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TMJ - how to deal with pain at night?

(9 Posts)
schilke Fri 15-Feb-13 09:40:45

I have had problems with my jaw for years - very clicky. However, it got much worse about a year ago. My dentist said it was TMJ and that my jaw deviates when I open it. He gave me some exercises and said that there wasn't much that could be done. He suggested a mouth guard for nighttime, but I wasn't keen as I had one years ago and used to take it out in my sleep!

Now the pain is waking me up frequently at night. I tried ibuprofen, but no good. The pharmacist suggested ibuprofen with codeine - no change. The pain is mainly in that joint, but sometimes it spreads to a headache or neck ache....like now as I have been fiddling with my jaw! I can cope with the pain in the day. In the day it is a dull throb, which worsens when I eat (i eat a lot of porridge & soup now!), but at night when it wakes me up my jaw feels really stiff and hurts when I open my mouth - almost like some arthritic problem. I think it's worse when I'm stressed, but I'm stressed because I'm tired and so it goes on....

Should I try going to the gp to see if he can suggest some painkillers? My friend, a nurse, said I probably needed something with a muscle relaxant in it.

shitmagnet Fri 15-Feb-13 10:24:20

You need to help the underlying cause, rather than medicate the symptom. I have TMJ dysfunction due to RA, and splint at night which takes the pressure off the joint. It has helped somewhat. I hope the discs will eventually assume a more normal position, and I will be able to open my mouth enough to eat a burger again! Please listen to the experts (i.e. dentist) on this one, obviously you will also need to address your "removal behaviour" at night. I know it's a pita, but splinting does help.

schilke Fri 15-Feb-13 11:20:36

Thanks. I had decided to try the night guard again. My next check up is in April and I was going to mention it then. I hope the materials have changed in the past 20 years - I hated it.

I hate having things in my mouth - apart from food! - it makes me want to gag, but that's a whole different issue! I imagine that is why I was taking it out in my sleep. When I discussed it with the dentist, he made a good point which was that I didn't know when I was taking it up in the night - might be 10 minutes after I went to sleep or 10 minutes before I woke up! If the latter, then I was getting all the benefit from it.

shitmagnet Fri 15-Feb-13 11:59:09

It's not pleasant is it... I start salivating like crazy the minute it goes in, so I wait until I am almost asleep to pop it in (which wakes me up grrr). Good luck with it, tmj can be difficult to manage...

MrsMorton Fri 15-Feb-13 15:44:16

A Lucia jig is very small, ask your dentist about this. They're not suitable for everyone but as a first line for TMJD I usually make one for my patients.

silverangel Fri 15-Feb-13 17:48:29

I was offered valium to take at night when mine was really bad. It wasn't an option for me as I had baby DTs but would maybe work for you, even if only for a few days to get the joint out of spasm.

BonnieWeeJeannieMcCall Sun 17-Feb-13 16:13:28

I've had surgery for TMJ and it's been bliss ever since. I still can't open my mouth quite as much as a "normal" person, but I can eat normally and the horrible, horrible pain has gone completely.

Only 2 nights in hospital, but I was off work for almost a month afterwards. I have the same scars as if I'd had a facelift; in my hair diagonally down to the top of my ears, then in a straight line down in front of my ears - virtually invisible.

saxony Tue 19-Feb-13 17:07:31

Hi I had TMJ a few years ago. I was referred to a specialist who gave me a mouth guard for night and also a series of physiotherapy exercises. My jaw also deviated when I opened my mouth and it would only open a small amount. Pleased to say i was eventually discharged but I still have a dull ache in my jaw joint at night if i sleep on my side.
I hope yours eases soon
x

schilke Fri 22-Feb-13 20:45:49

Thanks for all these messages. I am going to ask for a night guard when I go to the dentist in April. It is going to be bad tonight....got earache and headache already plus stiff neck.

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