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Sugar Plum's TMJ AKA TMD Journal
October 8, 2006

I was born with TMJ,ever since I was a little girl since I can remember my mom has always fixed meat so that it was soft enough for me to eat because I couldn't eat it hard sure I didn't have as a big a problem as I do now like everytime we had meat I was able to eat it no problem but that's no longer the case as now I don't get to eat meat hardly at all,when I was 13 from what my parents told me that's when my jaw started popping but I couldn't hear it popping but that changed when I got in to high school,when I was 17 basically the year Clusters cereal came out I tried eating that cereal one morning it turned out to be the most painful bowl of cereal I ever had because it hurt to eat it,my jaw popped so loud my parents could hear it in their bedroom,I haven't had it since,I loved the taste though but no way am I going through that again. One day when I was 17 all of a sudden my parents were reading me articles on TMJ telling me all about it,I had no idea I had it yet. I did have headaches in high school not migraines just headaches. When I was 10 I started going to the orthodontist,had headgear I had to wear,when I was 12 in 6th grade I had part of my braces put in,all my bicuspids removed as I didn't have enough room in my small mouth for all of my teeth,then the other part put in,&I had them for 3 years,& 10 months. My Senior year both my orthodontist,& the doctor I was seeing for my headaches diagnosed me with TMJ. I never really cared for gum chewing except for the freshen up kind,made a mistake of doing so gave me a bad headache,I learned the hard way about eating raw carrots because I love carrots,I love to eat raw carrots,that happened before I started having trouble with my jaw bothering me,& before then I did quit having those headaches.
When I was 21 years old that November that Sunday morning during church all of a sudden my jaw started hurting,I told mom,she took me to a dentist who specializes in TMJ,& I got a splint it worked pretty good at 1rst then I started having bad problems with my right jaw that summer it got really bad,the weekend right close to the 4rth of July it was the weekend of the Youth Evangelizm Conference,that Friday morning when we left to go to Montgomery I felt fine but on the way my jaw started hurting bad the worst ever like my jaw was locked up,I was so glad the student minister had talked mom in to coming as a chaperone,I took pain medicine at our 1rst stop,that August I had surgery on my jaw,we didn't know that my right jaw was even locked up until after surgery when we learned they had to unlock my right jaw.
I did go through physical therapy once I had that 1rst flare up of pain after surgery. My parents quit taking me each time.
How things are now,& before that surgery a decade ago is it has to do with the muscle in my jaw,&there are 3 things that can make me hurt jaw getting cold,eating hard food,& stress. My longest flare up of pain ever was 6 months,& it took physical therapy to end it.  That is my 1rst longest flare up I ever had.
I go to a different place now when I go to physical therapy,& my parents quit taking me when my insurance won't cover it. Some of it can be done at home but what really helped me the thing to stimulate your muscles can't be done at home.
That long flare up,the cause of it was singing,I quit singing until I learned if I don't open my mouth to wide it won't be a problem 1rst time I was able to sing for 3 years then it hurt to again,2nd time was 2 months,only during the end months of 2003 did I find out I could open my mouth to sing,& it not put me in pain. I have learned a lot through that experience as a Christian like what's really important is that God can hear me singing not everyone else,&if singing is going to put me in pain that God wouldn't want me to do so if it means bad jaw pain. It was really tough for me at 1rst. I love to sing although I'm an alto one of the lowest alto voices you ever heard.
My 2nd year at Camp Smile in 99 I learned that no matter how bad I feel physically I can still have fun at Camp,my 3rd year in 2000 I learned that you can still have fun at Camp even sick,I had to go home early that year.
In my 20's not late 20's keep in mind I started having trouble with my jaw at age 21,I used to would cry when I was in bad pain but I quit doing that,a friend told me I should treasure the days I'm not in any pain,I always have,it's ashame I don't have more of them. I used to would stay home when in bad pain but not all the time any more but I can't when I take my strongest pain medicine that puts me to sleep.
At 1rst my TMJ was mild then it was medium,4 years ago my TMJ became the mild degree of severe TMJ.
It seems like it almost gets worse with every flare up.
6 years ago at Camp Smile I was in so much pain that I wasn't even trying to participate at 1rst,all I had at Camp to take was the lortab,it wasn't helping the pain at all,back then mom wouldn't let me take anything stronger than that at Camp,it hurt to open my mouth to talk is how bad it was,I even cried about the pain being so bad because I couldn't stand it,I talked to mom on the phone,she talked me in to giving Camp a chance,& stuff,it wasn't until after Camp that I realized how much that week really meant to me,regardless I wasn't lonely during that time.
When I had problems with that 1 tooth before having a root canal done on it not only was I having trouble biting with the tooth,with cold bothering that tooth but it also put me in bad jaw pain,then later that year it turned out that it was another tooth that was making my jaw hurt my back right tooth the molar,& wisdom tooth just so happened they were in the same place,I didn't think anything of it when the tooth fell out I just know that once that tooth was taken out my bad flare up of jaw pain had ended,I think that was like 2 years ago not sure. I do know for sure that it was 2 years ago because my last time at Camp Smile was 2 years ago during my week at Camp my tooth started bothering me my left back bottom tooth it felt like it was like finally trying to come in more when that's not possible but it started hurting big time,making my left jaw hurt,my left jaw doesn't normally hurt at all,went to the dentist about it,turns out it was time to have the tooth out because it had finally become a problem,thing is it had hardly come in at all,was mostly covered in gum we had it extracted,& everything to get it to come in,I was actually able to feel the tooth instead of the gum,eventually we found out that I had to have the top 2 bottom teeth taken out in surgery but
I had to wait until my parents got back from Alaska several months to get it done just so I could have my mom with me when I had it done,and I had that done in December,once the swelling was gone the jaw pain was back to normal I had finally gotten to where I could quit taking pain medicine daily but that didn't last. I learned how teeth pain can cause your jaw to hurt.
My TMJ has gotten worse in the past 4 years,to the point that I was hurting daily,& have to take pain medicine daily at 1rst 15mg ms contin but then it wasn't enough for the pain,& the 30 mg ms contin puts me to sleep so I needed something in between so I take 20 mg oxycontin,& if I need something more then I take a break through pain pill. Certain days no matter how bad I hurt like on Sunday's I can't take the 30 because I would end up falling asleep at church,on Sunday nights I can though,I can't on Wednesday's when I plan to go to church on Wesdnesday nights. I really hate having to take pain medicine. There was a time that I was able to quit taking pain medicine daily once I had surgery on my teeth in December because once the swelling went down I wasn't having as much trouble until I had to quit taking my Daypro my anti inflammatory,& I had to go back to it because with out anti inflammatory I'm in jaw pain,I had to quit for a period of time because my doctor thought it was bothering my stomach but that ended up being irritable bowel syndrome.
2 years ago I was on Paxil not for depression but to help relax my muscles only I was as happy as can be when I started taking it it changed that I became depressed,&suicidal,&any excitement I had in my life was gone,my parents never believed it did that to me though just glad I talked them in to letting me taper off of it. I hate anti depressants because of my history with them.
    Currently I am in my 2nd longest flare up ever record length breaking flare up,and also record breaking in pain,although in December 2004 I think it was when I had my crown done on my back bottom right tooth my flare up did get better,and I was able to eat Count Chocula again,yet later that in December 2004 less than a month later my current flare up started,and it is now almost 2 years,and 10 months since it started.

