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SECRETS TO TAMING TMJ PAIN

THE ULTIMATE HANDBOOK ON TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DISORDER TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION 3 TMJ DISORDERS: MYSTERIOUS CAUSES OF EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS

CHAPTER ONE 7 MEET THE MANY FACES OF TMJ DISORDERS

Chapter Two 14 TMJ Disorders: Conventionally Speaking

Chapter Three

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TMJ Disorders: Unconventionally Speaking

Chapter Four 30 TMJ Disorders: Nutritionally Speaking

Chapter Five 41 TMJ Disorders: Exercise. Really?

Chapter Six

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TMJ Disorders: Herbal and Home Remedies

Conclusion

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Making Peace With Your Body

Resources

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INTRODUCTION: TMJ DISORDERS: MYSTERIOUS CAUSES OF EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS Don't talk, laugh, cry, sing, chew gum or eat any chewy food or candy, and don’t grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Take it easy and stay away from stress. This was the advice one of my well-intentions friends offered when I told them of my TMJ disorders. Well, do you think she could have covered any other human action -like maybe breathe? If you're like I was and are experiencing the pain of temporomandibular jaw disorders then you already know just how intense it can be. You're also well aware that this painful condition can not only disrupt you daily life, but it can play havoc with your sleep as well. Waking or sleeping (or just trying to!) you carry with you the constant ache of TMJ Disorders. If you're experiencing the pain in your jaw, believe it or not, you're one of the "lucky" ones. Don't think so? Well, you might not.

Unexplained pain? Undiagnosed TMJ? But there are thousands of people in the United States alone who live with undiagnosed TMJ disorders. Their pain, their aches aren't reflected in the jaw. Instead, they complain of unexplained headaches . . . backaches . . . difficulty swallowing . . . an uncomfortable or an uneven bite. In some cases, these individuals visit doctor after doctor only to be told that nothing is wrong. Consider this staggering statistic for a moment: The average individual with a TMJ disorder visits a minimum of 7 specialists before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Some individuals need to visit 13 professionals before uncovering the problem. In fact, one of those who had to see that many doctors was the well-known actor Burt Reynolds.

THE NEWS ONLY GETS WORSE


What exactly is a temporomandibular and how do you know when it's "out of order?" That's what this book is about to tell you. It's as if there are hidden, mysterious causes of this health concern lying in wait for you, ready to ambush your good health at any second. One wrong move -- a backpack that's too heavy, too much clenching of the teeth, poor posture -- and TMJ disorder pounce on you as fast as a cheetah pouncing on a gazelle. But that's really only half the story. You've no doubt heard the phrase, "I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?" When it comes to the prevalence, treatment and diagnosis of TMJ disorders there's a slightly different slant to the question: "I've got bad news and worse news. Which do you want first?" I've just given you the bad news. Now comes the worse news. So far, I'm only talking about individuals who have been able to receive an accurate diagnosis. These are the lucky few who know what they're dealing with. What about the others -- maybe yourself, your spouse or your child -- who deal with pain everyday and haven't been diagnosed yet? How many individuals are we talking about now? A recent study, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine said that between 40 and 75 percent of all adults have at least one symptom of a TMJ disorder. Is it possible that the incidence of this apparently burgeoning health problem be actually far more widespread than what these first few statistics convey?

RECOGNIZE YOURSELF? You call it a simple tension headache. But your spouse says you grind your teeth at night. “It's nothing,” you admonish him. “I’ve been tense at work lately. There are a couple of deadlines coming up. Important ones.” It starts out innocently enough. The symptoms certainly are subtle enough -- and that's the deceptive power of TMJ disorders. Could your seemingly unrelated health problems be due to something as simple as your posture your heavy purse burdening your shoulder? Indeed, it’s possible. As a person who has suffered for years with this at times intense pain, I know exactly how you feel. I visited doctor after doctor . . . specialist after specialist . . . only to be told that there was nothing wrong. At least nothing the conventionally trained medical professionals could find.

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Faced with this continued response, my first reaction was to believe them. But, then I realized that no one knew my body better than myself. And it was about time, I decided, to take control of my health. It was time for me to examine my habits – all of them – to see if I could discern what was wrong with me. It took literally months for me to finally discover that the underlying cause of my pain was due to TMJ. During these months I spent hours on end searching the web, seeking out books at the library, at all the area bookstores. When I eventually learned that the problems I experienced actually originated in my jaw . . . well, my jaw did drop! And with focus and determination I was able to help my body heal itself, without the use of prescription drugs with all their harsh, unwanted and even potentially dangerous side effects. A friend, who witnessed my journey through this period, urged me to write a book so others who are battling unexplained health problems could discover for themselves if TMJ was the real cause. She told me that even individuals who were already diagnosed could benefit from the vast amount of information I had gathered. At first I dismissed the idea. But the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded. After all, who is better to help you with your TMJ disorders than someone who has “been there and done that’/ The intention of this book is not to replace any advice your personal health care provider has given you. It’s not meant to diagnose your problem. And it’s definitely not meant as a prescription for a miracle cure. If you suspect you do suffer from TMJ disorders visit a health care provider you trust. Talk the issues you’ve read in here over with her. Together you’ll be able to determine the exact causes of your pain. In the meantime, you may want to try some of the natural remedies in this book. Go ahead. Do you find any relief? You may just be surprised. If there’s one thing I learned early on in my search for answers: never discount anything. I learned that if the supposed remedy carried no unwanted side effects, I needed to maintain an open mind. I was able to overcome and beat the relentless, overwhelming pain of TMJ disorders. And so can you. The pages of this book not only explains what TMJ disorders are, how they manifest in your body and why they, so often are woefully under-diagnosed. But I’ve also included your potential options if you decide conventional medicine is the route you choose to take. And I’ve included potential answers to your pain through behavioral and nutritional changes as well.

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What are we waiting for? Let’s make this journey of discovery together. It’s time you received some answers to your questions and some relief to that pain.

CHAPTER ONE: MEET THE MANY FACES OF TMJ DISORDERS THE ULTIMATE HANDBOOK ON TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DISORDER

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So, why are TMJ disorders so difficult to diagnosis and ever trickier to treat? Part of the answer lies in deciphering the proper cause of your pain. "Jessica had TMJ disorders," my friend said over a cup of coffee the other day, "and here is what she did to treat them." Then she rattled off the list of remedies she underwent to alleviate her pain. "I'm sure they'll work for you. I thanked my friend, but told her that Jessica's pain had a different cause than mine. And I could not use the same "prescription for healing,� that she used. My words were met with a blank stare. And this is not an unusual response. If you suffer from TMJ disorders, then you know exactly what I mean. Each case is somewhat different. Therefore, each treatment plan needs to be tailored to the individual's specific causes. No wonder it's so difficult to diagnose and treat! But before we talk about the specific causes of your TMJ pain, let's talk in general about what TMJ disorders actually are. When your health care provider talks about this problem, she's referring to a group of rather complex problems -- all related to the jaw, or the temporomandibular joint. This joint is located on each side of your head in front of your ears. Its exact location is the meeting place of your lower jaw meets your skull. It actually combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The areas of the specific bones interacting with the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by nothing more than a very small disk which acts as a type of shock absorber. But unlike the bones in other parts of your body, the TMJ is actually composed of two joints. This unique make up is what allows it to both rotate and slide. As with any bone, though, eventually the surface area wears down or erodes. Signs of this include a clicking sound and a popping, as well as changes in the joint’s normal movements. The surfaces of both the bone and the cartilage are incapable of sending pain signals to your brain. Instead, the surrounding soft tissues become painful. The pain may also manifest in the trigeminal nerve, running through the joint area itself.

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Once that happens, then the mandible’s movements are automatically limited. Even when the jaw isn’t in motion, the inflamed joints or the damaged nerve can cause constant pain. Since the TMJ is located so close to the ear, this pain may very well be interpreted for a typical earache or as facial pain.

Why Me? There are any number of reasons why you may have a problem with this joint. For example, the disk itself may actually erode or move out of joint, resulting in a misalignment of your jaw. This joint is incredibly useful and you prove that every day, for talking chewing and yawning to be exact. Remember this is a joint, complete with all the foibles of your other joints. At times, you may encounter a professional who talks about myofacial pain dysfunction or Costen's syndrome. They're talking about the same health concern.

MUSCLE AND JOINT: A TAG TEAM EVENT It's true! Muscles and joints work together. That means if you have a problem with either of these in the jaw area, it can cause a host of seemingly unrelated problems including: • • • • • • • • • • •

Stiffness Ear pain Bite problems, also called malocclusion Headaches Clicking sounds Locked jaws Difficulty in chewing Discomfort when chewing Pain in the jaw Tenderness in the jaw Facial pain

The clicking sound mentioned above occurs when you open and close your mouth. For some individuals, they hear this when they chew as well. Many people experience this without any pain at all. Hearing this sound alone is not an indication that you have a

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health concern. Only those who experience pain along with the sound would be diagnosed as having TMJ disorders.

