Aiming to be trigger-happy

I was doing pretty well on self-help TMJ exercises plus amitriptyline, then after a trip to the dentist for a filling things were pretty bad. At the worst point I couldn't speak for 2 days [which my friends thought would be a cause for rejoicing by my husband]. I had to write notes for the hairdresser but fortunately I wasn't scalped.

Being pretty desperate I remembered how my physiotherapist had taken the tension out of my shoulder by pressing firmly on a few points. I then went back to the book on trigger-point therapy by Bonnie Prudden which is recommended in the TMJ book. It's also known as Myotherapy.

I have always maintained that a lot of pain is coming from muscle spasms as well as the nerves. It has taken me a while to learn how to de-trigger these sensitive spots along the length of a muscle by pressing on spots on my jaw for up to 10 seconds until they de-trigger. Over the past few weeks I have had to de-trigger dozens of points in my jaw and neck and even inside my mouth [the most painful bit of all]. The pain has moved around; apparently it's a good sign that you have it on the run. It's also important to follow the instructions for stretching and lengthening the muscle after de-triggering otherwise the spasm returns.

Anyway I'm much better and not so worried when pain returns. I use the flat of my hand on my jaw and neck to find the sensitive spot to press. There are far fewer spots now so I'm hoping that things will calm down. I would suggest that if anyone wants to try this that they get a GP or physiotherapist or better still a myotherapist to guide them. Poking about in the neck and jaw can really make things much worse before they get better.

At my worst I was always scared to touch any place that hurt. So I'm not sure I could do that. But maybe muscle spasms do play a part because the neuros give muscle relaxers. I guess I could try some of this while my TN isn't very bad. But a stiff neck does make my TN worse.

Hi Liz, last time I heard from you things were better, I hope that they still are. The trigger points aren't always the usual places you feel pain as the pain is often referred to hot spots. Yesterday for instance my head and ear were feeling a bit tight. I then went looking for trigger points and found sensitive spots in an arc around my ear [the first time I've had any symptoms around my head]. Looking in my book there's an arc of muscle behind the ear. I went around the arc pressing to clear them but they seemed to persist longer than the 10 seconds I usually take. I gave up in case I made things worse but in fact they then cleared and this morning I'm fine, no symptoms at all.