    In July 2005 I did have a change in my medicine early that month when I went to my doctor I got changed from Daypro to Anaprox she thought that I needed the change,and that my discomfort in my chest would go away,and it did.  In July 2005 I was also changed to a pain medicine that don't make you as tired that you only take once a day Avinza 30mg,and I no longer alternate in taking the Oxycontin 20mg,and the Ms Contin 30m depending on how much my jaw hurts in the morning,and I'm not nearly as tired as I was before,I'm more alert than I was on the other pain medicine.

    I do take Topomax to prevent my TMJ Migraine type headaches,and it does a pretty good job with that unless your having vision problems.   

    A year ago I had my muscle relaxer changed from Skelaxin to Chlozoxazon because I thought doing that would help my jaw pain,and possibly end the flare up,of course that didn't happen,it helps,and it don't make me nearly as tired as the Skelaxin did though,and it does help more than the previous one did.

     In December I did go back to Physical Therapy for a short period of time,and I haven't been back because I only so many more visits left,and didn't want to use them all up at once but it helped ease up my jaw pain,I had hoped it would end my flare up like it did that 6 month flare up.  

     I am currently not on an anti inflammatory since I started taking cumadin temporarily for a year in April,and since I'm on it I can't take any anti inflammatories.  All the years that I have spent taking anti inflammatories have caused me to have really bad acid reflux,and I have to take Aciphex to prevent acid reflux.

That is a lot of my history with it but not most of it but what's most important right now.

Posted by donnaalee at 7:10 AM CDT
Updated: October 8, 2006 7:33 AM CDT

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