I recommend you get a referral to a well-rated oral and maxillofacial specialist who specializes in TMJ- hopefully they will order an MRI to check on the discs as well as a panorex of your joints (x-ray) if they think it's more than inflammation and causing the difficulty w/opening (which is likely with your jaw popping in and out of place).
Thanks for replying, I'm gonna wait until I get my heart sorted out but thanks again :) -on bad days, any ideas for temporary relief?
Yes- and some of these suggestions are for more than just the bad days (such as the soft diet, for example):
A) Soft diet, avoiding nuts unless you crush them to powder or eat nut butter, raw carrots, chewing gum, chewy candy, granola bars, steak, and anything else that takes a lot of chewing
B) Making a conscious effort to relax the muscles in your face,
use moist heat (or not, if that gives you a migraine/headache),
C) Use a wrap around ice pak (velcro cover to keep it on in either the position of a mumps handkerchief of olden days or wrapped around in the position a gag making sure it covers your jaws, but covering your mouth unlike a gag.
D) Avoid singing, talking, or chewing too much
E) Keep slack-jawed, avoiding bringing or clenching your teeth together
F) If it's alright with your doctor- be sure and ask you cardiologist, take 600 mg of ibuprofen for inflammation when the pain is extra bad, but cyclic would likely be a bad idea (without even asking your doctor) right now with your heart problem, as ibuprofen can increase risk of heart attack, I believe.
Alternatively, try a couple extra strength tylenol over the counter medication when the pain is bad. And if the doctor will prescribe it for you and you have trouble sleeping with the pain, some diazepam for relaxing the muscles.
G) Avoid laying on your sides or leaning your face on your hand,
H) Try to practice good posture, and put two fingers on your chin when you yawn to try to prevent your mouth from opening too wide
Thanks a million for all your suggestions, i'll definitely try them out! I won't be able to take the ibuprofen as I'm allergic to anti- inflamatorys, but I'll let you know how I go with the rest, thanks again!
Well, that definitely is a reason not to bother your doctor with asking about ibuprofen! That's too bad, because when I was first told I had osteoarthritis in my jaw joints (could hardly open my mouth at the time), I was told ibuprofen was the drug of choice for TMJ. I have issues of my own with too much ibuprofen, so while I take it cyclically occasionally when things get really bad, sometimes I take it occasionally or opt for acetaminophen extra strength (and at times w/my prescribed diazepam).
Another thought, besides not wanting to open your mouth too wide with yawning, not opening to wide to bite into food is another suggestion. I had a physical therapist who suggested I cut up my pears rather than biting into them.
My first major TMJ episode (years ago), I opened my mouth too wide eating. I wish I had known then that I should not only make temporary adjustments to my eating, but permanent.
It really is the small things in life huh? Trying to cut back on my chewing gum habit too! The thumb under chin one has been handy as a reminder not to open my mouth so wide-although the pain usually stops that first :L -on a totally different subject matter do you think tmj and arthritis are linked?