Its 1230am I can’t sleep, I have taken every painkiller available to me and I have a hot water bottle clamped to my face. So whats keeping me awake? Its a condition called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ for short.
Very basically I have pain in the jawbone joint just in front of my ears on both sides. The pain is travelling right around my jaw, causing my teeth to hurt. I get flares of this very so often and it usually settles quite quickly. However this is the worst pain I have had with it. I am wearing a dental night splint as I am typing this as I do have the unfortunate habit of clenching my teeth. The night splint is there to stop me biting down. I haven’t been aware that I am doing it and since wearing the night splint I haven’t noticed my teeth bouncing off the hard plastic. My jaw feels out of alignment, my bottom jaw feels like its protruding further than my top Jaw. I have checked in the mirror it isn’t but obviously something in the joint is inflamed and sending crazy messages to my brain.
Tonight it became quite difficult to talk again as I was struggling to open my mouth. Thankfully I managed to eat my dinner, I would of cried if I hadn’t been able to Ive been so hungry all day!
I have had this condition for years but it was only properly diagnosed last year by my new dentist. When she examined the joint the pain was so intense you could have peeled me off the ceiling! Most of the time I have a clicky jaw which will be triggered by eating something like a baguette – so I try and avoid foods which are hard for me to chew. Sometimes it will make an almighty crack when I yawn!
As usual there is treatment but no cure. Apparently there is treatment but no cure, pain killers don’t tend to work (and don’t I know it) as a lot of the pain is neuropathic. I have found a good website though
http://www.tmj.org/site/ an American site that has some good information on it.
So for the next few days it looks like my diet will consist of soup, mashed potato and gravy!