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Unbearable TMJ Pain
If you're reading this, I'm assuming you're in extreme pain... researching how to get rid of horrible, debilitating TMJ pain.
I've been there, oh how I've been there.
I've had TMJ issues for years, it's obnoxious and sometimes painful. I never had an actual TMJ "flareup" until recently... and let me tell you, it was absolute hell. It took me 10 days of mind-boggling pain to figure out that it was a TMJ flareup and how to handle it.
Now that I understand how to get rid of a TMJ flareup (and most importantly, prevent them) I'm hoping this article will provide you some relief quickly, because if you're anything like me... it's most likely 2am and you're scouring the internet desperately searching for help.
What My TMJ Flareup Felt Like
Again, I had never had an actual TMJ flare up until recently so I didn't know what was happening! One night, it just seemed to come out of no where. I had been stressed out, grieving the death of my mother (who was my best friend) and I guess it triggered this TMJ flareup and I didn't realize it.
I was on the couch watching TV before bed when my jaw starting aching. It wasn't anything terrible, so I just started massaging it like I normally would when my jaw ached. The problem was, it didn't seem to help, it made it worse. I popped some ibuprofen and forced myself to sleep.
I woke up at 3am in so much pain it was UNREAL. It felt like someone had punched me in the face and broken my jaw. I took more ibuprofen but nothing was helping. It was a miserable night!
The next morning, it was still severely sore and I was exhausted from no sleep. The right side of my jaw just felt like someone had over-worked a muscle in there. Then, my jaw teeth were having "shooting-like" pains that would radiate up and down my cheek and jaw. Yes, my teeth were aching as well. Toothaches are absolute torture!
I took some more ibuprofen thinking for sure this would go away if I just kept taking them. In fact, the pain eased up a bit and I thought I had figured it out.
Wrong, the next morning I woke up and the pain was so severe I thought at that point I must have had a tooth infection or a major cavity. The pain in my teeth was horrible, the headache I was getting from the jaw pain was literally THROBBING. I couldn't take it anymore, I had to find an emergency dentist.
I tried every massage technique on YouTube, but I swear I just kept irritating it worse. I learned that all those massage techniques seem to just aggravate the flareup for me, instead of ease it.
There Was No Infection or Cavity
Turns out, it was TMJ combined with pain from grinding my teeth (bruxism.) Who knew grinding your teeth could cause this kind of pain? It was one thing to have jaw pain, but to also have my teeth hurt so badly on top of it all... was almost more than I could handle.
I was in the middle of a full blown TMJ flare up, and to top it off the pain in the right side of my upper and lower jaw teeth was unbearable. I was trying everything and nothing was working. Heating pads, ice packs, ibuprofen, Tylenol … you name it, I was trying it.
I found out from talking to the Dentist that TMJ treatment was going to be thousands of dollars, and I couldn't afford that. I was tired of being in pain. I felt like I couldn't get up to clean the house, work or take care of the kids. I was completely paralyzed from the pain in my teeth, jaw and head. (The headache/temple pain that comes from this is just horrible!)
I researched and found that acupuncture could help and I was desperate for a solution. I called but the soonest I could get an appointment was Monday. It was Friday, so I had to go through the entire weekend with this pain.
That night as I laid in bed, the pain started to radiate up my cheek, through my temple and now above my ears on my skull. It was literally throbbing in my head, on the side of my head above my ear, and my temple seemed to be pulsating.
The pain was just in the right side of my jaw/face/head. Thank God, I can't imagine pain in both sides!
The only thing bringing me any peace was reading through reddit forums, of other people experiencing this same painful TMJ flareup pain and things they were trying. Many people were saying there was no help! That was discouraging.
I lied awake bawling my eyes out, holding a heating pad up to my jaw. At this point I had taken so much ibuprofen (that wasn't working) and I knew I had to stop before I caused some serious damage to my body.
After reading through tons of forums, someone mentioned trying a magnesium drink called Calm. I purchased it right away, drank it and was amazed at the instant relief it gave me. It saved my life until I could get to the acupuncturist. I was able to go to sleep for the first time in days! I will talk more about this drink below.
The drink got me through until Monday. Monday morning arrived and I went to see the acupuncturist. To my surprise, it worked and I finally started having pain relief!
Here are the 7 Things I Did to Get Rid of Unbearable TMJ Pain!
