Dealing With TMJ

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mlshermancpa
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Dealing With TMJ

Post by mlshermancpa »

For about 4 months now I have been dealing with TMJ. I play lead in a few Big Bands and have found that I've lost every note above high C#. At first I thought it was a problem with my warm-up but now I believe that my jaw has shifted and that is the issue. It's very frustrating. Has anyone ever dealt with this problem?

I should have mentioned that I'm currently playing a Bach 8 bone with a Bach 11 mouthpiece.
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by Doug Elliott »

There are many possible reasons for the trouble you're having. I do lessons by Skype if you want some real advice.

I had TMJ issues - locking and popping - for many years. It eventually went away by itself. One dentist told me to wait and see, which is what I did. Another told me I should immediately spend a lot of money treating it.
AndrewMeronek
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by AndrewMeronek »

I have had some jaw pain and popping. My dentist gave me a mouth insert to wear while I sleep. It has helped.
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biggiesmalls
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by biggiesmalls »

I think a good first step would be to take a lesson with Doug to make sure that your mouthpiece choice and basic playing mechanics aren't potential sources of your jaw tension.

Through my own experiences dealing with this issue, I've come to believe that TMJ is perhaps best viewed not as an isolated affliction, but rather a symptom of other unresolved issues negatively affecting the mind and body (psychological and/or physical stress, improper body mechanics, etc.).

When I was experiencing TMJ a decade ago, I was dealing with psychological stress (dying parents, employment and financial insecurities, etc.). I mostly carried that stress in my shoulders, but then it crept up into my jaw, and the resulting tensions had a debilitating effect on my playing.

Even after my life situation stabilized and became less stressful, the shoulder and jaw tensions remained; it was as though my mind and body had learned to perceive this tension as "the new normal," and my playing continued to suffer.

Then a friend introduced me to Alexander Technique, which over a period of a few months greatly reduced the tensions I had been harboring in my neck and jaw, which in turn allowed my playing to become much more relaxed, efficient, and enjoyable.

From Wiki:

"The Alexander Technique is used as a therapy for stress-related chronic conditions. It does not attempt to cure the underlying cause, but to teach people how to avoid bad habits which might exacerbate their condition. The Technique is used as an alternative treatment to improve both voice and posture for people in the performing arts. As of 1995 it was on the curriculum of prominent Western performing arts institutions."

There are several Alexander Technique tutorials on YouTube that specifically target TMJ. If you find these helpful, consider seeking out a local Alexander Technique practitioner to work with.

Best of luck resolving your issues!
Last edited by biggiesmalls on Sat Jan 21, 2023 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mlshermancpa
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:01 am

Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by mlshermancpa »

Doug Elliott wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:56 pm There are many possible reasons for the trouble you're having. I do lessons by Skype if you want some real advice.

I had TMJ issues - locking and popping - for many years. It eventually went away by itself. One dentist told me to wait and see, which is what I did. Another told me I should immediately spend a lot of money treating it.
Thanks for the response. My dentist referred me to a specialist in Phoenix. Unforuntely, the specialist gets poor reviews so I'm going to hold off on expensive treatment for the time being. I'll get back to you on a lesson.
mlshermancpa
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by mlshermancpa »

biggiesmalls wrote: Sat Jan 21, 2023 8:28 am I think a good first step would be to take a lesson with Doug to make sure that your mouthpiece choice and basic playing mechanics aren't potential sources of your jaw tension.

Through my own experiences dealing with this issue, I've come to believe that TMJ is perhaps best viewed not as an isolated affliction, but rather a symptom of other unresolved issues negatively affecting the mind and body (psychological and/or physical stress, improper body mechanics, etc.).

When I was experiencing TMJ a decade ago, I was dealing with psychological stress (dying parents, employment and financial insecurities, etc.). I mostly carried that stress in my shoulders, but then it crept up into my jaw, and the resulting tensions had a debilitating effect on my playing.

Even after my life situation stabilized and became less stressful, the shoulder and jaw tensions remained; it was as though my mind and body had learned to perceive this tension as "the new normal," and my playing continued to suffer.

Then a friend introduced me to Alexander Technique, which over a period of a few months greatly reduced the tensions I had been harboring in my neck and jaw, which in turn allowed my playing to become much more relaxed, efficient, and enjoyable.

From Wiki:

"The Alexander Technique is used as a therapy for stress-related chronic conditions. It does not attempt to cure the underlying cause, but to teach people how to avoid bad habits which might exacerbate their condition. The Technique is used as an alternative treatment to improve both voice and posture for people in the performing arts. As of 1995 it was on the curriculum of prominent Western performing arts institutions."

There are several Alexander Technique tutorials on YouTube that specifically target the underlying causes of TMJ. If you find these helpful, consider seeking out a local Alexander Technique practitioner to work with.

Best of luck resolving your issues!
Thanks for the response. I'm going to check out YouTube.
2bobone
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by 2bobone »

This post seems like a good place to throw in a thought ------ .
A while back there was a discussion about forum members who made use of a CPAP [Constant Positive Air Pressure] device while sleeping. I am one of those users. The idea of clamping your facial muscles in a mask tightly enough to contain this air pressure has never settled well with me. Regardless of the type of mask [Full Face - Nasal Pillow - etc.] there are always pressure points that you unconsciously accommodate to maintain the necessary seal of the mask. I think that it causes facial tension that can manifest itself in the jaw and even in our embouchures. Hours of this accommodation can add up to not only a displacement of facial structure, but tremors as well, as these structures seek to readjust themselves during the daytime hours. "Mishermancpa" didn't mention the use of a CPAP, but if he does use one it would be wise to consider its hidden effects on all facial musculature.......... Many years ago I had a period with TMJ and had a dentist suggest scraping the joints to improve the fit. I made an embouchure change from a tendency to protrude my lower jaw to one without stress and never looked back. It worked !
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by Doug Elliott »

I absolutely LOVE my full face CPAP. When I found the right size there's no need to create tension to seal it, and I fall asleep immediately. Which is sort of what I used to do all day, before I got it.

Tried the nasal pillow style but it doesn't work for me at all.
MTbassbone
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by MTbassbone »

Doug Elliott wrote: Sat Jan 21, 2023 11:49 am I absolutely LOVE my full face CPAP. When I found the right size there's no need to create tension to seal it, and I fall asleep immediately. Which is sort of what I used to do all day, before I got it.

Tried the nasal pillow but it doesn't work for me at all.
Full face mask that covers you nose and mouth or the full full mask like this: https://cpapx.com/products/fitlife-tota ... sAEALw_wcB
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by Doug Elliott »

Wow, that's hardcore.

No, I use this in the medium size:
https://www.thecpapshop.com/fisher-payk ... face-masks

I also recently got a ResMed AirMini for travel, and it's amazingly small and effective. Uses a different mask that's a little smaller.
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BGuttman
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Re: Dealing With TMJ

Post by BGuttman »

Everyone's different. I hated the full-face like Doug uses and prefer pillows. Whatever works for you.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
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