Remember that time when you stubbed your toe as a kid? The time you sprained your ankle during a high school basketball game? How about years ago when you had to have your appendix removed in an emergency surgery? Some injuries we may have forgotten, like stubbing your toe, others we don’t think about because we have moved on. These injuries happened years ago and are in the past. So how could an injury so long ago cause a problem today?
In our clinic, it is common for our patients to say things like ‘I didn’t do anything to hurt myself I just woke up with the pain’ or ‘my back pain came out of nowhere.’ There was no traumatic accident or memorable event that caused the pain. Most of the time the pain is due to repetitive stress. These stresses can be obvious. Imagine a person who washes windows for a living. They do the same motion with their arm over and over, year after year. That’s a lot of stress on that shoulder. But sometimes repetitive stress is not so obvious.
Do you feel like your pain will never go away? Have you suffered so long that your pain has become a burden you will just have to carry? Many people feel just like you, and these feelings are amplified from having tried so many things that failed. Painkillers just cover up the pain, hot packs give you a few minutes of relief, massages are not working, and that brace – well you are tired of wearing it. But worst of all is that you have tried physical therapy and it did not work – it left you feeling even more desperate for a solution.
That’s a tough situation. Honestly, it may seem like you will have to live with the pain forever and maybe it’s time to give up and just live with it. But what if there is something you can do for it? What is it, you ask? Well, it’s physical therapy! Now, I know what you are thinking. You just said it didn’t work. But, wait one second, what if your first taste of pizza was from a slice you made from the frozen section of your local grocery store? Would you vow to never eat pizza again even when you were in New York City?
We’re not asking you to believe us right away, though we have proof! Take a look below at ,,,, reasons why your previous physical therapy/sessions didn’t work.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is pain located at the jaw joint or in muscles that move the jaw. Issues with the TMJ issues can contribute to headaches and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Pain in the jaw can become so uncomfortable that opening and closing the mouth can become intolerable. You might find yourself ‘eating’ your meals through a straw.
You might even experience a ‘click’ when you open and close the jaw. There is a soft cartilaginous disc that sits in the joint. When your jaw deviates or moves out of alignment the disc can be displaced causing the ‘click.’ This can be a painful and require treatment, but often there are no symptoms. ‘Clicking’ and ‘grating’ is common. Sometimes your jaw can become ‘locked’ which occurs when the disc that sits between the jaw and skull gets stuck.
While the joint itself is often an issue you may only have pain because of the muscles that surround the jaw. These are strong muscles along your jaw and on the side of your head that are often a culprit in head and face pain. You might find these muscles are tender to the touch and massaging them provides temporary relief.
Head, neck, and shoulder pain and stiffness are symptoms that may be due to issues with the TMJ. Migraine headaches. Pain in the eyes and ears. Tinnitus or ‘ringing in the ears.’ A painful tongue. These are all additional symptoms that might occur with TMJ syndrome.
But how does someone get jaw pain?
You go to your doctor complaining about your back. You tell him you have back and leg pain. The doctor asks you if you have any numbness or tingling sensations and you say “yes, it’s annoying.” The doctor orders an X-ray and then tells you the results…you have spinal stenosis. You are given pain medication and told to rest. You schedule a follow up appointment in four weeks.
The above scenario is common. We have heard the same story hundreds of times. Our patients come to us because they want to resolve their pain naturally, without pain medications. Spinal stenosis is a typical diagnosis for back pain in an older adult. Stenosis means ‘narrowing’ and the holes of the vertebrae where the spinal nerves exit become smaller. When there is less room for the nerves to move they can become irritated or even compressed. Often if you can give the nerves a little more room the pain and irritation will go away.
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.