that could be "the" thing in my life that's causing my inner turmoil, or it could be an accumulation of them all. What I do find difficult is getting the message across to my subconscious that I understand that I have internalised a lot of rage and sadness. I do know that I am a lot happier than I've been for a long while, just by getting to know the real me through introspection. It's been hard finding my true self - sometimes I haven't liked what I've uncovered. There is still work to be done; I am slowly vanquishing my fears one by one.

    Audrey - this is great advice I especially like the thought of "wrangling with my thought processes which are creating all the worry and anxiety".
    Anne Walker likes this.
  11. audrey

    audrey New Member

    Dear Cath, Anne and Walt,

    Thanks for your kind replies. A stomach bug came to our family and we have been floored by it.

    You have given good advice and I feel I have the encouragement now to keep moving forward, though a long way from the finish line.....if there is one!

    I stopped on day 25 of the SEP thinking I was one of the few it really wasn't going to help, mainly as I didn't have these negative things to dig up and right about, but Ill return and finish now. Ill also treat myself to Steve O's book.

    Can I just ask one more question, is there anything any of you have done when that moment of pain strikes that helps.....or at least stops you heading down the 'maybe this is physical after all' road.

    Audrey x
  12. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Hi Audrey
    I have been diagnosed with TMJ in 2008. My journey for an answer has been a long one. I live in a country where fortunately surgeries are not widely performed.
    The only thing that has helped with my orofacial pain is rest and ice pads. I don´t know if you have tried them. My ostheopath helped me to build ice pads out of a rubber glove finger, that I use it to apply inside my mouth, always wrapped in soft cloth or small plastic bag. Let me know what you think of that. Besides I totally understand how you describe your pain.
  13. audrey

    audrey New Member

    What a good idea Fabi, never thought of that. Fortunately I don't have pain directly in my jaw, it just clicks horribly when I open it. My pain is in my neck/shoulders and I worry it is being caused by TMJ.
  14. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Well, Audrey, don´t worry, patience, understanding, compassion for yourself is the other best things you can do. If it is being caused by your jaw it should be properly diagnosed. In me the meantime, try the three elements that are mandatory with any medical treatment. Also ice pads inside themouth, on the trigger points, can be radical. In the sense that I was even ashamed of myself when I pictured myself with the ice stick in my mouth, breathing and relaxing. So, more patience and compassion.
    And ice on neck and shoulders, a good way to use ice around your neck is by putting a wet towel in the freezer and then you can use it around the neck.
    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, again, Audrey. The others have given you some great advice. I say again, stick with TMS belief. If you have been checked out by a doctor and nothing structural was found regarding your mouth pain, believe 100 percent that is emotional or from a perfectionist or goodist personality, wanting everyone to like you and approve of you. If you have not yet gone through the Structured Educational Program, free in the subforum on this web site, I urge you to start it. It helps in discovering the emotional causes of our symptoms. Good luck with the ice packs and I hope you soon will feeling great again. Keep positive about that.
    Fabi likes this.

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