WHAT CAUSES THIS "MALFUNCTION" OF MY JAW? You can develop disorders of the TMJ if the disk, which acts as a shock absorber, slides out of place or erodes. The problems may occur if the cartilage of the joint is damaged by arthritis. Of course, your jaw may have been damaged if it withstood some type of trauma. You may have fallen and the jaw was subjected to a blow. But the problem may also be related to the muscles in the area as well. This is especially true if they become fatigued from overuse. How can you "overuse" your jaw? Well, before you accuse anyone of talking too much, this is usually the cause when you clench or grind your teeth. But, even with this wide diversity of causes, many individuals never are able to discover the exact cause of their jaw troubles. And that, ultimately, makes its treatment very tricky, indeed. Here's another common cause of as that can contribute to the condition. Have we mentioned lately that life tends to be unfair at times? Now that I have your curiosity piqued about this, you undoubtedly want to know how this happens. Sleeping on your stomach automatically forces your head to move to one side, which in turn places stress on the joints in your neck. It's far better to sleep on your side, but even this can still press one side of the face more than the other. So what's the ultimate sleeping position to help your TMJ pain? You guessed it, on your back. Try this. It may be the relief you've been searching for. But, you do sleep on your back and still experience jaw joint pain, and then your TMJ problems may be due to your grinding or even clenching your teeth at night. How can you find out, since obviously you're sleeping unaware of what your jaw is actually doing throughout the night. As soon as you wake up in the morning, focus your consciousness on your jaw. Then answer this simple question: It your jaw relaxed? Are your teeth set apart or are they clamped together tightly. If your teeth are clamped shut, then your dentist may recommend you wear a specialized splint that prevents the grinding and clenching.

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The Anteater Pose Another cause of TMJ disorder, one that's often overlooked, is what Sue Carver, a physical therapist in Little Rock, Ark., calls the "anteater" pose. This involves unconsciously jutting your head forward while you're sitting and even while you're standing. Some people do this because the head is pretty heavy -- physically speaking. It weighs approximately nine to 15 pounds. This weight, in turn, strains the neck and jaw. In addition it may even cause your bite to actually shift so your teeth aren't properly aligned. You may think this "anteater" pose is uncommon. You'd be wrong though. It is a very popular position with those individuals who work at a desk all day. And these days, that includes quite a few of us. But don't despair. There are simple ways you can prevent this. Carver recommends to her patients that they view their shoulders and their pelvis as an invisible rectangular box. "You want to keep your head over this box," she instructs them If you must spend long periods sitting, first ensure your lower back is supported. Then keep your lower back supported. You'll also want to keep your feet flat on the floor. Another item to check for is that your desk is at the proper height that your forearms are level with your keyboard if you're typing. And probably the most important piece of advice Carver provides is not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time without getting up and moving about some. (And that is the hardest advice for me to follow!)

Even More Possible Causes Just when you think it's safe to wrap up the list of potential causes of your TMJ disorder, I'm adding yet another list for you to drink up (I'd say chew on but we don't want to tax that jaw joint any more than it already is!) Check out these possible causes of this ubiquitous disorder: • • • • • •

Autoimmune Diseases Various Infections Jaw Injuries of Just About Any Kind Certain Dental Procedures Stretching your jaw -- as in done at times with certain surgical procedures Poor Dental Work

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Is There A TMJ Disorders "Profile"? Many individuals grind their teeth and never develop TMJ problems. Many of us, likewise, go through the day not thinking about how we sit or even how long we sit. Why do some individuals seemed destined to develop it while others are untouched by it? But more importantly, you may be wondering right about now what the odds are that you'll develop a TMJ disorder. You may be wondering if there's a TMJ Disorders profile, the snapshot of a person who's likely to develop this problem. As a matter of fact, there are several risk factors that can increase your odds of being plagued with this pain. The first is your age. Are you between the ages of 30 and 50? If so, you're more at risk than those younger or older than you. Then there's the issue of your gender. Women seem to develop TMJ problems more often than men. The medical community isn't quite sure why, though. Another factor which increases your chances is possessing a deformity of the jaw. If you were born with an abnormality in the bones of your face, especially those which affect the workings of the jaw -- your odds of developing problems increase. Other specifics which may boost the chances of needing to deal with TMJ disorders include the presence of other diseases or disorders. Those individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome are more at risk than others.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR? Oh, you'll know! You'll know! Seek out the opinion of your qualified health care practitioner when your pain or tenderness is persistent or when you can't open or close your jaw completely. She’ll not only diagnose the problem, but if it's truly a TMJ problem, she'll help you pinpoint the cause. But you don't always need a medical professional to tell you what causes your pain. If it's associated with bad habits you've acquired through your daily lifestyle, you may be able to deduce the cause yourself. You after all know your body and what you put it through in a day better than anyone else. Before walking into your doctor's office, though, it's a good idea if you prepare for your visit. You want to be able to describe -- succinctly and accurately -- the type of

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symptoms you're experiencing. This is important because of the variable origins of TMJ. Different types of symptoms can give your health care practitioner a clearer picture of the underlying cause or causes of the problem. You'll also want to give some thought to roughly when the symptoms began. Of course, you probably gave the pain no thought the first several times you felt it. If you're like most of us, you dismissed it, chalking it up to "just one of those things." But as it persisted, you, no doubt, became more concerned about it. Try to remember how long you've been struggling with this. Can you associate this pain with any particular activity? If so, be sure to tell your doctor that. This information, too, can help in detecting an accurate cause of your problem, which in turn can help with a more effective not to mention quicker treatment plan. If your jaw clicks or pops, tell your doctor or dentists this. Also inform him if you're experiencing problems sleeping at night. All of this is important. And finally, if you view your life as stressful, by all means mention this. Without at doubt, stress in our life manifests in any number of ways through our physical bodies. This could be why you're grinding your teeth at night.

WHAT THE DOCTOR WILL DO? Sometimes the most frightening or intimidating aspect of a doctor's visit is simply not knowing what's going to happen. Having an idea of what happens during allays many of these fears. That in turn helps you to concentrate on what the doctor is saying. If you think you'll miss some vital aspect of this discussion or won't be able to remember something, take a friend or relative with you who can be more objective. Ask him to listen closely. And be honest with him. Tell him you may not remember everything the doctor tells you. Between the two of you, you'll emerge from the visit with a much fuller understanding of what the doctor said. One of the first things your doctor will have you do is simply open and close your mouth. Among other traits, he's observing the range of motion your jaw has. He'll also undoubtedly check to see what your bite looks like. Here, he's checking for any abnormalities which may be prompting the pain. He'll also examine your mouth for other conditions that may cause TMJ disorders. These may include fillings that are too high, teeth which have been displaced due to an earlier loss of other teeth, as well as traits which you've inherited. All of these can cause the misalignment of your mouth which can trigger or aggravate TMJ disorders. Next, he'll examine your teeth more carefully. He'll inspect them for specific patterns of wear that could leave clues that you're grinding your teeth at night -- without you even being aware of it.

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Don't be surprised -- or alarmed -- if he presses on the areas surrounding your jaws. In doing so, he's identifying areas of pain or discomfort. Your job is to be honest when he asks those questions, "Does this hurt?" "Does this feel uncomfortable?" Finally, he'll take the time to ask you -- if you haven't already told him -- about the level of stress or anxiety in your life. More importantly, he'll also question how you hand it. This could be some of the most telling testimony of the entire office visit.

WHAT COMES AFTER THE INITIAL EXAM? If your health care practitioner believes that your symptoms may be due to TMJ disorders, he may order a few tests. He'll probably start out with an x-ray. From there you may also be asked to undergo a CT scan, commonly called a "cat" scan. The images produced by this device can provide him with detailed images of the joint bones. Finally, he may even ask that an MRI be taken. This specifically reveals the condition of the shock-absorbing disk. If you visit an allopathic doctor, a physician with an M.D. behind his name, his advice will probably be scripted from the conventional medicine rulebook. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – especially if it helps you. Before you jump into anything, it’s nice to know what lies ahead. In the following chapter we talk about the treatments conventional, allopathic medicine may recommend.

Chapter Two: TMJ Disorders: Conventionally Speaking “You have several treatment options available to you,” my doctor said following the confirmation of the TMJ diagnosis. I sat forward in the chair, “What are they?” I asked, really not knowing what to expect. And with that, he began a litany of prescriptions and procedures, many of which I didn’t know a thing about.

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If your pain is diagnosed as TMJ a similar list, outlining what conventional medicine can offer, may be presented to you. But I have to admit, it was difficult making an intelligent choice. I knew so very little about any of those options. That left me, in effect, at the mercy of the doctor. My initial decisions, at least, were based on his recommendations. And while that is not necessarily a bad situation, the best possible scenario in the decision-making process is not to approach it blindly. It’s always much better if you have at least some idea of what your doctor is talking about. This chapter covers that. It’ll give you a leg up on what your doctor may recommend you do for your pain. Knowing ahead of time what he’s speaking about gives you the opportunity to ask probing, intelligently questions. But more importantly, it allows you to be an active partner in the direction of your own health instead of merely a participant.

GOT TMJ DISORDER? HERE'S WHAT MAY HAPPEN! For some people, the symptoms of TMJ disorders disappear just as mysteriously as they appeared even without any type of treatment. But, if the symptoms won't go away, then your doctor or dentist will provide a treatment plan or at the very least prescription medication to help you deal with the pain. Doctors have a variety of medications that can help you cope with the pain of TMJ disorders. The truth is you’ve probably already have used the first weapon in his arsenal of therapies: over-the-counter analgesic pain killers. These are your standard over-the-counter, “let-me-reach-for-this” drug that most of us use. The most common of these is acetaminophen. You may know it better by its brand name, Tylenol. It works simply by blocking the transmission of pain signals to your brain. And while we use this drug all the time, there is a danger in that familiarity that accompanies it. Many of us forget it really is a medication with potential negative side effects, just like any other pharmaceutical drug – either over-the-counter or prescription. This is doubly so when, as a society we seem to swallow these in an amazingly large quantity. In fact, you may be doing just that right now for your TMJ pain. But just listen to acetaminophen’s major, potential adverse side effect: liver damage. You can indeed cause damage to your liver if you take too much of it at once or you depend on it as a long-term treatment. Taking 4,000 mg daily is considered excessive. Even if you don’t overuse it, you still may experience liver problems if you take this analgesic and drink alcoholic beverages.

