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Dentists in Distress

Fear of the dentist is practically a rite of passage in youth. Growing up, I wasn't exactly afraid of the dentist; rather, any excuse to leave school early was a powerful incentive. These days, I have a more complicated relationship with dentistry: I go to get answers and try to feel better, but I always pop a prophylactic ibuprofen or two in case my jaw protests from the oral gymnastics.

Patients in Los Angeles or New York City Needed for Clinical Study - Comparative Study of Women Considering or Currently Receiving Botox© Injections for TMJ Pain

Are you a woman with "TMJ" pain in facial muscles, who has either: a. recently had Botox© injections for your pain or b. not had Botox© for your pain but has thought about such treatment? If either is true for you, you may qualify for an observational research study centrally administered by the NYU College of Dentistry. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of this study is to understand potential health risks that may be caused by treating "TMJ pain" with Botox© injections.

Patients Front and Center at the 2018 TMJ Patient-Led RoundTable

It is still all too fresh in the minds of many patients. Fifty years ago, between the 1970s and 1980s, some 10,000 TMJ patients received Vitek jaw implant devices.

Funding Opportunities now available for the NIH Common Fund’s Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program

The NIH Common Fund's Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program aims to understand the biological characteristics underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain and what makes some people susceptible and others resilient to the development of chronic pain.

Opportunity to Voice Your Opinion: U.S. Government Officials Want To Hear from Patients with Pain

FDA Public Meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain On July 9, 2018, FDA hosted a public meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/15/2018-10284/patient-focused-

Graeme's Story

  • May 13, 2015

I am a 39-year-old TMJD sufferer living in Sydney, Australia. I was first diagnosed with TMJD in approximately 2003 after being concerned about my frequent headaches in the temple region.

I suffered with debilitating headaches as a child and then from adolescence through to adulthood. When I was about six years old, I fell from the top of a 20-foot waterfall onto rocks below. I now wonder if that or other childhood injuries were a contributing factor to my TMD.

Incidentally I was a teeth grinder when I was young and I believe I still clench at night. In 2002, I had all of my wisdom teeth removed, thinking that was the cause of my pain. Surprisingly my dentist at the time didn't even suggest I had a TMD. With debilitating migraine-style headaches continuing, I was determined to find out more. I eventually had a CAT scan to remove the possibility of tumors and it was following this that my TMD condition was diagnosed. Dental treatment led me to trying a mouthguard; however, I found this to be uncomfortable and ineffective.

I eventually saw a maxillofacial specialist in 2003. This visit provided me with an explanation for my condition and lead to physiotherapy treatment that initially tried to treat the condition through massage and jaw exercises. This didn't really work for me as it wasn't really helping my condition. I then just decided to live with the condition. When pain does occur I resort to long showers with pulsating water (or alternatively baths); however, these only provide temporary relief. I use paracetamol for pain relief and sometimes take Mersyndol to help with a sound night's sleep. I'm not sure that the paracetamol is really that effective.

Moving onto early 2008 I set about shedding some excess weight. To the end of 2010 I've lost 40kg (88lb) through a significant amount of exercise. I now hike regularly and cycled 4000km last year! With work getting quite busy, I haven't made the time for this level of regular exercise. On 18 July 2011 I had a debilitating migraine caused by my TMD. This lead me to read more about TMD on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporomandibular_joint_disorder ):

Regular exercise such as running for 20 minutes 3 times a week, is extremely efficient in alleviating TMD brought about through stress-induced bruxism. Exercise essentially burns away the chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine that cause stress so the unconscious mind no longer feels the need to relieve its stress through jaw-clenching.

After reading that, I recalled that I had periods of two to three months in 2010 where I didn't suffer from a TMJD-induced headache. Light bulb! I needed to get out and exercise again!

Now that I'm motivated I'm aiming to cycle a minimum of 60km per week. This is about 2.5hrs of exercise per week, mainly by going for 20km rides after work. I'm also going to try and hike most weekends. Ttypically these are 4-8 hrs duration.

I'm also going to start using the iManage Migraine app ( http://itunes.apple.com/app/imanage-migraine/id340537912?mt=8 ) on my iPhone to log details of pain episodes. That, together with my exercise diaries will hopefully give me some form of confirmation that regular exercise is the best treatment for my TMD.

That's my story. I hope that it's useful in some way. I'm happy for you to share the above without any identifying information.

I'm glad that I found your organization via Facebook as there aren't any TMD-focused community groups/organizations that I could find in Australia.

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In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Office of Research on Women's Health