"What an unhappy surprise in the last few months to visit two different dentists and walk away with TMD in both TMJs! Having spent 30 years as a speech-language pathologist, I am grateful to have a seasoned ability to devise strategies to help me through the day. Wow! Working at what others and I have taken for granted (speaking and even just looking around, for example) gives me a new respect for how amazing the human body is!
"One adjustment I've used is pretending to be a 'modified ventriloquist'. I overuse my tongue and lips to speak when my jaw and neck muscles are exhausted by too much talking.
"Also, I am graciously asserting myself at gatherings, changing my seating or asking others to do so when my facial and neck muscles cannot tolerate looking far left and right as a conversation ping pongs back and forth.
"Here's a most helpful adjustment: the use of 'chat' on the computer for some of my dear friends whom I would speak to for a long time. Also, I now am learning to make 'chat' calls to businesses such as insurance companies, saving verbal and muscular energy as well as cell phone minutes! 'Chat' is especially helpful in the morning and evening when my jaw tires more readily.
"Biggest challenge for me is learning to speak about TMD only to the people who can help me, not to the curious. This saves much energy and angst and allows time to enjoy other things in the day as I avoid constant, useless focus on this trauma.
"A great positive is this. I've taken my health for granted. Now, I am motivated by TMD to keep in shape through stretching and walking which conditions my muscles throughout my body and encourages me toward recovery. I intend to fully recover!
"Thank you TMJA for your priceless support through your website, buddies, articles, and opportunities like this writing to focus, calm down and carry on! I am grateful and not taking you for granted!" Susan