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TMJ = Thoroughly Mangled Jaw?

I barely had a chance to spit out all my symptoms before she pronounced "TMJ." She did check my ears to make sure there was no infection, and did the batter of things docs usually do, but she's satisfied that TMJ it is. As most of you know (given the amount of you that correctly diagnosed me), it's a chronic thing that doesn't really go away, but sometimes - like I have this week - you'll have intense flare ups. This coincides with the allergy season and times of stress, both of which make me grind/clench my teeth at night.

I have to go for some blood work and a cat scan next week just to play it safe and I'll have to go to my dentist to get fitted for a guard to wear at night to keep my from clenching (definitely more of a clencher than grinder).

The best news is she gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory/pain relief magical elixer pill. However, before I picked up the scrip, I stopped at the bank. While there, I had the most intense experience with pain I ever had in my life and that is no exaggeration. It was like someone was sending a million volts of electric shocks through my teeth and jaw. I saw stars and nearly puked from the pain. I've had terrible back pain before, I've had head injury pain, I've had labor pain, for crying out loud and nothing, none of it, compared to what I felt in the bank. And I couldn't exactly scream EPIDURAL NOW! at the teller window.

Anyhow, made it home, took the pill (which I was told not to cut up, but I did because I can't swallow pills - no swallowing jokes, please) and I swear, within fifteen minutes, the pain was gone. I just feel a dull pressure now that I can handle well enough.

So that's the update. Thanks to all who gave me a clue as to what was going on and/or wished me well. I'm confident the cat scan/blood work will come back normal (yea, yea as normal as possible for someone with my brain - see, I'm taking all your potential jokes away from you).

I'm happy I'm feeling better because we are going to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of my grammar school tonight and I'm really hoping my fifth grade teacher is there so I can finally, after all the years of harboring a smoldering rage toward him, kick him in the balls.

Bless you, super strength Naproxen, my new best friend.

[I had that damn wisdom tooth pulled for NOTHING!}


Naproxen Sodium ranks up there with the wheel as far as inventions go. I'd like to have the super strength thing as I usually take 2 regular OTC ones for just about anything.

When you kick your teacher in the balls, you should offer him a Naproxen, then say "Psyche!"

Keep us posted. I've heard of catblogging, but never catscanblogging.

Sorry to hear about the pain, but glad to hear you have a diagnosis. I went through a similar experience when I started having excruciating leg pain and terrible shaking in my hand and jaw. After the doctor sent me for an MRI "to rule out MS" I was convinced I had MS. Turns out it's a condition called Essential Tremor, which I can treat with medication (thank you, Klonopin). So now it's OK, most of the time. Dental anesthetic (along with all the other 'caines) makes it much worse, for some reason. So I know that knowing what is causing the problem and what you can do about it makes all the difference in the world.

Oh, and I also suffer from TMJ (I'm a grinder, not a clencher), so for those days that you just can't get off the couch, I bought you something from your Wish List.

At least now you get to refer to your bruxism, which sounds vaguely cool and hardcore.

I used to wake up with headaches until I got a nightguard...what a difference! Now I only wake up with ETOH headaches....
Here's a Star Wars video to make you feel better.

Still trying to find a way to send you a virtual pie.

I can't take naproxin. Naproxin, ibuprophin and asperin all do a serious number on my stomach. The only thing I can take is acetominaphen. Unless I have the opportinity to get some sweet, sweet codeine.

I'm more of a clench and grinder, do I get bonus points for that?

Feel free to take a hot shower, drink the vodka, get in bed naked and sleep for twelve hours anyway. You can never really go wrong with that plan.

Curses ... foiled again.

All I got when I had TMJ was Motrin 800s but that's the Air Force's answer to just about anything pain related. I literally had to stop chewing gum for a year and then they finally realized I had a crown that was throwing my entire jaw out of alignment.

Naproxen, hooray Pills.