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Don’t think for a moment that just because you take acetaminophen your system isn’t somehow ingesting it, because it very possibly may be. It’s found as part of more than 600 other over-the-counter drugs, including many cold and sinus medications as well as cough remedies. If you’ve already used these products and found them lacking, don’t be surprised. Medical experts say this class of pain killers is not very effective for TMJ because of its neurological nature. You may also have tried aspirin or even a host of NSAIDs – non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs. These are often confused with analgesics, but they work differently. Instead of blocking the transmission of the pain signals, they reduce the inflammation causing the pain. NSAIDs include ibuprofen. You probably have at least one bottle of this in your home right now under the brand name of either Motrin or Advil.

When OTC Isn’t Enough . . . If over-the-counter pain medication doesn't help, your health care provider may prescribe the off-label use tricyclic antidepressants. The term “off label” indicates that this drug is not intended to be used as a pain killer, but has proven effective in this instance. And, indeed, for many individuals it seems to be the answers to their prayers. This type of medication has proven extremely helpful in easing the pain for some. He'll probably recommend you take them in the evening before you retire for the evening. If he's prescribed either amitriptyline or nortriptyline, he's giving you antidepressants. Recently, in fact, the International Association for the Study of Pain recommended this class of drugs as the first choice to reduce pain caused by neurological issues, like TMJ.

Beware of The Side Effects But these drugs aren’t without negative side effects. You may notice an increase in your appetite or experience dry mouth. Some people also experience constipation on this drug. A less common adverse reaction, but one you should be aware of, is the possibility of acquiring either a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication may heighten the severity of any of these effects. If you have cardiovascular disease or have experienced a stroke, you may still be prescribed them, but your health care provider will want to closely monitor your use of these antidepressants.

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Similarly, if you suffer from hypothyroidism, inform your prescribing physician. This health issue combined with the medication needs to be monitored closely.

Muscle Relaxants: Short-Term Relief We learned earlier that your muscle and bones work in tandem. Don't be surprised then if you get a prescription for muscle relaxants. This type of medication may help for a few days -- or even several weeks -- to relieve the pain. Bear in mind, though, that the use of these drugs doesn’t speak to the cause of your TMJ disorders. It does help to alleviate your pain symptoms. And for many, they are extremely helpful. Are you considering taking muscle relaxants? Think hard and long before you make your decision. They are not only considered a controlled substance, but have been proven to be addictive. They have, in fact, become the most abused type of drug in the US today. If you have past issues with alcohol or drug addiction, then you should steer clear of these drugs. Even if you have no previous addictive problems, you may still find yourself dependent at the very least or addicted if you take them for a continued length of time for chronic pain. That’s one reason many physicians only prescribe them for short-term use.

In Addition to Addiction . . . Obviously, addiction is the largest fear most individuals experience when they use muscle relaxants. But this type of drug also comes with other potential adverse issues. Some individuals, for example, experience stomach problems, including nausea and vomiting when they take these drugs. For others, the adverse effects can appear in the form of a dry mouth. But perhaps the most common effect accompanying their use is drowsiness. If you do use them, be careful, especially initially that you don’t drive until you can evaluate how your body reacts to this medication. Many individuals also complain that their thought processes are foggy or cloudy. They lack the necessary concentration to think clearly. As a consequence some even say their daily ability to function normally is affected while they’re on this prescription drug. Some persons notice that their decision-making powers are diminished.

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There’s still one more caveat that needs to be mentioned if you decide to use this class of drugs. You must know that they may not mix well with other medications you’re using. Be sure to inform your health care provider of your entire list of medications you’re taking. When mixed with other drugs, the power of the muscle relaxants may be diminished or even negated completely. But more than that, the combination of this drug with certain others may even present itself as a dangerous situation.

Corticosteroid: Worth The Risk? If the pain is severe, then you may undergo injections of corticosteroid drugs. These would be shot directly into the joint space. This provides the needed relief for many. The corticosteroid is an enormously powerful drug – one that should be used with extreme caution. It definitely has the potential to ease your pain, but it also carries very real negative side effects. In fact, this class of medication comes with an extremely long and diverse list of possible side effects. Before agreeing to this treatment, you need to be fully informed of the potential hazards of this drug. The side effects include the following: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Acne Bruising easily (black and blue marks) Cataracts Depression Diabetes High blood pressure Increased appetite Mood swings Muscle weakness Osteoporosis Salt retention Stomach ulcers Slow-healing wounds Sweating excessively Water retention Weight gain

For this reason, many doctors use it sparingly and only for a very short period of time. Usually, it’s recommended after all other treatments have failed. While corticosteroid injections help some individuals, many in the medical community question the lack of valuable guidelines regarding their use. What few guidelines exist, they contend are “woefully inadequate.”

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For the most part, the use of these injections – that are placed directly into the jaw – are based, according to many experts, more on anecdotal evidence than on any results for controlled scientific studies.

Botox and TMJ: An Unusual Approach? Yes. Botox. You know it. It’s that “infamous” substance that has people around the world ridding their faces of wrinkles. If your doctor speaks of Botox to you don’t be astonished. It appears to have a good track record in helping alleviate the pain. It accomplishes this essentially because the substance relaxes the tense jaw muscles. It’s also recommended by many because it’s a non-invasive procedure. That means it’s an alternative to surgery. The goal of your health care provider should be to offer you all the least invasive treatment options prior to recommending surgery. If you can in any way avoid surgery, that should be one of your desires. The procedure, in essence is simple enough. Once this area is sufficiently numbed, a doctor, specially trained in administering this treatment injects the substance directly into specific muscles affected by the TMJ pain – and only these muscles. The injections themselves are called “tiny.” The specialist asks you to contract your muscles. He then determines the appropriate sites for injections. Typically, these areas are the temporals, frontals and the masseter. Only those areas receiving the treatments will be affected. This treatment doesn’t take very long. It may be as short as 10 minutes or as long as half an hour, depending on the number of muscles involved as well as the number of shots being administered. Before you schedule your injections, though, you should be well aware of the dangers associated with Botox (You had to know I was going to tell you about the side effects!). The most common complaints associated with this therapy include headaches, nausea and the temporary drooping of the eye lids. Some individuals have experienced respiratory infections as well as a flu-like syndrome. Additionally, you may experience that the sites where the injections were administered may actually discolor and bruise. Don’t panic. This occurs in some instances. If you’re either pregnant or breast feeding, though, you should postpone Botox therapy for your TMJ pain.

The What? The Occlusal Splint! THE ULTIMATE HANDBOOK ON TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DISORDER

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The occlusal splint is an example of another popular non-surgical remedy to your pain. It sounds quite impressive and complicated, but you might know it better under its more common name: the bite guard. Ah! Now we’re talking. Some people, indeed, discover the much-needed relief they seek with the use of the occlusal splint. This bite guard is specifically created to prevent any further wear and tear on your joint. You may also hear it referred to as simply a splint or even an appliance. This device, though, is nothing new, having been used for more than 80 years for various problems relating to the mouth and jar. It’s been used to treat the grinding of the teeth, the clenching of the mouth as well as most recently TMJ pain. Many individuals find this mechanism extremely helpful; others don’t have good results with it. The guard, in fact, can actually lose its effectiveness over a period of time. And, as contradictory as this seems, some persons complain their symptoms worsen when they use the splint. You’ll learn that this device comes in several different forms, depending on your individual needs. Some cover the top teeth; others fit over the bottom set of teeth. The splint, though, it may seem like an answer to your prayers, is not meant to be a permanent solution. Nor is the use of this device intended to alter your basic bit. If you discover this is occurring, then stop its use immediately and inform your health care provider. Perhaps the best evidence for some for the use of an occlusal splint is the rest it provides your muscles. With this device in overnight, you’re simply not grinding your teeth in your sleep. While it's definitely a good approach, you do need to know a few of the disadvantages of the guard. First the guard may actually prevent your teeth from meshing together. And you also need to know that if you have sleep apnea, it may actually worsen the problem.

Is Surgery In Your Future? It could be depending on the cause and severity of your pain. One of the suggestions he may provide you is corrective dental treatment. The goal of this approach is to improve your bite through the variety of measures. It could be that the actual biting surfaces of your teeth may need balanced, or it may be that missing teeth get replaced. The corrective dental treatment may be as simple as getting a crown or filling replaced. It must be mentioned that any of these treatments always have the chance of worsening your TMJ pain.

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If your doctor recommends arthrocentesis, he's actually recommending a simple procedure involving the extraction of fluid from the joint. Your doctor will inject a needle into the joint. Then the joint is irrigated in an attempt to remove debris and other inflammatory byproducts from the area. Once the area has been sufficiently cleared, he may then inject either a form of lubricants into the space or even medications of some sort, including corticosteroids. Being a minimally invasive treatment, recovery time is short. At most, individuals need two days to recover from it. This procedure doesn’t work for every patient, though. Some individuals who receive it said it did nothing to relieve their pain. If your doctor recommends this approach you need to consider it very carefully. It's an approach that the national Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research believes to be controversial yet. It actually suggests that surgery be performed when all other treatments have failed.

Arthroscopy: Increasing The Level of Invasiveness In some cases of TMJ disorder, arthroscopy may be recommended. It’s a slightly more invasive treatment than arthrocentesis, though, you’ll find it very similar. Your surgeon in these cases uses a small camera to examine the interior of your jaw joint. Depending on what he finds, he may perform other procedures while he’s there. He may stitch your discs in place or remove excess and loose scar tissue. Performed on an outpatient basis, recovery time is longer than for arthrocentesis. Most persons require at least a week before they can return to work. Arthroscopic surgery leaves little in the way of scarring. In fact, in most instances, there is none at all. The required incision is, typically, less than five millimeters long, requiring only a very few stitches to close. If you notice any type of lingering marks, they most likely will be some temporary bruising in the area.

