Not seeking medical advice, just medical anecdotes. I’ve been diagnosed a long time ago, and know that the actual path I take is a decision I can only make in consultation with appropriate medical personnel.
About thirty years or so ago, when my brother and I were wee lads, we were wrasslin’ as young brothers do. I still have vivid memories of one particular day. I had this thing I’d do if I (the little brother) could get the advantage. I’d put my hands on his face and push down hard … “Mach 1” I’d cry! and simulate G-forces pushing his face back. If I was lucky enough to keep him pinned: “Oh my god, he’s hit Mach 10!” and so on, upping in a cartoonish fashion the speeds he was travelling at and would try and similarly distort his face, ending up in some rather physics-bending and face-contorting speeds. Brothers. Hilarity.
Then one day RhythmBrother (who generally had his own creative torments) thought to do the same thing. Except, well, he didn’t quite get it right. Instead of pushing the face back in mock distortions, he put his entire weight on my jaw and shoved. Hard.
I couldn’t close my mouth for about twenty minutes.
It’s never been the same. The years of popping and discomfort wore on (as bone wore down), and it went from a novelty to an ache to a soreness to the point now where I can barely chew turkey. About ten years ago I saw an X-ray of the area (was having non-related work done) and the ball part of the joint was almost completely worn down (fortunately, this is on one side only). Again, that was ten years ago, and it had already moved into the pain category. Lately (the past couple years or so) the pace of the pain increase has picked up.
I’m not sure how much longer I can put off doing something about it. From what I’ve read and learned, mouth guards and exercises aren’t applicable given this level of degeneration. Note again this is in IMHO for anecdote collecting, not to ask which treatment is best. Certainly share if you’ve had any luck with anything, as I’m sure that even if I don’t, someone else reading the thread will get something useful out of it.
I’m not sure when I’ll get around to making an appointment. But I’m curious as to what I’ll be in for — pain, price, post-op, long-term benefits… whatever you care to share.
Oh, and since TMJ is too short to search on: temporomandibular joint