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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000933.txt from 1999/04

From: Neil Leupold <>
Subj: Re: [kl] TMJ treatment and playing
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:09:11 -0400

On Wed, 21 Apr 1999, Cheryl wrote:

> I have just been diagnosed with TMJ and have to have treatment (being
> fitted with an appliance) over the summer due to the migraines that are
> occuring. I will not be able to play for a couple of months as they are
> "unlearning" the habits that my muscles have learned over the years and are
> retraining them afterwards.

I'm curious: with what "appliance" are you being fitted to
treat your TMJ? What type of doctor are you seeing? I've
had a couple of bouts with the problem, and went to a chiro-
practor the first time to deal with it. After a number of
adjustments and ultrasound treatments, the problem was great-
ly reduced. I learned to relax my jaw during the day, and
particularly to consciously rest my tongue flat on the
bottom of my mouth. I don't know why this had an effect
on the pain, but whenever the disorder set in, laying my
tongue down on the bottom of my mouth helped a lot. It
was something I stumbled upon and used to potent effect.

The way it was exlained to me, TMJ syndrome is the result
of a slight displacement of one or both joints which connect
the jawbone to the skull. These are the temporo mandibular
joints, hence the name of the disorder. There is apparently
a large concentration of nerve endings at those meeting points
between the jaw and the skull, resulting in potentially extreme
pain when either or both joints come out of proper alignment.
In my case, the problem may have been compounded -- if not
outright caused -- by stiff bones and muscles in my neck
(the result of an auto accident 7 or 8 years ago). Thus,
I make sure to have my neck adjusted periodically. I've
been told that the stiffness is uncommon for somebody my
age (pushing 30), but understandable following the accident.

Cheryl, you might consider consulting a chiropractor in
order to ensure that a neck or spinal problem isn't contrib-
uting to the problems you're having with your jaw. I can
not speak directly to your concerns about playing, because
my playing was not affected in any way by the disorder. I
was surprised and thankful to discover that.


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