Arthroplasty: Open Joint Surgery It very well may be that your TMJ pain can’t be resolved using the least invasive forms of surgery. In that case, you may find yourself a candidate for arthroplasty or open joint surgery.

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Not only does this treatment give your surgeon the best possible view of your jaw, it’s the method of choice for the repair or removal of the articular disc, as well as replacement of the disc and general surgery to the bone. Performed under either local or general anesthesia it, like the other less invasive surgeries we’ve discussed, involves making a small cut over the jaw – that are directly in front of the ear. This exposes the joint space, allowing the surgeon room (if you want to call that small area roomy!) to perform the necessary procedure.

What Can Be Performed Using Arhtroplasty? Excellent question. You’d be surprised what can be done in such a small space. Your surgeon may deem it necessary to repair your disc. This so-called disc is actually a piece of cartilage located between the two bones of the jaw joint. Its purpose is to separate and cushion the bones, effectively preventing them from rubbing together – and uh . . . causing that pain you’re feeling!

What Is A Menictomy? Wow! Another good question. If your surgeon mentions this procedure then he’s talking about either the total or partial removal of the disc. It may be that this cartilage is so badly damaged that it just can’t be saved. The procedure by which this is accomplished is called a menictomy It describes either the partial or total removal of the articular disc and the consequential replacement of it with an implant. The implant consists of a synesthetic material which performs the identical function as the disc did. It prevents the joint bones from rubbing against each other.

Osseous Surgery Just when you think you’ve learned about all the possible surgeries that can be performed on your jaw joint, there’s another lurking around the corner. This one is called osseous surgery. If your surgeon mentions this, he’s not talking about replacement, but rather re-structuring or re-shaping the disc. TMJ pain can occur due to poorly formed bones in the joint area. This surgery attempts to remodel the bone to alleviate the problem.

Options, Options, Options! As you can see, conventional medicine offers you many options in the treatment of your TMJ pain. Unfortunately, many of these choices involve some type of potential side effects, some degree of risk or aren’t completed investigated to be certified as effective.

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It wouldn’t be surprising then for you to read this list thinking that there must be another way to treat your chronic problem. And you’re right – there is. It’s a more integrative approach to your pain which may involve changes in your daily habits, not only involving your posture and movements, but your dietary habits as well. The rest of this book delves into how you may be able to avoid or at least lessen your dependence on prescription medications and conventional treatments by applying some of these more “unconventional” natural treatments.

Chapter Three: TMJ Disorders: Unconventionally Speaking My naturopath doctor asked who referred me to her for treatment. “Surprisingly,” I said, “my medical doctor, among others.” “Why are you surprised?” she asked. “Because I never thought conventional doctors believed in these alternative approaches to healing.” Several decades ago that, indeed, was the case. Few medical physicians believed in, nor recommended what once was called complementary and alternative treatments. Not only did these doctors dismissed these practices out of hand, but they some also viewed them as dangerous.

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Today, doctors are sitting up and taking notice. Many are not only recommending that you seek what we may call unconventional treatments, but many are working hand in hand with many of these natural providers of healing.

What A Difference 25 Years Make! So, what exactly prompted this change of heart? In two words: research results. Well, that and the fact that one third of those seeking medical treatment were also using these unconventional approaches to healing – without informing their physicians! That’s one third of the medical-seeking population! But, in fairness, the last quarter of a century has seen strides in testing these alternative approaches in order to fairly determine their effectiveness. And for the most part, they’ve stood up and passed the intense scrutiny of the scientific process. Today, you can find what’s called integrative medicine clinics in many cities. But more than that, some of the nation’s most renowned and accomplished hospitals are incorporating integrative medicine into their services. Most notable are Duke University, which has created the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Center routinely offers patients not only the advantage of the best of conventional medicine, but provides its patients to a wide range of such services as massage and Reiki therapy. Integrative medicine, in a nutshell is the marriage of conventional marriage and alternative therapies. The foundation of this marriage is based on the concept of healing the person as a whole, not merely treating the symptoms. Perhaps there’s no disorder can benefit more from this approach than TMJ pain. Very often the pain is triggered by poor posture or eating habits as much as the structural build of the jaw. It may very well be that your symptoms may be alleviated with this unique approach to treatment and healing. Before we talk about specific treatments, let’s take some to talk about three of the largest – and in some cases, the popular – unconventional treatments for TMJ pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: Thousands of Years of Practice For some individuals, it’s hard to argue with a system of medicine that has withstood the test of time – some thousands of years of time to be precise. This is one of the modalities of treatment which the medical community dismissed nearly a generation ago.

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When you think of traditional Chinese medicine, your mind may immediately race to strange-sounding herbs. But also included in this concept is acupuncture. At its core, Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at disease and pain fundamentally different from modern Western medicine. It’s holistic approach to healing. The diagnosis of a specific illness, for example TMJ pain, is made not only with regard to the innate cause of the pain, but also its location, mechanism and its very nature. Because of this, two individuals with identical pain or the identical illness could conceivably receive vastly different forms of treatment. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses what’s known as yin and yang to determine, in part, an individual’s specific therapeutic road. Many of the decisions made through this modality are also based on the use of the universal elements: earth, fire, metal, water and wood.

The Mutually Dependent World Of Opposites The theory of yin and yang comes from the ancient Chinese religious practice of Taoism, which itself is well-grounded in the workings of the natural world around us. Literally, these two terms refer to the bright and dark aspects of an object. This translates into use as the interpretation of opposites in general. Hot versus cold. Fast as opposed to slow. Feminine compared to masculine. Well, you get the idea. In this Eastern modality, opposites are in simultaneously in conflict while being mutually dependent on each other. This seemingly contradictory theory is called the “unity of opposites.” What does this have to do with your TMJ pain? Quite a bit, actually. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that your health is in a constant state of motion and change. In a healthy individual, the natural ebb and flow of yin and yang stays contained within specific bounds, maintaining a healthy balance. When one side, however, dominates over the other, the evidence of disease appears.

Now, What About The Five Elements? Actually, Traditional Chinese Medicine’s concept of the five elements is based on a similar theory as yin and yang: Your body’s relationship to nature. According to this type of therapy, the elements are used to help balance your body. Just like the concept of opposites, water, fire, metal wood and earth are in constant flux with each other. None of these works independently, but rather are dependent on one another in order to produce a unity. As long as the elements are in a harmonious balance, your health is

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sustained. Should any element decide to take control, while others take a back seat, so to speak, the result is pain and disease. All of your body’s organs, Traditional Chinese Medicine says, possess characteristics that align remarkably well to these five natural elements. Just as the elements interact with each other, so do your organs. When any element encroaches or dominates over another, disease occurs. While all five elements are in balance health flourishes.

The Tools of The Trade About now you’re wondering how these theories translate into treatment. With emphasis on therapies tailored to the individual, the practitioner concentrates on using five techniques in providing you with an effective treatment plan. These are observation, your senses of hearing and smell, direct questions of you, and touch and palpitation. The observations process may not be exactly what you expect. Don’t be surprised when you make your initial visit to a practitioner of Chinese medicine he spends much time looking at your tongue. The techniques of touch and palpitation involve primarily the pulse. While a variety of treatments are used, Traditional Chinese Medicine centers around, in large part, the use of herbs. Herbal therapy is such an ancient and revered form of healing that this system uses what’s called the Materia Medica, a pharmalogical reference book. No herb “prescribed” by a practitioner is done so haphazardly. The Materia Medica not only lists literally hundreds of various herbs and their uses, put it also lists minerals and even animal product substances. These items are organized according to their perceived action on your system. Another tool Traditional Chinese Medicine makes use of is acupuncture. When it was first introduced in the United States the medical community scoffed at the procedure. Today, however, after nearly, however, after nearly 25 years of clinical study, the view of this modality has stood up to the intense scrutiny. Many conventional doctors now believe that it can be a valuable aid in the treatment of TMJ pain. A staple of Chinese medicine for literally thousands of years, this form of therapy places tiny needles into your skin along certain strategic points called meridians. According to the traditional Chinese theory, these needles, when placed in the proper area for your particular problem and symptoms balance the flow of your life energy or life force. In Chinese, this is called qi or chi – pronounced chee. The Western view of the explanation of differs. Medical professionals believe the insertion of the needles stimulates not only your nerves and muscles, but your

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connective tissue as well. In addition to that, this therapy boosts your body’s active painkilling mechanism and increases blood flow. Acupuncture relieves the root cause of your pain instead of masking it temporarily. While this therapy may be able alleviate your pain, you need to make sure that it’s performed by an accomplished acupuncturist. If you’re at a loss of where to start searching for one, start with asking your friends and family. They may have used one. You’ll also want to ask natural health practitioners who are receptive to this type of treatment. They may have already referred other patients to acupuncturists. Lastly, once you find one don’t hesitate to ask to visit prior to committing yourself to a session. You want to make sure that everything in the office is clean, the needles sterile and ensure that she is knowledgeable.

The sister treatment Another Chinese therapy, based on the principles of acupuncture is acupressure. In this treatment you apply pressure to certain points of your body to eliminate your TMJ pain. And the best part of this is that for the most part, you can apply it yourself. Many books and web sites exist that can explain the points you press in order to apply pressure to the proper area. As with acupuncture, acupressure works by the stimulation of certain meridians for specific symptoms.

