Hello all, long-time lurker here, first-time poster. Iím looking for some advice from those of you that suffer from chronic facial pain, headaches and TMD.
A bit of background... I have struggled with headaches and jaw pain for as long as I can remember, but this past year, things really seemed to get out of hand. Instead of the occasional bad day, I started to have brief episodes of my jaw locking and clicking. I also started to experience daily facial pain and intense pressure, mostly centered in my cheeks, across the bridge of my nose and into my temples (sometimes I will also feel pain down my ears, at the back of my head, behind my eyes, and at the top of my head). Along with all that, I started to frequently feel dizzy and light-headed. I didnít experience blurred or impaired vision, but I did find that it felt like I was working very hard to make my eyes focus. Both the pain and dizziness were made worse by quick movements of the head.
I have seen an ENT because initially my GP thought the problem was sinus-related. Sinus CT came back with some findings of congestion and muscosal thickening but nothing that could account for the daily pain and pressure. I also saw a vestibular rehabilitation specialist who gave me some exercises for my dizziness. I do find that consistently doing these exercises helps. My GP and I discussed the possibility of something called ďmid facial segment pain syndromeĒ and I was prescribed 20 mg Amitriptyline for that. This does seem to help a bit, but I can still get very bad days. Changes in the weather and lack of sleep seem to be the primary triggers. Finally, I went for a check-up with my dentist and described the symptoms to him. He did some x-rays and carefully evaluated my bite, finally telling me that I had TMD. He also said that all the symptoms I had been describing could be attributed to my jaw being out of alignment.
So... what Iím wondering is, given the symptoms Iíve described, how plausible does the TMD diagnosis sound to you fellow sufferers? Of course, being a health anxiety sufferer, I did spend many months looking up horrible diseases online and fearing that I had a brain tumour or MS or something ridiculous. However, as this pain has been going on for almost a year now without any neurological symptoms, I donít realistically think thatís what Iím dealing with.
I have sometimes found that gently massaging the painful area can help a bit, as does a small amount of tiger balm. My dentist is planning to fit me for an orthotic that I would wear 24/7 at first. Iím also wondering about alternate treatments like acupuncture, facial massage and laser therapy. Has anyone out there had any experience with these treatments?
Thanks in advance everyone!