My 15 Year History With TMJ Temporor Mandibular Disorder J stands for Jaw. Written By Donna Lee aka Sugar Plum Over 15 years ago one Sunday morning I was in the choir loft with the adult choir next to my mom at church,and during the service my jaw started hurting. It was the first time I ever had any jaw pain. I told mom about the pain. The following week my mom took me to a dentist who specializes in TMJ. I got a splint,and started wearing it. For the first 6 months I had no problems with my jaw. Then I started having trouble again with my right jaw,and it didn't get any better for a while. The doctor had us go see another doctor to get an opinion on whether I should have surgery on my jaw or not. Had an MRI done. It showed that my right disk was malformed. In June the weekend of the youth evangelizm conference on our way to Montgomery to go to it in the van my jaw started hurting real bad. The first place we stopped I took some pain medicine. Don't know what pain medicine. That weekend I took pain medicine the entire time while we were gone,and on Sunday. It was the most painful weekend in my life at that time. It was one weekend I will never forget. Boy was I glad that my mom had gone as a chaperone. It was only because the youth minister at West Mobile Baptist Church had talked my mom in to going as one. It was after that painful weekend that the doctors decided to go ahead,and do the surgery. (Would be over 14 years ago.) That August after my surgery we found out that they had to unlock my right jaw because it was locked up. The first 6 months after my surgery I wasn't in any jaw pain. Then I had my first flare up during the winter time. Took pain medicine until the first flare up went away. I don't exactly remember how long it lasted. After all I have a lot of information to remember from my 6 year learning experience. I do recall that I kept on having flare ups. I did go to physical therapy for a while,and it helped me a lot. The following summer I made a record of 7 months with out any pain medicine or jaw pain. The following winter that would be 4 years ago I had my first cold weather flare up,and learned that I need to keep my jaw warm when it is cold to keep it from getting cold. That is why I either wear a hat or something that has a hood. When I wear a hood I have it as tight as it will go to keep the cold air out. It lasted for a few months. My antiinflammatory was changed from Naprosyn to Feldene,and it helped. Then I went through several other different antiinflammortories. At first I was able to take Tylenol for pain but after I started taking butabital I couldn't take Tylenol any more. I can't say that I remember much about how many flare ups I have had but the one that I remember the most is the longest one I ever had that this past March was 3 years ago when it started,and it lasted all summer that summer,and didn't end until August. During that flare up my antiinflammatory was changed so many times that I don't know how many times it was. Darvocet never did give me much relief from the jaw pain. Toradol the one that did got taken off of the market. Ultram is the one that helps but makes me sick to my stomach,and very tired. Don't take Darvocet any more. Haven't for a very long time. I am glad it is a humongous pill that I have almost choked on trying to swallow it. We talked to the doctors about what could be done to end the flare up,and the only answer was Physical Therapy so I went in to Physical Therapy for a while,and it ended. Until recently it was the most painful flare up but now it is only the longest one I ever had. Since then I have always had trouble with my jaw bothering me during this time of year every year. Until this past summer in May is when my short painful flare up started it felt like my most painful flare up but isn't any more. Just the shortest flare up I ever had I think. It ended in June while we were on vacation. Didn't have any more problems with my jaw bothering me much until September when I had my most painful flare up ever even more painful than it was before my surgery but it wasn't locked up it just felt like it fortunately. That flare up I learned a few more things about TMJ,and that is how to tell the difference between a TMJ,and a migraine headache but I won't get into the difference in this file since it is what I am covering in another text file. This flare up just wouldn't go away. The heating pad wasn't helping,neither was any of the pain medicine. Some time ago I had started taking naprosyn again but had to switch to a different one because it was tearing up my stomach,and I was being sick at my stomach by taking it so it was changed to Naprelan. After this flare up had started my doctor changed my antiinflammatory to Daypro,and I am still taking that one today. I take so much medicine besides antiinflammatories,and antivert (to keep from having dizzy spells) that it is hard to remember the name of everything that I take. One is to prevent my headaches,and I take it at bedtime. It makes me real tired. After the change to daypro it helped some but it wasn't enough so my main doctor gave me this new pain medicine to take MS Contin,and it is what ended that painful flare up in October. But I am still having jaw trouble off,and on since then,and I seem to have those headaches all the time now. That is pretty much my 6 year experience with TMJ. I am pretty young to have it this bad. The degree that I have it is medium. TMJ is hereditary. I know it runs in my family but so far I am the only in the family to have it this bad. My mom has experienced jaw pain twice but that is all so she knows how painful it can be. My late grandmother was lucky she only had the headaches. A year ago I quit wearing my splint since it wasn't doing any good,and tried to put it in in September but it won't fit in my mouth. The splint may help may not. Not that I loved wearing it though. Braces were a lot worse. There are 3 different degrees of TMJ mild,medium,and severe. Severe TMJ can be a lot worse than what I have experienced so far. I was born with TMJ. My symptoms started showing up when I was 13 in the 7th grade with jaw popping,and as I got older the popping got louder,and eventually got loud enough for me to hear it popping. The year when Clusters the hardest cereal around came out I had a bowl for breakfast boy was that a big mistake because while I was eating it my jaw was popping so loud that my parents could hear it in the bedroom. It was very painful trying to eat that cereal. It is my favorite but I don't eat it because there is no way I want to go through that again. I do know that even when I was in elementary school for as long as I can remember my mom has always had to fix meat soft enough for me to be able to eat it. I always had trouble eating meat unless it was soft. I can't chew gum. I found out the reason for that when I was 19 I tried chewing Freshen Up since it was the only kind of gum I ever had any interest in chewing,and doing that caused me to have headaches so I stopped chewing gum for good. Not like I enjoyed chewing gum any way. I can't even eat raw carrots since doing that isn't good for my TMJ. When you have TMJ you have to be very careful what you eat because eating the wrong thing can make you hurt. I know that from my own experience. I can't even eat my favorite peanuts Honey Nut Roasted. I love Boiled peanuts more than those plain roasted peanuts I made the mistake of eating,and turned out to be to hard for me. Boiled peanuts I can eat. I have a lot of stuff that happened that isn't in this file but I can't remember all the details, and I will put the last of my experience leading up to how I'm doing with my TMJ now in another text file seperate from the rest of it. My reasons for not updating this file with the rest of my experience has to do with how I was doing emotionally back then not because I don't care about my most important site.