Ayurvedic Medicine Originating in India, the Ayurvedic system of healing is thought to be the world’s oldest -- even older than Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ayurvedic, by the way means “science of life” in Sanskrit. And today, it still remains extremely popular as a healing modality in India. More than 90 percent of the Indian population us some form of Ayurvedic medicine. An entirely holistic form of medical treatment, this revered approach cures through its creation of harmony among the three essential aspects of your very being: body, mind and spirit. When these aspects are balanced health is the result. Not only does this system include herbal remedies, but it provides specific dietary guidelines.

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If you’re considering using this system as a part of your overall TMJ treatment, then it’s essential you enlist the help and guidance of a trained Ayurvedic professional. It’s not a system that you can pick off the shelf and uses on your own. Its ability to cure is based on its individualized approach. There are no generic guidelines. A professionally trained advisor can help you tailor a regime that fulfills your needs for nutrition, exercise, and even personal interests as well as just about every other area of your life. Included in this overall approach are such therapies as dincharya, a daily personalized regime as well as what’s called ritucharya, a seasonal routine. Remember, physical health isn’t the only goal of this holistic medicinal approach. Its goal is also to create mental and spiritual health as well. That’s why the personalized approach is so vital. Interested in this system? Before you even approach a qualified Ayurvedic professional, consider reading about the system. One of the classic texts is entitled Charak Samhita. The knowledge accumulated in this book dates back to 800 BCE and was compiled by Charaka, an instructor at the University of Taxila, considered to be one of the oldest universities in the world. Another useful and informative volume is the Sushruta Samhita. This book was compiled by Sushruta, and it holds healing secrets that originate from 700 BCE. Not only does it offer an excellent and comprehensive explanation of Ayurvedic medicine, but it also provides a definition of the approach, as well as revealing health secrets regarding the importance of the state of your blood. You’ll also discover a great description of the five subdoshas of Pitta and the marma points.

Homeopathic Medicine Developed in Germany, homeopathy is a mere child in age when compared to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Nearly 200 years old, it too is a natural system of healing based on the theory that “like cures like.” It’s been used in the U.S. since the 19 th century. In addition to treating diseases, homeopathy, its advocates say, is also an excellent preventive tool to keeping illnesses at bay. In addition to the fundamental groundwork of “like cures like” is the key principle of dilution. You may also hear it referred to as the law of minimum dose. It says that the lower the dose of any homeopathic substance administered, the greater its effectiveness. Substances used in treatment, then are diluted in a step-by-step fashion, and then shaken vigorously between each step.

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A homeopathic doctor treats each person according to his individualized needs. It very well could be that two persons, each complaining of TMJ pain could walk out of the doctor’s door with vastly different health care plans. Before administering any substance, he examines the overall needs of his patient, paying close attention not only to his genetic and personal health history, but also his body type. Additionally, he evaluates the individual’s physical, emotional and mental symptoms. The remedies used in this system are derived from not only plants, but also minerals and even animals. Some of the most popular substances used are arnica or mountain herb, red onion and stinging nettle. Almost four million Americans are already using this natural system as part of their overall health blueprint. Below are a few of the substances that could be used in a comprehensive approach to treating your TMJ symptoms. It’s advisable not to administer these independently of a trained homeopathic professional. If you do decide to visit a specialist in this area, be sure to consult with your personal health care provider before beginning the treatment. In this way you can be sure that no homeopathic substances will react adversely with any prescription medications you may be taking. Some of the remedies used routinely in the care of TMJ pain include causticum, hypericum perforatum, ignata, kalmia, magnesia phosphorica, rhus toxicodendron and Rhus graveolens. But these aren’t the only tools the homeopathic specialist has in his black bag of healing. A very effective substance against the pain of TMJ is called ferrum phosphoricum. This biochemic salt helps your body absorb iron, which is essential in the maintenance of your body’s myelin sheath that surrounds every tissue in your body. This sheath is indispensable to the delivery of iron to your nerve cells. Not only does this remedy help to relieve headaches, it also helps to banish feelings of irritability and tension as well as tiredness. A legendary homeopathic pain reliever, magnesium phosphate also benefits your nervous system. This substance naturally relaxes your muscles and is a tremendous anti0spasmodic agent. Kalium phosphate is a well-known and effective brain and nerve tonic. It literally nourishes your nervous system. By the way, it’s the most commonly recommended tissue salt for dispelling worry and distress.

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Chapter Four: TMJ Disorders: Nutritionally Speaking Shh! I have a secret about food and TMJ. You already know a soft diet is sometimes necessary, but did you realize your overall nutritional intake can actually alleviate some of the pain? On one of visits to my natural health care providers, she began asking a series of questions about my diet. I thought these questions were going to be the standard ones my allopathic doctor always asked. Then he always ended in extolling the virtues of a soft diet. Much to my surprise, this health professional instead explained the very real role nutrition can play in actually healing my condition. “Wow! I never thought that vitamins and minerals would affect the health of my jaw!” If you’ve ever had any type of jaw pain then you know how difficult it can be to eat well. Hard foods are difficult if not impossible to chew, causing you even more pain. So you try d to eat strictly soft foods, but let's face it, foods like mashed potatoes and milk shakes get boring really fast.

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But if your TMJ disorder is caused by any arthritis-related pain, then carefully choosing your foods involves more than the choice among soft foods. Because as you know, a jaw is a joint, just like any other joint in your body. And that means, according to some dietitians and nutritionists, that what you eat affects the health of your joints. So now basically you're facing two dilemmas. First, you need to come up with nutritious, dare we say even exciting, foods to eat while you're in pain. But beyond that you need to start eating a little more on the healthy side to improve the state of your arthritis. Sounds a little difficult? It needn’t be, actually. That's exactly why this chapter is divided into two parts. First, we'll cover how you can eat a little better even with your current jaw pain. The second part is how you can improve your diet to improve your arthritis-related pain.

Foods To Get You Through The Pain Let's not delay this any longer. You're in pain and you're hungry for something that's not . . . well, "blah tasting." Tired of smoothies? Then let’s kick it up a notch. Try this fresh tasting one. It'll ignite your taste buds and have them demanding, "More, please!" And one of the greatest advantages to smoothies is their ease of preparation.

The Awesome Watermelon Smoothie Ingredients: 4 cups seedless watermelon Juice of 1 lime 2 cups of ice Condensed milk to taste Instructions: Combine the watermelon, the lime juice, and the ice. Blend until this mixture is smooth. While you continue blending the mixture, add the condensed milk to taste. That's all there is to it. Now just drink and enjoy

Delicious Peach Smoothie Ingredients:

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3 peaches peeled and sliced 4 scoops vanilla ice cream 2 cups vanilla soy milk ¼ cup orange juice Combine the peaches, ice cream soy milk and orange juice in a blender. Blend this until it's smooth. Pour this into a glass and enjoy!sppl Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie Ingredients: 1 1/3 cup vanilla soy milk ¼ cup soft tofu, crumbled and drained 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen 3 tablespoon creamy peanut butter 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ 3 tablespoons brown sugar 4 ice cubes Pinch of salt Combine all the ingredients except the bananas and ice cubes in the blender. Mix until well blended. Add the bananas and the ice cubes. Cover the blender and continue blending until smooth. Enjoy!

Crazy -- But Delicious -- Smoothie Ingredients: 1 banana peeled ½ cup diced cantaloupe ¼ cup chopped carrots ¼ cup orange segments 1 tablespoon honey ¼ lemon, peeled and seeded ½ cup pineapple, chunked ½ cup water 1 cup ice 1 scoop protein powder (optional) Instructions: Place all ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth. Yes, it's that easy and it's delicious!

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Here’s one breakfast dish that's a little more exciting

Pain-Free Breakfast Ingredients: 6 peaches, peeled and sliced 12 slices day-old French bread (approximately ¾ inch thick) 1 cup packed brown sugar ½ cup butter 2 Tablespoon water 6 eggs 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 1 pinch ground cinnamon, or to taste Instructions: Stir the brown sugar, butter and water together in a sauce pan. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour this mixture into a 9-by-13 inch baking dish, ensuring it covers the entire bottom of the dish. Layer the peaches over the sugar coating. Top with the slices of French bread. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour this slowly over the bread to coat evenly. Sprinkle the cinnamon over this. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 8 hours. Approximately 30 minutes before baking, remove the dish from the refrigerator, bringing it to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. ********* Have you ever thought of pulled pork shoulder for dinner? It takes a minimal amount of chewing and you'll receive a maximum amount of taste!

Pulled Pork Sandwich You can use your favorite barbeque sauce for this awesome sandwich. Ingredients:

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One (1) 4 to 7 lb bone in or boneless pork shoulder (you might also know this type of meat as Boston butt) ¼ cup water Season lightly with salt and pepper Enough of your favorite barbecue sauce for the flavor you want Simmer the pork in your sauce to get the flavors to mingle. Then serve on a soft bun.

Easy-To-Chew Salmon Burger with a Basil Twist Ingredients: 1 6 ½ ounce can skinless, boneless salmon, drained and flaked 1 egg beaten ½ medium carrot, finely shredded (approximately ¼ cup) ¼ cup finely shredded Swish cheese (approximately one ounce) 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing 1 tablespoon sour cream 2/3 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs (from one slice of bread) 2 teaspoons fresh basil ¼ teaspoon pepper Lemon peel Instructions: Combine egg, bread crumbs, basil and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the salmon, carrot and cheese. Mix all of this lightly. Shape into ¾ inch thick round patties. Basil-mayonnaise sauce Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and basil and lemon peel Top the salmon burgers wit the mayonnaise when cooked. Here's another salmon dish that not only will you appreciate, but your entire family will love.

