An update on me and TMJ treatment

Hello All,

My name is Becky. Its been a long time and most you probably won’t remember me but I used to be a regular on here and thought I would give you an update on how I was getting on. I have made it as brief as I can!

To recap I became very ill in November 2007 with chronic dizziness, disequilibrium, nausea, headaches and fatigue. I became unable to leave the house or work and soon lost my job and my house (moved back home with my parents). After about a year I was finally diagnosed with MAV and started on the merry-go-round of trialling a number of drugs, all of which I couldn’t tolerate or didn’t make difference, except Propranolol, which improved the nausea.

After 18 months of this, I was getting desperate and on doing some research on the internet found some information on the link that some dentists claim is between migraine and the position of the jaw (TMJ). This made some sense to me as I have always had problems with my jaw and the muscles in my head, neck and shoulders. I decided to give it a go and went to a dentist who specialises in TMJ who said that my teeth needed to be moved forward in order to move my lower jaw forward. It was a huge risk as this treatment was irreversible but I decided I had to try.

It has taken a long time and my treatment hasn’t finished yet but one year on I am a huge amount better. I am now working again and also have energy for a social life and have a new boyfriend. Life is good again. I’m not saying that everyone’s migraine is caused/triggered by TMJ but it may always be worth just considering and investigating in order to see if it makes sense to you.

Becky

Hi Becky,

Great to see you again and hear of your success. Do you have to wear something at night as well or was it just the operation that made the difference?

Best … Scott

Hi Scott

I didn’t have an operation. I wear a splint on my lower teeth to correct the position of my lower jaw and an orthotic on my upper teeth to move them outwards.

Becky

Hi Becky,

Really great to hear that you’re feeling so much better and that as TMJ may be involved that you’re getting relief from the splints.

I too have very bad TMJ (my elderly, very experienced and university lecturing dentist tells me I’m one of the worst and initially said I might be one of the few he recommends surgery to). I’ve been seeing this dentist for about 18 months after my last dentist retired and have been using upper teeth splints (now on to Mark 3) for 20 years. I did ask him about the TMJ/migraine link and he said it might help me but I can’t say that my splints have ever had an effect on migraine (at least that I’ve noticed). My migraines (other than MAV) are the classical aura kind (flashing zig zaggy lights) which I’ve have for about 25 years. However, the splints do help in preventing some head, scalp and jaw pain and popping ear sensation.

Thanks for keeping us posted Becky and I hope you keep getting better. It’s really terrific that things are moving onwards and upwards for you.

Cheers
Vic

Hi Becky,
That’s great that you are doing so well with this. I was wondering if your denist would be able to tell if you have TMJ if you go to a regular dentist appt? Does your jaw pop a lot or do you just have the typical MAV symptoms?

Ashley

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Ashley:-
The only symptom I had in my jaw was that it grated on the right side when I opened it. About 10 years ago I had a lot of problems with it in that it stuck open and was very painful but this went away after a while; which is apparently a very bad sign because it means the joint has been worn smooth.

My MAV started 2.5 years ago and when I went to my regular (NHS) dentist, he said there was nothing wrong with my jaw now and there was no chance of it causing my illness. It was only when I went to a TMJ dentist that I was told that I did have a TMJ disorder and it probably was contributing towards my symptoms. I had to do a lot of research to find a dentist I could trust though and good ones are fairly rare - I have to travel an hour to mine and he is one of the only ones in my part of the UK.

When I was doing my research what I found interesting that a lot of people I met through TMJ forums have exactly the same symptoms as me and others who have MAV, which suggested to me that there may be a link.

Hope this helps.

Becky

Hi Becky ,
Thank you for your story.
I wanted to share mine with regards to my jaw.
As part of my search for a MAV cure I saw an osteopath… he was the person who suggested my bite was way off key and that maybe I needed to look at this as part of my problem. My right side jaw also cracked alarmingly too whenever I opened my mouth, and had done since I was about 10.
I want to my dentist , he agreed that I was all crooked but said my teeth were so distorted and my jaw so " off " he would be scared to undertake moving my teeth to get me realigned and unsure where to start as one wrong area seemed to go against the other.He was concerned that it could mean years of teeth removal and treatment and that it may not help anything at all…he was talking about MY mouth and teeth position, not that it couldn’t help in other situations… He spoke to the osteopath and what they suggested was a night splint to try and teach me to open and close correctly , and to make sure that at least through the night I was in the right position.
They both agreed that they had no idea how much this was contributing, but that it could be adding to the MAV situation.

