The latter part of my university days and the first few years of living in Ottawa were especially bad. I've sought treatment for my pain and discomfort a few times. However, I've since come to figure out that unfortunately fixing a TMJ disorder isn't as easy as one might think. In fact I've come to realize that my jaw will never be the way I want it to be – and all I want is for it to open and close with out moving laterally and making all kinds of cracking/scratching/grating noises.
As an aside, consider yourself schooled that jaw problems are not called TMJ. TMJ is just the physical joint where your skull, specifically the temporal bone, and the jaw, also called the mandible, are joined. TMD, or temporomandibular (joint) disorders, are the "issues".
- I've had a few mouth guards, but the one I have now (and for the last 5 or more years) I wear on my lower teeth. When I first I got wore it all the time (because it's on the lower teeth it doesn't really interfere with talking, etc) to teach my facial muscles to relax and not let my teeth touch when in a relaxed state
- Infrared treatments - not sure why this was recommended, it was so long ago now, but it was part of my treatment plan
- Physiotherapy, which also included acupuncture treatments and ultrasound treatments - this was the turning point in moving forward
- Chiropractic adjustments on my jaw - this is part of my ongoing maintenance
- Massage therapy, and this week I'm trying acupuncture treatments via my massage therapist - again part of my ongoing maintenance
It's an ongoing battle. I've managed to see a vast improvement. I'm no longer always in pain and my jaw rarely locks open/closed any more. And to me that's significant relief. However, my jaw still makes about six different crack/scratch/grating noises upon opening and about the same when closing – lovely, eh?
In the meantime you must take a peek at Meghan Telpner's blog, who is the one giving away the gum, I read it everyday. Very fun, nourishing mind/body/soul stuff.