Awesome Salmon Salad Ingredients:

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½ cup low-fat mayonnaise ½ cup plain yogurt 1 Tbsp grated onion 3 Tbsp ketchup 2 Tbsp. milk 3 Tbsp chopped sweet pickles, drained 14 ounce can of red sockeye salmon, drained. Skinned and boned 8 ounces mushroom, cut in half 10-ounce package of mixed salad greens 2 tomatoes sliced 3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced Instructions: Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, onion, ketchup, milk and sweet pickle in a medium bowl. Blend well. Set this aside. Add salmon and mushrooms and stir to coat. Put the greens on the platter. Top these with the salmon mixture. Add the tomatoes and hard-cooked eggs. Serve immediately with yogurt-mayonnaise dressing. And how about a little dessert after some of these delicious meals. What about . . .

Lemony Delight Ingredients: 4 cups vanilla ice cream or lemon ice cream, softened 6 ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed 1 9-inch graham cracker crust Instructions: Mix the ice cream and lemonade concentrate in a medium bowl until blended. Spoon into the crust. Freeze this four a minimum of 4 hours. Allow to stand temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.

Chew on This: Gently, Very Gently Remember, while you're healing that jaw, you want to do think very carefully about the foods you eat. Obviously, you're not going to pull a Bugs Bunny and munch on raw carrots right now. Or you will be at your doctor's asking "What's up doc?"

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No, you want to choose the softest foods you can find. These can include well-cooked grains, as well as beans and steamed vegetables. Yogurt additionally is a good choice as are bananas and beans. Oh yeah. One more piece of advice. You really don't want to chew gum either right about now.

Chew On This: Nutrition to heal Your TMJ At the same time, you should give some serious consideration to increasing the nutritious foods as well. Did you really think we'd ignore this topic? Did your health care practitioner give you any type of diet to follow to improve the aches and pains of your arthritis condition? If she did, these are the perfect foods to eat to help ease your jaw pain, too. There are certain super-nutrients that help to build the collagen of your jaw as well as repair blood vessels that have been damaged by this disorder. Among the most helpful are vitamins C, and as well as zinc and selenium. Collagen, by the way, composes much of the jaw joint, so this is a very wise move. If you can't find enough of these nutrients through your diet, then you may want to augment your diet with supplements. Dentist and TMJ specialist Wesley Shankland, author of TMJ: Its Many Faces, recommends that you take a minimum of 1,200 IU of vitamin E daily. Great natural sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds and even vegetable oils, especially canola and soybean. You can also obtain this nutrient by eating green, leafy vegetables. But the most abundant source is found in wheat germ. A single serving provides you with 100 percent of your daily requirement for the day. What a way to go!

How to Eat Wheat Germ I see you scrunching up your face at the thought of actually eating wheat germ. It’s taken an unfair beating from many of us who have never tried it before. But once you use it, you’ll fall in love with its mild, nutty flavor and its really cool, satisfying crunch. Perhaps you’ve bought it before but didn’t really know how to use it. It’s much easier than you think to incorporate this abundant source of vitamin E into your meals.

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You can start by using it just like flour. Simply cut the flour you use in any recipe in half, substituting wheat germ for the other half. You’ll love the slightly nutty resulting taste. If the recipe calls for four cups of flour, use only two cups, then add two cups of wheat germ. You can even use wheat germ in recipes that require bread crumbs, especially when you’re coating foods and frying them. Add a tablespoon of what germ to your morning smoothie. But add it at the very last moment, when it’s already practically blended. Just one more piece of advice. When you do purchase wheat germ (and I encourage you to do so) be sure to store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Otherwise you’ll discover how quickly it can spoil. He also suggests approximately 1,000 mg of vitamin C taken about five times daily (Yep, you read that right!), along with 50 mg of zinc two times a day.

Vitamin C’s Top 10 List Yes! We all know that oranges are an abundant source of vitamin C. In fact, to many of us, oranges are nearly synonymous with the nutrient. You be surprised to find that it really isn’t the riches source. On the Top 10 list of foods richest in vitamin C, it makes a poor running at Number 9. Do you want to know what leads the pack? Check out the following: 1. Chili peppers, both red and green 2. Guavas 3. Bell peppers 4. Fresh herbs, especially thyme and parsley 5. Dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale, mustard greens and garden cress 6. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts 7. Kiwi fruit 8. Papayas 9. Oranges and tangerines 10. Strawberries See what I mean? You have plenty of fresh, healthy choices when it comes to boosting your natural intake of vitamin C. Don’t be shy about doing this. You may discover the rewards to your jaw – not to mention your overall health – are nothing short of remarkable. And don't forget the selenium. Shankland also suggests that you take 100 mcg of this mineral daily.

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Selenium is a trace mineral, one we rarely give much thought to. But it can play a vital role in the health of your jaw. So what foods are good, natural sources? Here’s a Top 10 list of the richest sources of selenium. 1. Brazil nuts 2. Sunflower seeds 3. Fish 4. Shellfish 5. Meat 6. Poultry 7. Eggs 8. Mushrooms 9. Grains – including wheat germ 10. Onions It seems easy enough to get at least an adequate supply of selenium on a daily basis. If you’re planning on boosting your intake naturally though, be sure to choose the healthiest foods from an overall perspective from this list. Remember that too much red meat isn’t recommended, so offset that with the fish, eggs, and nuts and seeds. Continue on this regimen of high dosage dietary supplements for two weeks. After that you can return to more typical servings of these dietary supplements. You'll also want to talk with your health care provider before you take any nutrients -- especially those at high levels like this. There still is one more nutritional supplement that may heal the pain of TMJ disorders. Granted, this may be a catalog of cause linked together by only association, but it's definitely a list to ponder on. The following disorders have been known to be caused by a deficiency of magnesium. Coincidentally, these are the same disorders that are also linked to TMJ pain. Or maybe not so coincidentally? • • • • • •

Migraines -- other kinds of headaches Mitral Valve Prolapse Fibromyalgia Unexplained hearing loss Tinnitus Vertigo

If you have any of these problems perhaps the condition goes deeper than just the symptoms. Talk with your health care provider about what your body's current level of magnesium is.

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So what's the TMJ-magnesium connection? It's quite interesting, if little known. Magnesium is an essential mineral in the creation of a substance called hyaluronic acid. You may also have heard it referred to as hyluronan or simple HA. Hyaluronic acid is a vital part of the connective tissue in your body whose purpose is to lubricate the joints. So what are the most abundant food sources of magnesium. Here’s the Top 10 List for this trace mineral: 1. Bran, including rice, wheat and oats 2. Dried herbs 3. Squash, pumpkin and watermelon 4. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate (Yum!) 5. Flax, sesame seeds and sesame butter 6. Brazil nuts 7. Sunflower seeds 8. Almonds and cashews 9. Molasses 10. Dry Roasted soybeans

Some of the best diet changes You can make According to some nutritionists, the first change to your diet should be your consumption of caffeine. Sorry, guys. But some nutritionists suggest that caffeine is the culprit responsible for you to subconsciously clench your jaw to begin with. It only makes sense, then, they continue that you halt all caffeine intake. And we're not just talking about coffee, although this may be a large part of it. Consider the fact that caffeine is found in chocolate and tea, and even some over-the-counter medicines. While this piece of advice is sounds quite easy -- if not desirable -- to implement, it may be harder than you think once you begin to list the host of foods caffeine is found in. On the other hand, one of the best foods you can eat are those with a maximum of calcium. According to some in the medical community, calcium actually helps to relax the muscles of your body, including those in the jaw. Looking for calcium-rich foods? Turn to the dairy aisle of your grocery store. Calcium is in most dairy foods. But there are also plenty of foods that aren’t classified as dairy that are great sources of this mineral. Check out this top 10 list of calcium-rich foods. 1. Cheese 2. Yogurt 3. Milk

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4. Sardines 5. Dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale, spinach and collard greens 6. Fortified breakfast cereals, especially Total, Corn Flakes and Raisin Brain 7. Fortified orange juice 8. Soybeans 9. Fortified soy milk 10. Enriched breads, grains and yes, even waffles Omega 3 and TMJ Another essential nutrient you may want to investigate if you’re struggling with TMJ pain is Omega 3 fatty acids. You’ve heard it’s good for your heart. In fact, this substance has been shown to help many health conditions, including heart disease. But did you know it might have some very real healing powers when it comes to your TMJ pain? It’s true. And the reason is fairly simple, once you realize omega 3 is a powerful, antiinflammatory element. We’ve already learned that if you can reduce the swelling, you can reduce your pain. The most popular form of omega-3 fatty acids is through dietary supplements. But if you can receive it naturally, so much the better. So how much omega 3 should you sonsume? Dr. Carl Levie, the medical direct of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, recommends a minimum of 500 mg daily for a healthy individual. So what are the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids. The top 5 list of most abundant omega 3 foods follows. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Flax seeds Salmon and other cold-water fish Walnuts Soybeans and tofu Winter squash

If you can start improving your dietary lifestyle, then you may be able to alleviate some of your worst TMJ pain. Of course, dietary supplements for all of these nutrients abound. But the quality of your nutrients is vastly increased if you can receive your essential vitamins and minerals and even essential fatty acids through natural means – healthy foods. In the next chapter we deal with another critical factor in solving your TMJ pain: handling the stress in your life.

