Treating TMJ issues: a series of posts

I’ve been writing about TMJ pain and dysfunction both on my Facebook business page and on my Austin, Texas, USA, private-practice website’s blog.

If you have TMJ disorder and want to read any of those posts, here are links to them. (Many more people find this wellness blog first. It’s been around much longer and has an international readership.)

I view TMJ issues as not just biomechanics, although it plays a role. This issue has social, emotional, historical, biological, cognitive, and spiritual aspects. I am very aware that some people, especially in the mainstream medical and dental fields, may believe it’s unnecessary or even laughable to provide information on so-called “woo-woo” or “fluffy” topics like essential oils, yoga, and the throat chakra for people who are suffering from jaw pain and dysfunction.

So let me share how I came to write this series of posts. Instead of just going to experts (and I have done that), I also asked women who suffer from this problem what helps, and they told me.

Since nine times more women than men experience TMJ issues, this is super valuable information to share.

I want the world to know that TMJ treatment is available beyond night guards, pain meds, and surgery, and there are many options for self-care: massage, exercises, training yourself in new habits, reducing stress, improving posture, acupressure, nutrition, stretching, journaling, meditating, and more.

If you bump into this limited and limiting attitude, please share this post, and please share in the comments your experiences and any other resources you have found helpful.

TMJD treatment, dentists, and massage

I was contacted by a “digital media intern” who was working for a Houston office, MedCenter TMJ, asking me if I would write a blog post with links to that company. Here goes! (I don’t always or even often do this, by the way.)

Houston dentists offer advanced treatment for TMJD disorder

First of all, I am impressed that a couple of highly trained and educated dentists in Houston are specializing in treating TMJ disorder.

  • Dr. Auvenshine is a DDS and a PhD who has taught at the college level and founded the TMJ and Facial Pain Clinic at Louisiana State University. He’s been practicing in Houston since 1978 specializing in those issues. He currently teaches at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the VA Hospital in Houston, and he gives lectures around the world. He is working with the American Dental Association to get TMJD treatment recognized as a specialty. Here’s his page, with a video: http://www.medcentertmj.com/about-us/dr-auvenshine/
  • Dr. Nathan Pettit is a summa cum laude DDM with advanced training. He too is devoted to craniomandibular and TMJ disorders. He studied with Dr. Auvenshine for three years before joining his practice. Here’s his page with a video: http://www.medcentertmj.com/about-us/dr-pettit/

Continue reading

Report on effective treatments for fibromyalgia

A few folks with fibromyalgia have come to me for bodywork. Fibromyalgia, if you don’t know, is a condition of chronic pain with tender points located in various places on the body.

There’s a lot of mystery about it. It used to be thought by doctors to be “all in the head” (which basically means they don’t know, so it must exist just in your mind), but we know better now. A couple of years ago, scientists pinpointed the cause.

In my bodyworker role, I’ve noticed that some fibromyalgia sufferers prefer very light touch, while others prefer medium pressure and don’t mind, in fact prefer it, if I do deep tissue work in the tensest, tightest places, such as the upper trapezius. Continue reading

The gifts from telling the truth: a moving story

My friend Carol Waid, co-founder of the nonprofit Truth Be Told: Helping Women Behind and Beyond Bars, tells her story and the story of her work. Very, very moving. Click to read A Co-Founder’s Journey: Carol Waid’s Story.

I served as a board member for Truth Be Told for a couple of years when it was a new nonprofit. I used my writing and technology skills to start a newsletter and help them get organized to track supporters and receive donations so TBT could become stable — which they have!

I have attended several incredibly moving graduations and have gone into the prisons myself to teach writing and the three points of view to the women. I’ve also brought in dear friends who became facilitators. Maybe at some point, I will get to do that too.

Working with Truth Be Told is something I am so honored to have been able to do in this life. It is part of my heart.

Here’s an excerpt from Carol’s story:

I went to treatment some 13 years ago and in treatment I pretty much did the same kind of work that the facilitators guide the women to do, telling the TRUTH about our lives, through a process of using a lifeline to see your life.  I did not even know my own story, much less know how to talk about.  When I did a lifeline I was able to see the reasons I would try to take my own life at 15 and why I would choose the vehicle that I chose.  I began to see why I would choose a violent teenager to fall in love with and obsess over, even beyond his death.  I began to see how depression was in my fabric, and the fabric of my family.  I was shocked to discover that I had moved 32 times in my short 17 years of life and it began to make sense to me why I didn’t know what a friend was, or how to be a friend.

I also began to understand why I was scared to say my name and be seen.  What I didn’t know, for a very long time, and still struggle to accept, is that I am courageous and strong and compassionate and loving and smart and gentle and authentic, but I have to fight off what rules, which is fear and timidity and anger and depression and insecurity and the curse of believing I am nothing and not special.

In treatment I saw my life’s path before me, which gave me a map to work with all these years.  This is the work we do with the women who reside in prison, for many of them they are creating a map of their lives and they are discovering what has been the thread that was sewn into their fabric.  They are then given the tools to pull out threads that do not belong in their tapestry and to appreciate and respect the threads that remain and so beautifully they get to continue creating a new rows….  This work is crucial to healing.  Healing is what opens the door for living a blooming life.  A blooming life includes living in the “free” world and becoming a citizen that can help the world change for better.