Turns out that I don’t need more surgery and my TMJ is sleep related. (Heather G, hang on, I know you’ll love this…)
My current doctor sent me to a new doctor to explore non-surgical options that he doesn’t do because he most definitely did not want to do more surgery on me. The second surgery would be more invasive and wouldn’t correct the problem, just the symptoms.
At this point, I did NOT care. I was just over pretty much everything and wanted it fixed RAIGHT NOW. I’m not so good with the patience.
So a couple weeks later, I go to my new doctor who gave me not only an exhaustive 20 page patient information sheet, but proceeded to do a examination that consisted on him having me do all sorts of movements and rate my pain. He even checked my neck and my mobility of my legs. Which was a bit confusing, but there is also something comforting about a doctor that is that through. You feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. (Which I should, it was an $800 visit. Which might be reimbursed by insurance, might not. WHEEE, American Healthcare!!!)
After the exam, the doctor spoke to me and said that he thought my TMJ pain was sleep related.*** Apparently when you sleep and you are not getting the proper amount of air to your airway, you body will attempt to adjust itself to help and make movements that are 2 to 3 times stronger or harder than you can while awake. So my pain was due to either due to sleep apnea or upper airway resistance that was causing me to clench and twist my jaw around, trying to get more air.
So he sent me home with a pulse oximeter, to measure my oxygen levels and my pulse for a night. After getting a reading, he looked at the results and told me that I don’t have sleep apnea because my oxygen levels are fine, but my pulse rate goes up to nearly twice its average throughout the night intermittently. So that means I have upper airway resistance and need to wear a TAP 3 which yanks my lower jaw forward to open my airway and help me sleep better. Which will lessen the unnecessary jaw movements, which will lessen my morning headaches, which will allow my jaw to heal and lessen the daytime headaches and make me into an all-around happier person who isn’t gobbling the maximum dosage of ibuprofen on a daily basis.
Plus, it’ll stop me snoring.
Yay for me!!!
Well, almost. The price of the device and the monitoring will be the same as my surgery. (I know, right? Life lifts me up and then punches me in the tit….) But at least there’s no scalpels involved.
So. That happened.
Anyone else got sleep problems? Maybe some that don’t cost you thousands of dollars? Let’s talk sleep! Make Heather G. happy!
***Disclaimer: What I related is what I understood regarding my situation with my doctor. I know nothing of medicine and if you treat what said as a diagnosis for your own problems, you’re a doofus. See your doctor.