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Pain Drawings: An Important Tool for Health Care Practitioners

Last year we shared with you a study in which investigators found patients with more severe and chronic TMD are likely to experience other persistent pain conditions in other parts of the body, seemingly unrelated to problems in the jaw or face. Yet patients often do not mention these "overlapping" or "comorbid" pain conditions when they see a dentist or health care provider.

Primary Temporomandibular Disorders and Comorbid Conditions

The aim of this study is to evaluate the distribution of the most common comorbid conditions associated with chronic temporomandibular disorders, and the pharmacological agents which play an integral role in the overall management of temporomandibular joint disorders. Abstract: INTROD

Overdiagnosis and Unnecessary Therapy

Many dental practitioners continue to use radiographic or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) as the sole means of establishing that there is a pathology present that requires treatment.

TMD Self-Management Programs

Self-management (SM) programs in temporomandibular disease (TMD) are a core component of pain management of TMD throughout its course and are often given to patients as a first essential step after diagnosis.

Honor Families Who Bravely Battle TMD

If you haven't done so already, please join me in making a year-end contribution to The TMJ Association (TMJA) in the honor of families like mine and yours who bravely battle this disease each and every day. Since my daughter, Alexandra, b

Marion: Conservative and Reversible Treatments Are Key

  • May 13, 2015

Facial pain and jaw pain were once a big part of my life. For a time, I thought it would be the end of me. Eventually, I recovered with patience, physical therapy and time.

This phrase saved my life: Treatments should be conservative, reversible and noninvasive. Following that advice allowed me to avoid harmful treatments. And eventually, I got better. That was more than 10 years ago and though I am normal again, I will always remember those difficult days.

I developed facial pain in 1997 when a dentist left a filling too high. He gave me a hard plastic splint to “re-position” my jaw. Bad idea! Most facial pain is muscular and will get better on its own with time and simple treatments. Unfortunately providers may treat with aggressive measures that cause more harm. That’s what happened to me.

The splint caused a permanent injury and left me in terrible pain. About this time I found The TMJ Association, which saved my life. The TMJ Association provided science-based, reliable information about facial pain and TMJ disorders. I also read a brochure from the National Institutes of Health with the life-changing phrase. “Treatments should be conservative, reversible and noninvasive.” The pain was very bad and I just wanted to feel better. Many of us reach that point and agree to harmful, costly treatments. When we don’t get better, we are often abandoned by our dental providers.

After discovering the TMJ Association and information from the National Institutes of Health, I felt hope. I saw a compassionate family doctor who prescribed physical therapy with a specially trained therapist. I got better and eventually, the pain was gone. These days, I have respectful dentist who understands my need to avoid wide opening and whose approaches are conservative.

Because of my gratitude to the TMJ Association, I became a patient volunteer several years ago. The TMJ Association patient support network offers a way for me to reach out and help others.

I have three dogs and three cats. I work as a freelance writer and enjoy running, swimming, hiking, yoga and music. I am a fan of House MD.

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