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Tips For Friends and Family….from a TMD Patient


  • Learn all you can about TMJ Disorder,  including treatments and proper terminology. You will gain a better understanding of what I am going through.
  • Be a good compassionate listener, never be dismissive or patronizing. Let me vent frustrations, I’m not mad at you, I am mad at TMJ Disorder.
  • Be encouraging.  TMJ disorder is pretty greedy, and unpredictable. Sometimes just accomplishing daily tasks is a big deal.
  • Be available, whether it be to go along on doctor appointments, or just a nice quiet evening at home.
  • Help me learn to ask for help when I need it . Sometimes I feel isolated because I don’t want to bother anyone.
  • Provide support, but don’t make me feel helpless.
  • Ask questions…..I don’t mind – in fact, it lets me know that you care.
  • Sometimes I just need to cry, even if it makes my eyes all puffy. Sometimes the pity pot is a nice place to sit….Don’t let me stay too long.
  • I understand that you feel helpless. I do too. We can work on feeling better together.
  • I know it’s hard to talk about things that are scary or unpleasant, and that there are no easy or obvious solutions,  but we need to find a way to discuss my challenges and build a team.

Your presence and support are the most meaningful gifts you can give to me.

1 thought on “Tips For Friends and Family….from a TMD Patient”

  1. Hi Folks, I am 50 years old, an Australian for 38 years and currently living in UK and awaiting my first consultation with a UK NHS doctor.  I was in agony a couple of days ago and know that I have TMD as my dentist has confirmed it. After a general consultation my dentist explained that my jaw was dislocated. For years I have never felt very well and thought it was other things.  I recall the first terrible pain occured when I was about 23 when my wisdom teeth came through and as my jaw started to lock, the dentist decided that the wisdom teeth needed to come out.  At 23 years I had no idea what was happening to me and thought once the teeth were removed that all my problems would be gone, however after that event the problems never went.
    It is almost like the jaw tendons, muscles and even joints became too elastic and that is where the pain started.  I really feel from my experience  after doing jaw strengthen exercises that  we need to tighten and build the muscles. I have had no relief after stretching the body more, as I found I was in agony after some chiropractic stretching had occured.
    I have a lot of pain behind the ear and sometimes in the face, but what relieves it most is jaw strengthening exercises. I am afraid at this point that I may have a slipped disc in the jaw as the pain is similar to a slipped disc that I had in my back years ago. We have to be careful not to damage joints further by yanking and pulling.  I wonder whether this problem is linked to the tensile strength of our biologically inherited tendons/ muscles/joints. If we damage the joint past this strength level by way of teeth problems or accidents, it seems hard work to get the jaw to “behave itself” when doing what we consider is natural such as eating, yawning etc.
      I also think that maybe the balance of our muscles are not always symmetrical due to imperfect bites created by our teeth.  It would be nice to think that our teeth are guided by our jaws, but to some extent, teeth can be a biit unruly and tells the poor old jaw joint “where to go”.  After having my child at 26 I also suffered greatly with a slipped disc and problems with the symphis pubis and sacroilliac joints that were  too flexible after giving birth.  I had trouble walking for a while, but it did come good.
    I wonder whether after further research whether the anatomy of some peoples’s bodies are more prone to this.. could people with tmd have lower mandibles that are slightly too big or too small for the upper jaw, thus not giving a tight fit and leaving room for a joint discrepency between two jaws? And/Or is there a natural chemical or hormone  released in the body allowing some poor folk to have very flexible joints, which create havoc with jaw and joint stabilty.  I mean some people can eat a tough steaks for years and even go as far as opening bottle caps with their mandibles.  I often wonder what happened to all those circus acts who clenched a strap in their jaws and performed trapeze and mid air acts by trusting that their jaw joints would support their weight. Are all these circus acts suffering tmd?.. I would love to know. Or are some people so born lucky that their jaws are as tough as alligator jaws!
    Well I do empathise with folk as bad pain in the face and head is absolutely torturous, especially when it persists non-stop for years!
    Please medical staff out there.. find a way of preventable medicine and cures for this terrible affliction. A cure is what people need not temporary treatments.
    Wish everyone success in curing this malady.. my heart goes out to all who has this…
    Dont give up as I learnt to walk after have 5 years of unstable  sacroilliac joints and now I have cured that through determination.
    MInd over matter.. we can find a way! Nothing is impossible, if we use our intelligence, creativity and hard work.

    Best wishes,
     Susan

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