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Chapter Five: TMJ Disorders: Exercise. Really? The Healing Power of Exercise. It may not sound like a quick and easy “fix” to TMJ problems, but you’d be surprised at what type of exercise actually qualifies as beneficial. “Exercise? Really! Come on! You’ve got o be kidding me,” I heard myself saying to my naturopath physician. “What in the world does my level of activity have to do with a pain that starts in my jaw?” “Quite a bit, actually.” My physician reacted calmly to my tirade. Apparently, I wasn’t his first patient to react incredulously at his strong recommendation. Yes! As much as you may not want to hear it, exercise -- various types -- can go a long way to alleviating your pain. Among the most effective ones are those which directly affect your jaw. Right now, what we're talking about here are mild, but effective jaw exercises. These are designed with the aims of rehabilitating and strengthening your this area. Battling the Dreaded Clench Yes, there is a simple way to help stop clenching your teeth. But you have to be conscious first that the clenching is actually occurring. What's you've identified this then here's what you can do. First, make a "clucking" sound with your tongue. (Yeah, it sounds a little off the wall, but give it a try!) Maintain this pose with a slight pressure. Ensure your tongue isn't touching your teeth. Next, keep your lips together while at the same time your teeth are slightly set apart. Make sure your lower jaw is Relaxed. The next step in this practice is to breath in deeply through your nose. Every time you feel yourself clenching your teeth, perform this exercise.

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Knuckling Your Way To De-Clenching Take one of your knuckles and place it between your teeth. Rest for 50 seconds. Then gradually increase your comfortable jaw opening, take two knuckles, eventually building to three knuckles. Do this twice a day.

Make a Move to the Right The infamous "cluck" position is used in this simple exercise. Hold your tongue in this pose, placing your index fingers over your TMJ. This would be directly in front of the middle of your ears. Now you'll open and close your mouth. Stop if you begin to feel the ball of the joint moving forward. Don't allow your tongue leave your palate during this.

The Healing Stretching Of Your Shoulder This works, believe me. Pull your shoulder blades together and downward. Hold this pose for approximately 30 seconds. This helps you relax by improving your lung capacity and stretching your chest muscles.

Stretch Your Neck: Alleviate Your Pain Take your hands and clasp them behind your neck. Keeping your head straight, nod your head forward. The purpose of this movement stretches your tense neck and back muscles. But, (and you should have seen this one coming) physical exercise can easily be added to this routine. Not only will this help your TMJ pain, but it will contribute to improving your overall health. Let’s start with what many consider a gentle form of exercise and ease you into the concept. What’s that, you ask skeptically? Yoga. Yes, yoga. It may be infamous for its reputation of twisting you like a pretzel, but it’s also an excellent method of reducing stress. It, indeed, offers you a way to de-stress your entire body and to improve the flow of blood and breath into your life. Yoga expert Tias Little explains on his web site yogajournal.com that even general yoga poses can help relax your body. And there are specific poses that seem to be especially good at relieving.

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For example, when you sign up for a yoga class at your local YMCA, one of the poses you may be doing is called the Downward Facing Dog. This specifically brings blood flow into your head. In the process, it bathes the TMJ in not only a glorious and well need flow of blood, but also in the lymph flow too. Basically, this pose literally flushes blood both in and out of your jaw and face. The shoulder stand and the legs-up-the-wall poses are also two excellent methods to jumpstarting the flow of blood and lymph fluid to your jaw. But more than anything else, the key to de-stressing your body -- and what yoga helps you do -- is to breathe. This, more than anything, relaxes your jaw. Every move you learn in this ancient form has specific breathing instructions that are every bit as important to the proper execution of the activity as the physical postures. A good video or instruction book can help you learn these. But the best way, of course, is to discover a good instructor. The effort expended in the search as well as the class itself is well worth the effort in clearing your TMJ symptoms.

De-stressing with Tai Chi No, I’m not talking about the popular tea that Chai Tea (although it is an excellent drink!) Tai Chi is an ancient Eastern form of exercise that, like yoga, is carried out slowly and deliberately. At one time, it was hard for many individuals – especially those living in small towns – to experience it. But thankfully it’s gaining popularity and you can find classes right along side the yoga course you’re already taking. Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise (it really is!) and has been called by some “meditation in motion.” The Harvard Public Health publication, Health Beat, though says it could very easily be called “medication in motion.” Scientific evidence is now proving what thousands of years of practice already shown. This practice has great therapeutic value in not only treating, but also preventing many health problems – including TMJ pain and symptoms. But the real beauty of this activity: You can start today without needing to be in top physical form. Tai chi is not only low impact, but is a ”slow movement” activity. The concept is that you travel through a series of motions, many of them former martial arts movements, breathing deeply and naturally. Your attention is focused on the bodily sensations created during this activity. The movements you perform are overwhelmingly circular in nature and never forced. Your muscles, additionally, are relaxed, not tight and your joints are never fully extended.

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What To Expect From Your First Class It can be rather intimidating walking into a Tai Chi class for the first time. It’s highly likely you’ve never performed an exercise like Tai Chi before and you may even be fearful of some of the terms you may hear. Don’t even give this any thought. Once you enter the classroom you’ll discover an energy level that is not only inviting but energizing as well. Of course, if you have a general idea of what to expect you’re far less likely to procrastinate going to your first session. And the benefits to your TMJ pain and symptoms are so awesome, you really shouldn’t put this trip off much longer. You’ll start your Tai Chi session with a few warm up exercises. These are very easy motions to get you started. Some examples include shoulder circles, turning your head from one side to another and rocking back and forth. (I told you it was easy!) This is followed by what are called short forms – a form in Tai chi “language” is a set of movements. These may include a series of up to 12 movements at a time all fluidly following the other. He third and final segment of the class is the Qi Kong, translated as “breath work” or “energy work.” Don’t let the name intimidate you. It’s nothing more than a few minutes of gentle, directed breathing. It’s no unusual for this section to be combined with the movements themselves. That’s all there is to it. Not strenuous nor intimidating. I promise. Many individuals have not only found relieve from their TMJ pain, but have also improved their overall health through strengthening their muscles as well as improving their flexibility. But more than that many advocates and participants of Tai Chi contend it has helped in easing their arthritis pan and also controlled their hypertension sometimes without the use of prescription high blood pressure medication. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tai Chi’s seemingly miraculous healing powers.

Here’s The Part You Didn’t Want To Hear Yes, regular physical exercise – you know, walking, swimming, even golfing – can help you de-stress your life. If your doctor has told you that your TMJ symptoms are even partially caused by stress, then you owe it to yourself to reduce that stress – even if it means performing, dare I say . . . exercise!

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The good news is that the latest research reveals that any form of physical activity can help improve your reaction to and your management of stress. And don’t think that you have to start out big. Because that’s just not the case. If you haven’t exercised in a while – or really never embarked on a regular program before, you can still reap amazing benefits with a slow and steady approach. No doubt, you’re already well aware that physical activity of any type improves your overall health and even improves your mood. The most recent studies, in fact, reveal that exercising daily even for as little as 30 minutes a day, can be more effective at dispersing mental depression than prescription anti-depressants. Now even you have to admit that’s totally awesome. And regular exercise has no adverse side effects! Exactly through what mechanism does exercise perform these miraculous benefits of de-stressing? Physical activity literally changes the chemical composition of your body. Sustained regular exercise increases the amount of endorphins in your body, those neurotransmitters that are fondly called “feel-good” transmitters. You may know this effect as “runner’s high,” because many runners have experienced and talked excitedly about it. Exercise has also been called “meditation in motion.” And no it doesn’t only refer to Tai Chi. You activity could be as simple as walking or as vigorous as a good game of racquetball. You’ll discover as you get moving that the problems and pressures of the day slowly fade into the background. You discover that much like in the act of meditation you begin to center your attention focusing on what you’re doing. The result – increased energy and a more optimistic attitude – helps you to remain calm, centered and feeling in control!

Work Slowly Up To Your Goal Okay, so I’m going to use a cliché, but it definitely makes my point. A baby first learns to crawl before she can walk. And then she first walk on her own, she uses as many pieces of furniture to help her stay standing and walking. And so it is with you. If you haven’t performed regularly exercise in a while, don’t expect to jog five miles right way. Heck, when I started jogging, I had a difficult time jogging five steps in a row when I first started. I began by walking, and this is my advice to you. While you’re working up to your goal, don’t even worry about results. You’ll get the results even at the start. You’ll be amazed at the startling benefits. Not only that, but by easing into any activity, you’re much more likely to keep sustained interest in it.

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Speaking of staying with an activity, you need to give careful thought to the type of exercise you want to do. It would be difficult if not impossible to sustain a daily routine you don’t like the activity you’re performing. Instead of anticipating your exercise, you’d be dreading it. And quite frankly that would cause you even more stress.

Chapter Six: TMJ Disorders: Herbal and Home Remedies THE ULTIMATE HANDBOOK ON TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DISORDER

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Sometimes the most effective answers to health problems are the simplest. And if it doesn’t involve prescription medications or surgery, sometimes we tend to ignore these remedies. In this chapter we discover the simple answers that worked for others. Will they work for you? Only you can answer that question “You’ve got to be kidding me?” I asked my naturopath incredulously. He assured me that he was very serious about the advice he had just doled out to me. And what was that? To look seriously at some of the “home remedies” suggested for TMJ pain. “After all, other people are suggesting them because the ‘treatment’ obviously worked for them,” he told me patiently. “There’s no reason why you can’t find some natural means, in addition to herbal treatments that may work for you.” I walked out of his office stunned. But after careful consideration, I started surfing the net for home remedies. And the effectiveness and insight in some of these suggestions astounded me. To save you the hours upon hours of search time I spent collecting these gems of healing, I’m presenting what I consider are the most effective. Try them. If one doesn’t work for you toss it aside and go onto the next. If it does work, then claim it as your own. Additionally, this chapter has a few of the most effective herbal treatments for relieving the symptoms of TMJ. The ones presented are by no means a definitive treatment of the subject, but there are enough herbs listed to get you acquainted with them.

