I have TMJ.

I’ve meant to do some blogging recently, but ended up working on Liberty Pulse. After working for around a month straight, I got burnt out on that project and had to take some time off. I celebrated the Equinox by watching the Lord of the Rings, and just tried to relax. Meanwhile, I’ve had construction work going on. I’ve had a lot going on.

Through all this, I’ve had a slight earache, with a weird draining sound in my ear. I sort of ignored it, hoping it would just take care of itself, but I mentioned it to my Mom a few times, and she suggested I see an ear doctor. I figured it couldn’t hurt, so went today.

First the good news: I have excellent blood pressure, at 117/70, thanks in part to Cacao surely! He looked in my ears, and didn’t see any problems. They also gave me some hearing tests, and they said I have excellent hearing, which I already knew.

Interestingly, I told him I had used peroxide to clean my ears, and he said to watch out. “If you put your finger in some peroxide, after a few minutes it will burn.” I tried it later and sure enough, after about thirty seconds it began to feel a little different, like a slight numb burning, and this slowly intensified over a few minutes. He considers a warm washcloth as the best way to clean out your ears. He said that following that, you can use a half and half mixture of peroxide and water.

Now the bad news: While looking in my mouth, he noticed that I clench my teeth, and told me that I have TMJ. I actually sort of knew this already. My jaw has clicked for a long time. Around age twelve or so, my dentist told me something similar, and recommended this football shaped thing I’d bite down on at nights, but we never followed it up, and he didn’t treat it like a big deal. I wonder if we should have. The doctor today didn’t seem too concerned, but did indicate his suspicion that it causes my ear pain. I’ve also had some neck pain that I couldn’t trace, and I suspect it also comes from TMJ. I thought it came from talking on the phone, typing, etc. and that may certainly contribute, but now things make more sense.

So what does this mean for me? It means I have to become more aware of my jaw muscles, and to try not to clench them. Searching turned up a bunch of suggested exercises, many links circle-jerking the user back to advertisements for ebooks. They may work, and represent worthy offers, but I didn’t feel like shelling out a bunch of money, at least not yet, though I’ll probably go to my dentist to get his opinion. Anyways, I did find two links: these simple exercises from EHow, and these three exercises and information from a chiropractic site. Now that I have become really aware, my jaw feels even more annoying and somewhat more painful, and I will begin trying these exercises and let you all know how it goes.

What else does it mean? It means I have to not hold the phone on my shoulder, like I do right now. It means I need to stand up more and avoid stressful situations instead of just enduring them and internalizing them with jaw tension. I call this blog Behind the Curtain for a reason! I write all of this in the hope that it will help some random searching soul.

I sure wish I had some MJ to help my TMJ! On that note, I haven’t had any for over six months, and I find it interesting that I’d notice the symptoms of TMJ now, as before now I indulged in our green friend pretty frequently. Perhaps the Good Herb helped keep my jaw relaxed. May the moralist dinosaurs who wish to keep it illegal kindly retreat to their rightful place in the twentieth century, and let the rest of us evolve! Prohibition does not work, whether drug or informational. I seem to have strayed from my original point of treating TMJ, which must at least mean that the Valerian has begun kicking in. That should at least help. Click click.