Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Onto a New Theory...

I can't seem to pinpoint a real link between excess sugar/caffeine and my headaches. So my new theory is maybe it's TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) causing the headaches. I never knew TMJ could cause so many problems. I had braces that helped to correct a big overbite when I was younger, so I guess I thought my teeth must've been perfect afterward :-) It seems that isn't so. I haven't helped things any by failing to wear my retainer at night either..for the last couple years. I've had many symptoms over the years that I didn't connect together, much like I didn't connect my acromegaly symptoms.

TMJ symptoms/contributing factors: bruxism (grinding teeth), malocclusion (misalignment of teeth), head/neck/shoulder aches, clicking in jaw, inability to open jaw as wide as before, ear problems (feeling of fullness/muffled hearing - my hubby thinks I'm going deaf because I turn the tv volume so loud!), dizziness, feeling of jaw "catching", stress, bad posture, jaw pain (when pressure applied)

I didn't think I could have TMJ since I don't have noticeable jaw pain, even though I have all of the other symptoms! I didn't realize head/neck/shoulder aches could be caused by TMJ. Or that it could be aggravated by stress. I did think it was interesting that when I have slight headaches, and I've pressed on my upper jaw, sometimes the headache seems to lessen.

I was prompted to see my dentist this time by the fact that no matter how careful I chew, my teeth keep biting the skin inside my mouth and my tongue causing painful canker sores. I'd never had one on the tongue before and I can say it is very, very painful! I've also developed sores from my teeth rubbing against my mouth while I sleep! I decided it was time to get my teeth in alignment again and also ask about the TMJ. She referred me to an oral surgeon who confirmed the diagnosis.

The acromegaly has caused my lower jaw to push forward so far that the oral surgeon said I'm a class 3 malocclusion (I believe I've got that right!). He said my case isn't really bad yet, so that's good! I now need to have a night guard (or splint) made by my dentist, then I need to see my orthodonist to see if he can do anything to help with the alignment of my teeth. The oral surgeon suggested I try to manage the TMJ by trying not to clench my jaw, cutting my food into small pieces or trying a softer diet for a while, avoiding stress, etc. I could handle a milkshake/smoothie diet :-D Hopefully I'll have found the answer to my problems!