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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000227.txt from 1997/12

From: Sally A Braun <>
Subj: Re: Advice for TMJ?
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 17:52:57 -0500

> Hi! I was wondering if anyone out there has TMJ or knows any musicians
> who do and what they have done to allieviate their pain. I am a junior in
> college and play in Woodwind Quintet, Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble. With
> practice time and all, I play MANY hours a day. THis causes me much pain
> and makes playing very difficult on some days. My clarinet teacher does
> not know anyone with this, but he has been working with my embouchure to
> help relieve the pressure placed on my jaw while playing. I started
> playing double lip about a month ago and this has helped some.
> I have also been to see a specialist. I am taking pain killers, doing
> excercises, and will be getting splints (appliances) to wear in January.
> But, I was just curious if any of you might have this and any suggestions
> you may have to help my playing. I would really appreciate any advice!
> Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,
I too suffer from TMJ. It was discovered a couple of years after my
braces were removed (I was a senior in high school) I the dentist I
was seeing thought the clarinet was making it worse. He seemed to
think that the braces were the cause since I now do not have a bite.
My teeth were moved in such a fashion that I have a hard time eatting
food that requires biting, and to do so I have to move my lower jaw so
far forward that the jaw joint has to dislocate. The is what the
dentist told me anyway. I messed with it for a year or so because of
the discomfort and even wore a special plate all the time and played
percussion in the fall! But that was 10 years ago. I outgrew that
mouth piece a long time ago and have had some relasps, but I am
convinced that proper playing of the clarinet has nothing to do with
it. The jaw should be relaxed. In my case, because of all the tension
in my jaw, I had some trouble, but I now play clarinet pain free. I do
were a guard at night because of the stresses of college and life
in general I clench my teeth while I sleep. The guard keeps my teeth
separted just enough to prevent that joint from dislocating. The thing
about TMJ is that is is a catch all type of thing. If your jaw hurts,
they call it TMJ. What causes it could be a million different things.

Sally A. Braun
1210 Wells Court #10
Lincoln, NE 68505

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