Hello, my name is Daniel. I have had a TMJ issue for the past three years. I have been diagnosed and treated by over seven different doctors ranging from family doctors, multiple dentists to oral facial pain specialists and surgeons. I have had CAT Scans and an MRI. My TMJ diagnosis has been confirmed with no results for a cure. I have not had any surgeries. I have read many books and articles regarding TMJ. Now the good news. I still have TMJ with the limited opening but have taken my pain levels from 90% all the time to almost 1% very occassionally. I have done most of this on my own by doing a few simple things. Facial and head pain with TMJ can be unbearable at times. I hope the following advice can help you.
I have managed the pain by not trying to force the opening further than what I can do. Forcing the opening past it's current limit is where all the pain starts. I also noticed that if I yawn or hear my jaw pop from opening too far within an hour that is when there is the most facial and head pain from the popping of the bones together.
If I do not force the opening and yawn easily without popping the jaw, I have limited my pain the past two years to where I do not need any pain medication or any type of pain reliever. I even wore a nightly mouthguard for the first two years and have not needed it for almost a year now.
Also, no clenching during the day and don't lean your chin on your hand. Keep your mouth open and relaxed. At nighttime here a few things to limit clenching during sleep. Exercise in the morning or afternoon. Not right before bed. Do not consume any caffeine or sugar or alcohol or tobacco 3-4 hours prior to going to sleep. Try a type of tea that can help relax you to get better rest. The more relaxed you are at bedtime the less likely you will clench during sleep which can cause most of the pain in the morning.
Also keep good posture as this will tie in with keeping your whole body relaxed along with the jaw.
Don't bite into hard things like apples. Limit chewing gum and taffy type of candy that causes constant or hard chewing. As for the limited opening, still eat everything you like. Just cut it up into smaller pieces. Even a large sandwich can be eaten by using a fork with the meat and then take a bite of bread. Not a big deal and you do adapt.
I still live a normal life with a great family and good job. Wishing everyone less pain and a better life. I hope this helps you as it has me.
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