Moist Heat The moment you feel the pain from your TMJ disorder coming on, get a warm washcloth. Place it over the area that hurts. This will help to immediately reduce the pain. And it may just buy you a little time while any pain medications you may be taking kick in.

Massage Your Jaw Massage techniques in general are known to ease muscle spasms and offer a chance to relax – regardless of the location of your pain or tension. So, it’s really no surprise that you may be able to massage your TMJ pain away with an easy to perform technique.

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It’s called mandibular massage, involving a simple gentle form of massage over the areas around your jaw. This effectively relaxes the muscles, which may help to reduce your dependency on prescription medications for muscle relaxants. In addition to relaxing the muscles, this activity also helps to improve the flow of blood to the areas affected. Perform this massage several times a day The first step is to open your mouth, then rub the muscles near your ears with your forefinger. Use a circular motion, making a swirling motion on the muscles. Perform this activity first on one side and then another. Don’t be surprised if you discover this area is tender to the touch or even hurts. If there’s pain here, that’s exactly what you would expect to find. Continue massaging like this until you feel the muscles relaxing. Now close your mouth and repeat these steps. Once you’ve performed the massage with both your mouth open and close, you still have a few more steps to accomplish. Be sure your forefinger is clean. Using that clean finger, reach inside your mouth and find the sore muscles from the inside. You’ll perform the same massage steps from the inside of your mouth as you did on the outside. Next you’ll massage the muscles on both sides of your neck. No, these don’t control your jaw. But by relaxing these at the same time you’re soothing the others, you’re helping to reducing the tension on the jaw muscles as well.

Cool It! The Healing Power of Ice! Yes. Heat works well for easing the pain for some individuals. But don’t underestimate the healing power of ice. It works its wonders by easing the underlying inflammation. And that stubborn inflammation is the ultimate cause of the pain. The application of also works remarkably well as a natural muscle relaxant.

Hot or Cold? Why Choose? Why does it always have to be an “either or” world? Can’t decide which therapy is helping you most – the application of heat or the applying of ice? Who says you really have to choose? Combine these two techniques to harness the real natural power of both of them. Many TMJ sufferers have already discovered that these two methods create the perfect pain relief combinations. Apply heat to the affected area and keep it there for about 20

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minutes. Then apply a cold pack on the same area for about 10 minutes. Continue doing this until the pain eases.

Switch It Up? Change Your Habits For many individuals the ultimate cause of the jaw pain actually starts in other parts of the body. If you’re one of these individuals who’ve been told this, then you know exactly how this works. Sometimes it’s the smallest and most imperceptible habits which cause us the most pain. And this is exactly why we overlook these habits. It seems hard to believe that the way you hold your hands, hold your telephone or even carry your briefcase of backpack can causes pain in your mouth. But this may very well be the case. The simple act of resting your head on your hand may cause pain in your jaw. If you hold the telephone balanced between your ear and your shoulder, you may consider this as a possible cause of your TMJ problems. For others, it’s an overloaded, heavy briefcase or backpack. Review some of your habits. Could these be the cause of your TMJ pain? The best way to discover this is to eliminate one habit at a time for at least a week to see if your pain eases at all. If it does – BINGO! – you’ve found the cause of your pain. Now, it’s just a matter of changing your habits.

Clench Your Teeth While You’re Awake? Many individuals do this unconsciously. It seems to be an almost universal response to stress. Many of us, working in offices with tight daily deadlines find ourselves clenching our teeth in response to the pressure. Once we become aware of this our next question is: I wonder how long I’ve been doing this? Here’s a quick and easy way to kick the clenching habit. Hold a cork between your teeth. Yes! This small, harmless item effectively keeps your upper and lower teeth apart – thus eliminating the pain involved in the clenching.

Visualize Your Pain Away! How naïve is that you say! Right! Well, before you dismiss this suggestion and go on to the next, you might want to try it just once. It’s called guided imagery and has been used with great effectiveness for many individuals.

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You’ll want to find a comfortable, quiet and above all a private location. Wherever you choose to visualize, be sure you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes. Take several deep breaths. Now, here come the nuts and bolts of this exercise. Imagine yourself in your favorite surrounding. It could be a beach, a mountain hideaway, or even along a flower-lined country lane. You choose the one place in the entire world that you equate with a relaxing time. As you visualize this scene begin also to imagine exactly how relaxing it would be. Imagine exactly what you think you would see, hear and feel. Go ahead. If you’re on a beach, envision yourself walking barefoot on the sand. What do your toes feel like as the sand plays between them? Next, begin to speak to yourself. Remind yourself that there’s not a single task that needs your attention right now, there’s no errands to run and no one is demanding any of your time. In short, absolutely nothing else is demanding your time. Visualize this scenario for approximately ten minutes – yes, you may have to work up to this amount of time. Sit back and enjoy your time alone for as long as you can. To leave your private place, simply take a few deep breaths. Slowly open your eyes. You’ll probably find yourself feeling immensely refreshed and unusually relaxed. Congratulations!

Ever hear of Progressive Muscle Relaxation? If not, there’s no time like the present to learn about it. In fact, the sooner you discover this secret to easing tight and tense muscles, the sooner you’ll be on your way to longlasting pain relief. It’s really quite simple – and effective. You simply relax you muscles in an orderly manner, one group at a time. You may want to start with your legs, for example. Purposely tighten them, hold them for several seconds like this, then relax them. After this choose a different set of muscles until you’ve performed this exercise on all your muscle groups. It goes without saying that you’ll eventually do the same with your jaw muscles. Many individuals perform this progressive muscle relaxation routine while they’re lying in bed to help them sleep.

Peppermint, Anyone? Some individuals find great relief by rubbing peppermint on their temples and forehead. Be careful though not to get this in your eyes. It may be a natural substance, bit if it gets into your eyes, it really will burn.

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You may also find relief by rubbing lavender oil directly onto the affected areas as well. It’s known as a soothing natural substance. A Few Choice Herbs There are many choices when it comes to herbal remedies. Choosing the best may be difficult. You can take most of the guess work out of deciding which herbal treatment to use simply by consulting a licensed herbal consultant. He can tell you which herbs and in what manner you should use herbs. And, as always, if you’re using herbal supplements or herbs of any kind with the purpose of improving your TMJ pain, let your prescribing medical physician know. If you’re taking any prescription drugs, he may want to either adjust them or eliminate them. So what herbs work at helping to ease TMJ pain?

Skullcap This herb with a unique sounding name, is native to North America and is legendary in effectively relieving many of the symptoms and side effects associated with TMJ. First and foremost it’s a natural method of re-invigorating your central nervous system. Don’t think that’s important? This seemingly irrelevant action may be the premiere approach to relieving that night time habit of clenching your teeth. But that’s not its only benefit. Skullcap possesses an abundance of antioxidant flavonoids. These work on your system by reducing the very inflammation which triggers pain. If you’re using antidepressants as part of your conventional TMJ treatment, as many persons do, please do not take skullcap.

Feverfew You might already be familiar with this natural cure for migraine headaches. Whether you’re actually used it or just read about its amazing abilities, you need to re-examine it in light of your TMJ symptoms. It’s without a doubt, a tremendous natural antiinflammatory. If you’re currently taking any form of blood thinning medication don’t take feverfew.

Lavender This sweet aromatic herb certainly is beautiful, but don’t let appearances fool you. In addition to its beauty and sweet scent, lavender also offers a mighty power to relieve even the toughest of pain. It is indeed a powerhouse as a healing herb. It’s most

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valuable benefit as many will testify lies in its ability to sooth your system. It is, indeed, a tremendous natural tonic for your nervous system.

Conclusion: Making Peace With Your Body Three months into my new, natural game plan of living, I visited my natural health care provider again. This time the visit was different –vastly different. Instead of rolling my eyes and stiffening up at the thought of being “prescribed” exercise for my pain, I rambled on about the many benefits exercise had. I extolled the virtues of proper eating habits and praised natural supplements. “Look at me!” I exclaimed triumphantly, rising from my chair. “Look at all the weight I’ve lost. I can move again. I have more energy, less headaches. But the best part is those symptoms you said were directly caused by my TMJ disorder, they’re gone! All gone! And if I have a say in it, they’ll never come back.”

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He smiled slightly, looked me over well, and then said, “You have the biggest and loudest say on whether those symptoms will return. And I’m guessing you won’t allow them.” Originally, I had titled the conclusion “TMJ Disorders: Nothing Less Than a Major Assault.” But then I realized that really wasn’t how I dealt with my pain. Instead of attacking the disorders, I actually quite literally made peace with my body. The pain, you see, was just a method – one of the few methods available to it – of telling me something was wrong. I listened to what it said. I then took steps to please it. Was my body saying it needed more activity? Very likely it was. I evaluated my lifestyle. How much exercise did I really receive? If my system needed more exercise, then I better give it what it wants! What else did my body crave that prior to my epiphany I was just too blind to realize? I certainly hope you found what your body craves in this book. If you did then your pain is well on the path to a delightful healing journey. Not only that, but by using some of the tips . . . tricks and techniques found inside this book, you’ve probably created a better body in general. Of course, the best aspect of this healthier self is the ability to live without TMJ pain. Click the button below to get some more usefull Information and get rid of TMJ

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what is tmj and 5 Ways to Manage TMJ Pain with Therapy  

A guide to the treatment and pain associated with TMJ including how to find the right doctor for you

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