I'm am so glad you are getting that tooth guard. I am 68 and for 40 years I ground my teeth at night. Now I have jagged teeth and a crooked bite. Watch out for the naprosen, it can definitely harm your stomach. I've twice landed in the hospital needing blood, blamed on arthritis medications. Naprosen didn't get in the running because I knew right away it wasn't for me. Your doc should keep a good eye on you as you take any of those meds. (meaning blood work).
Have you noticed that you might be clenching your hands at the same time?
Watch out for that too!! Good luck.

Ok, I have the mouthguard, I am a clencher, I am even marrying a dentist...none of these helped my TMJ/TMD.

I got my wisdom teeth out, which alleviated a lot of the pain, but the best thing I did was get one of those $100 space foam pillows, the kind that "contours to your head and neck for a better night's sleep" (that line still sticks in my head from the infomercial). It really is a life saver, since I do all my grinding while I sleep.

I'm SO glad to read this post Michele (except for your experience at the bank).

Correct diagnosis is at least half the battle. I'm glad you've got your "anti-inflammatory/pain relief magical elixer pill" and clench guard. That should markedly improve your quality of life, which is what all of us here wish you unreservedly.

Naproxen is a life saver. I took it for a couple months in HS when I fucked up my knee (thank you, hard rubber field hockey ball).

Make sure you always take it on a full stomach - best way to keep it from causing problems.

Being in medical limbo is a bitch, so happy news you finally have some answers!

My sister went through 3 years of torture, and doctors, wondering about her pain whether it was cancer/tumors/crazy until she was finally diagnosed with scleroderma.

Totally off topic, but with all your camera phone pics... I have to pass along this hilarious post from Wizbang. Oh.My.Gawd.

Please be careful with clenching teeth while awake. I have that reaction and only notice when the pressure releases. My mother does the same thing, and the only reason I don't have her TMJ is the orthodonture she put me through. I have already thanked her for it.


I snore badly and a sleep clinic told me to get a "dental appliance" from my dentist. My dentist told me out would be about $500 or more.

Then I found this: Snorban.

$29.95 + $4.50 s/h.

My wife can sleep now. It holds your jaws out of alignment from front to back just enough that it might help lessen your clenching. It comes with a roughly 4" long "handle" that sticks out from the front, that they say to cut off before use. I can't sleep on my stomach (shoulder injuries from a motorcycle accident) so I don't cut it off and it gives me a convenient grab handle when I want to take it out, instead of having to dig it out my mouth. Dip it in boiling water for 10 seconds (it gets very warm, but not HOT hot) and bite down to form it to your mouth.

Worth a shot for only $35.

Ack. It didn't like my link

I'll try again



Good to hear it's nothign big. You give me hope that there is a chance to have a somewhat normal life even given the fact that I've had 3 heart attacks and 2 strokes in the last 20 minutes.

I hope you get better soon- try your local sports store and get yourself a mouth guard called the "Shock Doctor"- I've had 3 concussions from playing hockey (1st one playing against SUNY stoneybrook up by you. Part of my neurosis I'm sure) and this is the best thing for TMJ, and if you feel like kicking someone's ass, it's good to load up to avoid the smashing hit that winds up giving you a concussion...

I think that I can explain the bank thing: The Emperor is on to you and he actually did shoot a million volts into you big time as you are a threat to the Sith. The Force must be strong with you as you resisted and lived.

Isn't he going to be pissed now you have a +5 Potion Of Healing.

How sad am I, really ? :)

How can I be a threat to the Sith when I am on the dark side?

Ouch. Hope you're better soon.

Well, then the Emperor obviously fears for his job. You are the obvious choice to take over - Do you know what the unemployment rate on Coruscant is ??!?!?!

Neither do I :)

Glad to hear that you have a diagnosis and you're feeling better. Now go give that paragon of educational malfeasance all the hellish fury he deserves...

Ach, you have my empathy. I'm a TMJ clencher; I have a mouth guard to wear at night and in traffic, which is where I clench. If the naproxen hurts your stomach, ask 'em for ten Valium or Flexaril, to be taken at bedtime. Either will relax you so much you won't be ABLE to clench or grind, and the swelling in your jaw will go down, allowing that little ball-and-socket joint there to snap back into place.

I hope the pain is gone soon. Good luck!

Aha. I thought so. Now I wonder what is wrong with me? Oh well, I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to find out.