When I arrived, the acupuncturist asked me where my pain was. I could barely open my mouth to tell her. After talking to me for a good 30 minutes about my symptoms and pain, she put together a plan of where she would place the needles in my body. Acupuncture still amazes me, by how placing needles on certain points in the body can get stuck energy flowing again. I have to admit, I was a bit of a skeptic but I was willing to give it a try for $75.
She placed needles in my legs, jaw, wrists... and I laid super still without moving for 30 minutes. The needles were a tad bit uncomfortable going in, but didn't hurt. When I left, I was still in pain. I drove home thinking it didn't work. I was exhausted. When I got home I laid on the couch and fell asleep. When I woke up a few hours later, I realized the pain had been decreased by about 80%. It was now BEARABLE!
#2 Calming Magnesium Drink
I continued to drink this before bed each night. This stuff isn't the cheapest and it doesn't taste the best but oh my gosh it helps! Turns out, magnesium has a TON of health benefits including relaxing our muscles. Many people are magnesium deficient without even realizing it. Since I've started drinking this (which I don't do every night anymore because I don't have to!) I rarely have any TMJ pain.
I also now take a magnesium supplement daily, and it's something I feel like I can't live without. You can read about the benefits of this supplement here on Amazon.
I now take this a few times a week. It's a natural anti-inflammatory and it helped with the pain in my opinion, better than Ibuprofen. Click here to read more about benefits on Amazon.
#4 "Build a Tooth" Toothpaste
I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT THIS, period. In fact, I notice if I go a few days without using this and just use regular tooth paste, I will get tooth pain back. The TMJ was causing me to grind my teeth bad, and I was causing a lot of damage.
Like I said, my toothaches on top of the TMJ pain was just excruciating. It was so bad, I thought for sure I had a cavity or infection. This toothpaste has been a lifesaver for me, and I've tried tons of toothpastes and nothing has worked like this. I had to give it about 3 days before I noticed the pain in my teeth was gone.
I've only found this on Amazon, although it might be sold elsewhere. Click here to check price on Amazon.
I didn't realize the pillow I was sleeping on was causing me so many issues. I purchased a much better pillow and again... it's been a miracle worker. I am a side sleeper, so it's not good for my jaw and TMJ pain. Having a really good pillow helps more than you think it would. I wasn't even thinking about my pillow until my friend with TMJ suggested I get a better pillow.
Here is the one I purchased:
#6 Vitamin D & Vitamin K
This has been life changing for me. I didn't realize that I was vitamin D deficient, many people are without realizing it.
I ONLY trust Mary Ruth's vitamins, and actually... I'm kind of obsessed with them, haha. I have taken so many vitamins over the years and I feel like they don't do anything. Mary Ruth's is high quality and I notice a DIFFERENCE when I take them, almost right away. I'm not sure if it's because it's liquid and my body absorbs it better or what, but I refuse to take anything other than this brand. I TRULY LOVE THEM!
Anyway, Vitamin D3 & Vitamin K2 is crucial for our bones and teeth. Read about the benefits on their website about Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2. Since I started taking these (I literally put some in my juice and can't taste it) I am so much better. They also have many other incredible supplements I want to try... but I can only afford so much at a time ya know!
Anyway, from what I've read... both of these vitamins need each other to work better so that's why I take both and follow the dose direction on the bottle. Click Here to read more.
#7 Stop STRESSING!
Stress causes so many problems, I mean... so, many, problems. I think stress was a huge trigger for that MAJOR TMJ flareup I had. I work now to avoid stress and work through it instead of allowing myself to get so worked up. I know that whatever is causing me stress, isn't going to be worth all those problems it can cause. Invest in self care and learn how to live a healthier lifestyle that is as stress-free as possible.
I Don't Want Another Flareup
I really don't know that I can handle it, but if it happens I am prepared. In fact, when I feel any achy jaw pain coming on, I know how to tackle it before it gets out of control.
There have been a few times in the last several months that I wake up and feel that achy feeling in my jaw and I just relax and realize it's most likely because I've been slacking somewhere. Have I been taking the turmeric? My magnesium? My Vitamin D+K? Have I been allowing myself to stress out? Should I go for another acupuncture appointment?
Oh, one last tip!
I found this natural pain-reliever on Amazon, and they've been wonderful! This bottle came with 300 pellets, and if it doesn't work for you they promise a refund. They help me way more than the Ibuprofen was, I love to have them on hand just in case. Check them out!
Thanks for reading, I truly hope you get your TMJ pain under control! I highly recommend seeing a TMJ specialist who can help you with treatment! I know there are many options out there such as orthodontics, realigning your jaw/bite and even making custom mouth guards!
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