I have been using my ugly thing in my mouth every night since June and am a lot better… but I am also following the trigger diet 100 % and taking meds so have no real way of knowing how much it all has to do with my jaw.
I noticed about 3 weeks ago that my jaw does not crack anymore when I open. I thought that may be a good sign and that it may mean that my position is improving…but I guess reading your post , that it may not mean that at all !

I feel like I am jumping blind fold into a hole with all this info and possible causes !

So happy to hear you are so much better !

Penny

I’m glad you are feeling better and have found relief from the TMJ. I’m not going to totally discount that TMJ/jaw issue can affect migraine, and if getting treatment for it has helped you, all the better. However, I would say that it is not necessarily a cause-effect problem. In other words, TMJ itself does not necessarily cause migraine and especially MAV. In my case, I have a history of “regular” migraine. When my jaw suddenly went out two years ago, that’s when all my major MAV issues started. My doctor said it triggered the MAV. Apparently anything like that, such as a blow to the head, when you already have a history of migraine, can cause it. I have been treated for my TMJ by a specialist in this area (not a regular dentist but an orthodontist who specializes in TMJ) and wear a specially made splint (hard plastic retainer type device) that I wear every night that keeps my jaw in place as to not cause pain. I first wore this device 24/7. I now just wear it at night and will likely do so for the rest of my life. While it has solved or maintained the TMJ issues, it has not helped my MAV. So, I guess what I am saying is that getting TMJ fixed is not going to fix your MAV. Having dental procedures/help MIGHT help your migraines in general though if you have a bite problem, grinding, etc.

Dear BCRelief

I’m not a Doctor so can’t comment on the cause/effect of TMJ on Migraine or whether it would be the same for everyone. All I know is that treating my TMJ IS vastly improving my MAV (or MAV-like symptoms).

After being ill for 18 months solid, I started to improve the day after I started dental treatment and my symptoms always improve the day after an adjustment.

I just thought I’d tell everyone my story as I used to come on here a lot and thought people might like to hear how I was getting on.

Kind regards

Becky

Hey guys,

After reading Bernstein’s book, one of the things she said was that just about anything can be a trigger for migraine. We each have our own migraine “finger print”. So while a TMJ issue wouldn’t be the cause of migraine per se (it’s genetic) it’s certainly possible that in Becky’s case it was a major trigger. It sounds very plausible to me considering that jaw clenching causes irritation in the area and the trigeminal nerve sits there as well. Unfortunately with this junk, one person’s fix may do nothing for someone else. Someone should rename MAV to MTD –- Moving Target Disease.

Scott

I think the important thing to note here is also what we are referring to when noting TMJ. Again, I am not trying to pick on Becky or discount her recovery - very pleased that you ARE feeling better! - but from the description of what she has gotten done, this may not be exactly TMJ alone. I can’t exactly explain it, as I am not a doctor in this area, but her procedures sound more orthodontic and permanent, i.e. something that you do that stays that way and thus you are fixed, unlike what I am going through. My TMJ doctor (and I would note there are not that many who actually specialize in this area, so if you found a true one, all the better) noted that the jaw can kind of slip out place, let’s say. When it does, it puts pressure on the joints, etc which causes pain. Now this pain is likely to have triggered the MAV (so says my neurologist). In order to keep this pain from occuring, I wear the splint. However, this splint is not a permanent fix. So if you are doing something that is actually moving your teeth, etc, it sounds like you are doing some other procedure which is slightly different than traditional TMJ treatment. Sorry I can’t be more specific about it, but my point is just that THAT could be why you feel relief so fast from this. Even though the jaw (TMJ) is involved, if your teeth are out of alignment and you are help with that, you had even more problems. I’m not trying to be nit-picky here, but there is a bit of a difference and I wanted to try at least to clarify.

Never the less, glad you have found a solution to you pains! Best, Bonnie