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Patients Front and Center at the 2018 TMJ Patient-Led RoundTable

It is still all too fresh in the minds of many patients. Fifty years ago, between the 1970s and 1980s, some 10,000 TMJ patients received Vitek jaw implant devices.

Funding Opportunities now available for the NIH Common Fund’s Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program

The NIH Common Fund's Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program aims to understand the biological characteristics underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain and what makes some people susceptible and others resilient to the development of chronic pain.

Opportunity to Voice Your Opinion: U.S. Government Officials Want To Hear from Patients with Pain

FDA Public Meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain On July 9, 2018, FDA hosted a public meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/15/2018-10284/patient-focused-

Consider Including the TMJA in Your Financial Planning

We were recently contacted by Tom P. who informed us that he was including The TMJ Association (TMJA), in his financial planning. Tom wrote the following for us to share with our readers:

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?

Carolyn

  • Sep 21, 2016

Hello, my name is Carolyn and I am 59 years old. I found out that I had TMJ when I was 23 years old. I could no longer close my mouth to bite and chew food. I was in a car accident when I was 18 and was told I probably had whiplash. I also had an over and open bite which only made things worse. 

I have worked for 30 plus years and finally had to "retire" due to my health. I cannot describe the pain, but the closest I can come is what I would imagine is bone on bone pain. An example I use is to imagine a tennis player having his/her shoulder dislocated and still having to play the game of tennis. With TMD I still have to talk, smile, laugh, kiss, and eat; most often this is done with pain. Another issue is that I cannot take pain medication without taking a nausea pill. If I take both a nausea and a pain pill it completely knocks me out, so I have to choose between living in pain or going to sleep without pain. When I was 23 years old I didn't have pain, but in the last 10 years the pain has been horrible. I was taking 8 to 12 Advil a day because it seemed to help the pain; however I was told to stop because of its effect on my kidney function. At this point I have to decide whether to take Advil to help the pain or lose my kidneys.

I have a great dentist. He has made me several splints, because I have worn several out. He has tried equilibration, but as I get older he says I probably have arthritis and some nerve damage. I am sure I have both. I have seen a TMJ specialist who told me to save my money because he would be doing the same treatments my dentist had already done. I feel hopeless and helpless and a complete failure as a wife, mother, and grandmother, because I never "want" to do anything. I have a wonderful, supportive family, but my husband is the only one who really knows and sees how bad the pain is, and he feels so helpless because he can't fix it for me that I try not to let him see me at this point. I can usually hang in there until noon, but after that it all does downhill, and by five or six I am ready to knock myself out.

I wish I could find a pain management doctor who could help. Again, I can't take pain pills. I would like to try a muscle relaxer to relax my jaw muscles which are spasming by the end of the day, but no one wants to give me a prescription for fear I would become addicted to the medication. At this point I just don't care; I just need someone to listen, to help, and work with me, instead of just telling me medicine can't help. I try not to complain in public. I'm sure there are people with cancer who are in a lot of pain, but when you are in a lot of pain and cannot get relief, it is the most miserable situation anyone can be in. This is my story. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to hearing them.