Those who suffer from TMJ Disorder (temporo mandibular jaw disorder) a condition once thought to be relatively rare but increasingly recognized now as a fairly common complaint, know how debilitating this condition can be. Having TMJD affects every facet of one’s life.
TMJD Affects Millions
Far more individuals suffer from TMJ Disorder than people realize. It's difficult to get an exact count, because many people don’t develop severe cases, so they don’t always seek medical attention.
Some estimate, however, that there are upwards of 50,000,000 people who suffer from this painful condition. For some, the disorder is fleeting and temporary, for others it is truly debilitating, affecting every part of their lives.
Not only is one’s ability to chew food affected, although the pain involved in simply trying to eat is, for most sufferers, depressing enough, but TMJD affects one’s personal life in ways that most non-sufferers never realize.
Eating with friends, dinner parties, restaurant outings – these can all be insurmountable events and occasions the TMJD sufferer may not be able to participate in, but this is only the beginning.
TMJD Affects One’s Personal Life
Another ugly fact is that TMJD can dramatically impact one’s personal life. Every activity from sleeping to sexual activity can be unrelentingly painful. Even kissing can be verboten to the truly afflicted sufferer.
The pressure on one’s jaw joint(s) can be unbearable if trying to sleep on the affected side. Unfortunately, for some people both sides of the jaw are wracked with pain, and even the slightest pressure becomes excruciatingly painful.
Physical activities may need to be greatly curtailed or eliminated. Even something as simple as gardening may need to be eliminated because of the necessity of bending one’s head over.
Again, the pressure on the jaw just from the slightest pull of gravity can cause tremendous pain. People find they must give up any activity and hobby entirely if participation involves putting the head in a position where the jaw feels the least amount of pressure or weight.
Even talking on the phone, or talking at all, can cause pain.
Medical Intervention Offers Limited Hope
Medical treatment is a hit and miss option for most sufferers. Indeed, this may be one affliction for which one might be better off not seeking medical care. Statistically, the vast majority of TMJ Disorder cases will self-resolve given time and a softer diet; however, there is a staggering number of people for whom this simple regimen is not successful.
Unfortunately, the irreversible procedures offered by doctors and dentists often result in one being worse off, if that’s even possible, after surgery than before. Some do achieve relief from these drastic measures.
Even if one’s TMJ case self-resolves, however, most people find they must remain vigilant about what they eat and must avoid tough, chewy foods lest they stress this jaw joint again. One may actually never be fully recovered from this condition.
There are books available to help people with this painful condition. You Can Conquer TMJ: Ideas and Recipes (Moonlight Mesa Associates) was written by a person who actually had TMJD. The author offers helpful suggestions for dealing with many facets of it, along with a plethora of easy-to-cook, easy-to-chew recipes.