Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The other morning, I woke up having this sore feeling in my right cheek. Actually, it’s not the cheek but the joint that connects my jaw to my skull – the Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ. It was a bit of surprise then but not so much. I’ll explain that bit later.

This morning when I woke up, my TMJ is still sore. People close to me know that I worry too much when it comes to uncommon things happening to my body. I tend to think the worst and so I cannot help but attempt to self-diagnose myself through research.

The easiest and fastest way to look for answers was to use the Internet, of course. I found sites that talk about dull pain in the jaw and it led me to sites that talk about Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction/syndrome. After reading the symptoms and the causes, I felt that this was the problem I have.

When I was around 10 or so years of age, I remember having this bad habit of “grinding” (for lack of a better word) my left and/or right jaw until I hear a click sound. Sort of like the equivalent of cracking your knuckles except I do this with my TMJ.

It wasn’t really painful to “crack” the jaw. It’s about as painful as cracking one’s knuckles which wasn’t. So thinking nothing of it, I kept on doing it for a while.

Over the years, I stopped cracking my left jaw but continued cracking my right jaw. I noticed that the right side of my head (where my right TMJ is) is protruding more than the left. At the time, I tried to stop cracking my right jaw. Of course, the operative word here is “tried.” I tried and failed.

At around the early 1990’s I started to have this odd thing going on with my jaw. Whenever I yawn, my right jaw would lock momentarily but I was always able to close my mouth again but not after a loud clicking sound (which really grosses out Raquel, I might add).

I stopped cracking my right jaw then. I was thinking that this is my punishment for cracking my jaw all these years. But then at around 1995, I started feeling pain from my right TMJ. That made me real worried.

I visited my dentist aunt to have my jaw problem examined. She didn’t really tell me what the problem was but she did tell me what the possible solution was. I had to wear braces to adjust my bite or something like that.

The pain stopped some time after the braces were put into place. The pain did not return even after the braces were removed a year later. It apparently cured my yawn-jaw-lock combo problem then.

However it wasn’t long before I suffered my first yawn-jaw-lock problem after the braces were removed. Well, at least it didn’t hurt so I didn’t mind. But after that, every time I needed to yawn, chances were, I’m going to have this jaw-lock-click issue.

What I did to avoid the jaw-lock-click was to stifle the yawn. But sometimes, I just can’t stifle it and so, jaw-lock-CLICK!

I didn’t mind it too much still because it wasn’t causing me any pain or anything. Except last year, right after a jaw-lock-click incident, my TMJ became painful. I got worried then but not too much because the next day the pain was gone.

It’s not the case this time. Two days in a row and the pain remained. Raquel suggested I let it rest for a while by not chewing gum and chewing on my fingers. If the pain doesn’t disappear by itself in two more days then I should see a doctor about it. Wait and see.

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Published in: on February 3, 2005 at 5:47 pm  Comments (2)  

Worst storm since 1856

The howling wind and pouring rain yesterday is now one for the record books. Melbourne woke up in the aftermath of the biggest downpour since 1856, when they started recording weather conditions. Airports were closed, trains delayed or cancelled, trams stopped in their tracks as their electricity got cut off, trees and electric posts fell down, houses and cars damaged and streets were flooded as rivers overflowed. In short, there was chaos everywhere.

Well, good thing we weren’t affected too much by the passing of this storm. Except from getting jostled around in the packed train on the way to work and having to walk 3 train stations on the way home (the train we normally take wasn’t running until 1.5 hours later), we’re okay. The car and the apartment looks okay and the streets around our neighborhood wasn’t flooded at all. There was no electrical interruptions, thus allowing us to be comfortable in our heated rooms as temperatures outside drop.

They’ve predicted rains for both today and tomorrow but I didn’t see a drop of rain today. The sun was even peeking out of the clouds as we walked home. Looks like summer is here again.

Published in: on February 3, 2005 at 11:32 am  Comments Off on Worst storm since 1856  

10,000 steps

The wind’s blowing outside and rain has been pouring down since yesterday. The rain is a welcome relief from the high temperatures we’ve been having several days ago, bringing much needed rain to our dams. Hopefully this would end the drought that has affected many areas here in Australia for more than a year now.

However, as it’s impossible to go out for several minutes without getting drenched, it also means that we have to forgo our daily stroll in our bid to lose weight. In fact, my pedometer registers only 6,626 steps today.

If you’re not familiar with the 10,000 steps regime, it’s a program that’s designed to encourage people to regularly exercise in order to manage their weight. I first heard of this program last year when the National Heart Foundation launched an ad campaign to promote it.

This program to beat obesity by doing the 10,000 steps a day routine is not unique to Australia. It has been launched in several parts of the world so you may have already heard of it. What’s not commonly known though is that the 10,000 steps a day recommendation is only for the maintenance of your current weight. Some sites claim that 10,000 steps is enough for weight loss but maybe they’re referring to the weight you’re supposed to gain yearly if you’re not doing the 10,000 steps (or any other exercise for that matter).

If you intend to lose weight like me, you’d have to do more. Meaning my 6,626 steps just doesn’t cut it. Good thing we have a stationary bike at home and I could just use that and try to make up for the missing number of steps according to this FAQ from Shape Up America.

Also, I think I’d like to get myself a better pedometer. I’d like my new one to have a cover so that I don’t accidentally reset the counter. It has happened to me several times already with my current pedometer that I sometimes wonder why I bother putting it on in the morning. I’m also looking for improved accuracy (perhaps a model that takes my stride length in consideration would be better)?

Maybe one of these models would hit the spot. Or maybe I should just buy the National Heart Foundation’s pedometer and save myself from a lot of possible grief. However, at $49.95 a pop, it’s not exactly cheap. On the other hand, I think it beats the costly gym membership hands down. Now, if only it would stop raining…

Published in: on February 3, 2005 at 1:41 am  Leave a Comment