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It's Time to Be Part of the Solution

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Study on Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) is well underway. We strongly encourage everyone affected by TMD to write to the NAM committee letting them know what it is like to live with TMD and your experiences with getting care.

New CME on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions

The Chronic Pain Research Alliance, an initiative of The TMJ Association, in partnership with the International Pelvic Pain Society, is pleased to announce the release of our newly developed Continuing Medical Education (CME) program on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions.

And the Committee heard from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

At the end of the NAM meeting, Dr. Gregory Ness, representing the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAMOS) gave the following comments: “AAMOS welcomes the interest and support of the Academies, the NIH, NIDCR, FDA and The

What Allen Told the Committee

Allen Cowley addressed the second open-to-the-public meeting of the National Institute of Medicine's (NAM) Committee on Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) held on March 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. No stranger to the world of TMD, Dr. Cowley is the hus

Some Thoughts on Depression

It is hardly surprising that the chronic pain and limitations in function that many long-time TMJ patients experience can be accompanied by a state of depression, a sense of exhaustion and hopelessness.

Carolyn

  • Sep 21, 2016

Hello, my name is Carolyn and I am 59 years old. I found out that I had TMJ when I was 23 years old. I could no longer close my mouth to bite and chew food. I was in a car accident when I was 18 and was told I probably had whiplash. I also had an over and open bite which only made things worse. 

I have worked for 30 plus years and finally had to "retire" due to my health. I cannot describe the pain, but the closest I can come is what I would imagine is bone on bone pain. An example I use is to imagine a tennis player having his/her shoulder dislocated and still having to play the game of tennis. With TMD I still have to talk, smile, laugh, kiss, and eat; most often this is done with pain. Another issue is that I cannot take pain medication without taking a nausea pill. If I take both a nausea and a pain pill it completely knocks me out, so I have to choose between living in pain or going to sleep without pain. When I was 23 years old I didn't have pain, but in the last 10 years the pain has been horrible. I was taking 8 to 12 Advil a day because it seemed to help the pain; however I was told to stop because of its effect on my kidney function. At this point I have to decide whether to take Advil to help the pain or lose my kidneys.

I have a great dentist. He has made me several splints, because I have worn several out. He has tried equilibration, but as I get older he says I probably have arthritis and some nerve damage. I am sure I have both. I have seen a TMJ specialist who told me to save my money because he would be doing the same treatments my dentist had already done. I feel hopeless and helpless and a complete failure as a wife, mother, and grandmother, because I never "want" to do anything. I have a wonderful, supportive family, but my husband is the only one who really knows and sees how bad the pain is, and he feels so helpless because he can't fix it for me that I try not to let him see me at this point. I can usually hang in there until noon, but after that it all does downhill, and by five or six I am ready to knock myself out.

I wish I could find a pain management doctor who could help. Again, I can't take pain pills. I would like to try a muscle relaxer to relax my jaw muscles which are spasming by the end of the day, but no one wants to give me a prescription for fear I would become addicted to the medication. At this point I just don't care; I just need someone to listen, to help, and work with me, instead of just telling me medicine can't help. I try not to complain in public. I'm sure there are people with cancer who are in a lot of pain, but when you are in a lot of pain and cannot get relief, it is the most miserable situation anyone can be in. This is my story. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to hearing them.