Am I feeling good yet? Does the patient know when they are improving?
In some cases, no.
This week a woman who is in her early 50’s, came to see me for her first TMJ recall after upper and lower TMJ splints were inserted. Her symptoms were headaches, jaw pain, jaw clicking and ear aches. Her dentist had given her a soft maxillary splint but her symptoms got worse. She presented with the soft splint chewed up!
Because she had some mild symptoms of sleep apnea, I chose to use a hard TMJ splint system that allows the tongue to protrude forward between the upper and lower splints. I inserted the splints and asked her to come back in a week and bring the splints with her.
When she came into the office this week I asked how she was doing. She said “not much change really”.
I said “OK. Are your jaws still clicking?”
“No, they aren’t” was her reply.
“Do you have headaches in the morning?” I asked?
“No, I don’t” she said.
“Is it easier to open your mouth?”
“Yes” was her reply.
“So, then” I asked “why do you think you are not getting better?
“I don’t know” she said. “I guess I am getting better.”
TMJ is a stress related problem. In this woman’s case I believe that even though her TMJ symptoms were reduced, the stress in her life was not.
Let’s get personal!
I try to eat oatmeal at least 5 times a week. Studies show that oatmeal lowers bad cholesterol. I’ve got an elaborate recipe for it; if you are interested email me for it.
This morning I worked on shoulders and back in my morning exercise. The external rotation with a Theraband was one of the exercises.
Here is a link for a good example of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQqR2scexuw
Here is a favourite mental health tip. “Kick the cat when you get home!” I’m joking. Talk it out with your significant other. You don’t need an answer for your problem; you just need to let off some steam.
Have a great week.