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The Scoop on TMD Pharmaceuticals

Let's say the National Institutes of Health just handed us a multi-million dollar grant to get to the bottom of TMD and find a cure once and for all. I mean, we could start handing out heating pads left and right, but that kind of relief can only get us so far. Whenever I try a different form of therapy or medication, I like to think about the biology, right down to the cellular and molecular level. Why are the cells that make up my jaw region being such jerks?

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The TMJ Association is pleased to partner with Inspire to bring you the TMJ Cafe, a free online support network and discussion community for those with Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). We invite you to meet others like you, share experiences and tips for getting through the day, and give and receive support.

Sustained and Repeated Mouth Opening Leads to Development of Painful Temporomandibular Disorders Involving Macrophage/Microglia Activation in Mice

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a set of heterogeneous musculoskeletal conditions involving the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and/or the masticatory muscles. Up to 33% of the population has had at least one symptom of TMD with 5-10% of them requiring treatment. Common symptoms include limited jaw movement, joint sound, and pain in the orofacial area. Once TMD becomes chronic, it can be debilitating with comorbidities that greatly reduce one's overall quality of life. However, the underlying mechanism of TMD is unclear due to the multicausative nature of the disease.

Prevalence of TMD in Sjӧgren Syndrome Patients

Sjӧgren's Syndrome seems to play a role in temporomandibular joint disorders.

Early Molecular Response and Microanatomical Changes in the Masseter Muscle and Mandibular Head After Botulinum Toxin Intervention in Adult Mice

The Botox-injected masseters had greatly increased expression of genes involved in muscle atrophy at the 1 week time point compared to the control side muscles. At the end of the study, 2 weeks after injection, the Botox-injected masseters were about 20% smaller than the control side masseters, and the Botox-side condyles had lost about 40% of relative bone area compared to the control side condyles.

Amy

  • May 4, 2016

While it is difficult to pinpoint, I can generally say that my journey with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) started after my pregnancy when I was 20. I was already dealing with chronic back pain and a few other "injuries" that seemed to never heal. I really began noticing jaw pain after I had my daughter. My good days consisted of eating a lot of pasta with well-cooked vegetables and no meat because the meat was too hard to chew. On bad days, I couldn't eat anything solid without pain and had a headache that debilitated me for the rest of the day. I would go days eating only broth, plain yogurt, and mashed potatoes. I have always been amazed at how tiring it is to be in pain constantly. Even if I wasn't hurting too much, I still had no energy. I remember feeling so bad that I often couldn't play with my toddler. The first five to six years of her life were like this. As a result my daughter, now eight years old, is quite independent.

About four years ago, I was involved in a minor motorcycle accident [while riding as a passenger,] and my right hip was displaced and required physical therapy. I completed the physical therapy but was still in a lot of pain. After my doctor saw the pain that I was still feeling, he told me that my hip looked good, my mobility was back, and I shouldn't be in very much pain anymore. That is what prompted him to start looking into fibromyalgia. I was soon diagnosed and prescribed Gabapentin (Neurontin). The medication gave my life back to me. I have been taking it for the last three years or so. This medication not only helped with the widespread body pain, but also with the TMD pain, though I still have some functional issues with my jaw locking.

My advice to anyone dealing with jaw pain, or any chronic pain, is to try to look at the positive side of life; keep trying to find a doctor who won't look down or dismiss you. After seeing a number of doctors, I found a wonderful primary care physician. Keep trying non-invasive things that you think may help. I wish I could say they will work, but they're worth trying. In the long run, they may lead you to finding things that help!  Amy

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Last month Amy responded to our Facebook page post in which we asked for a TMD patient who would be willing to be interviewed for a magazine article on Fibromyalgia. Thank you, Amy, for volunteering! The NIH MedlinePlus magazine has a very large audience and will generate a greater awareness about TMD. You can read Amy's interview in the Spring 2016 issue of NIH MedlinePlus which is available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/spring16/articles/spring16pg22-23.html