There ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure for TMJ

My TMJ on the left side has been bothering me for about a year now. What I remember when my right side hurt several years ago was that nothing fixed it, but the pain eventually faded. So I have that to look forward to.

Again, I feel like I’ve tried everything. Each time, I have high hopes that some new thing will cure it. I tried chiropractic for the first time this round, and after two sessions, I thought, “Yes! It’s getting better.” But then he adjusted me using the little activator thingy against the jaw joint itself and I think that made things worse for a few days. Also, on my first visit, he gave me a little lesson in semantics:

“TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint. What you’re describing is TMD, temporomandibular disorder.”

Later I realized that what I shoulda said was, “Oh, yeah? Well, ‘doctor’ refers to someone with an MD … It’s a semantics thing.” (Jerk store!)

Be that as it may, the sentence “My TMJ is bothering me” is still accurate. It would be “I have TMJ” that he objects to. Since everyone has TMJ. Most of us have two.

What frustrates me every time is practitioners who expect me to feel complete relief after each session. It makes me want to lie. “Oh yeah, I’m totally better.” Because I feel like I’m doing something wrong if I keep coming back saying, “Yep. Still bothers me. No improvement at all. Keep doing that same thing that you did last time that didn’t work.”

My favorite treatment at this time is massage therapy. For a while, I had trouble finding a massage therapist I liked. And now I’ve found one who’s covered by my insurance. I don’t have any real expectation that massage with cure my TMJ/D, but hey, it feels good.

A few weeks ago, my therapist told me that my insurance company likes to see a steady rate of treatment, rather than someone coming in for a massage here and there, just ‘cus it feels good. So I attempted to make appointments every week for the next few weeks. She was booked last week though, so I had one scheduled for today.

Then, a week ago, I tweaked my neck. Despite alternating ice and heat and a visit to the airport massage bar, it bothered me to distraction at work almost all last week. So when they called to tell me my massage therapist had an opening Friday, I took it.

She was surprised that I still wanted to keep my appointment for today. Like, “Two massages in a four-day period? Really? Uh, OK, if that’s what you want to do. It’s your body.”

Why should I feel self-conscious about that? You said I should come in more regularly! My neck was still kinda sore, you know! It’s still sore now, after my second massage in four days. Even though when she finished both times, I said, “Oh wow, it’s so much better.” It was better of course, but not cured.

There’s no cure.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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