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Educational Brochures on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions

This brochure addresses what are Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions (COPCs), how COPCs are diagnosed, the complexity of the chronic pain experience, and how to work with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan. It is available by postal ma

Study Highlights TMD Evidence and Current Practice Gaps

The TMJ Association has long championed the need for strong evidence-based demonstrations of the safety and efficacy of TMD diagnostics and treatments. Sad to say, as the following journal article indicates, even among a network of research-oriented practices, dental providers are still resorting to such TMD treatments as occlusal adjustments in which teeth are irreversibly moved, ground down, or in other ways altered, a treatment for which there is no scientific evidence of efficacy.

Beware of Ticks and Lyme Disease

We are currently in the peak season for Lyme disease. Each year at this time we highlight this topic because we have heard from a number of patients over the years who were misdiagnosed and underwent unnecessary TMD treatments when they actually had Lyme

#*!"@!**! ... May Help Your Pain... and Improve Strength!

Our headline is adopting the comic strip convention of using symbols to denote swear words because we are intrigued by a report that swearing may have some health benefits.

Predictors of Opioid Efficacy for Chronic Pain Patients

Opioids are increasingly used for treatment of chronic pain. However, they are only effective in a subset of patients and have multiple side effects. Thus, studies using biomarkers for response are highly warranted.

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


In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Office of Research on Women's Health