Monday, April 25, 2011

TMJ disorder in Western Belize - five month season.

TMJ disorder caused by excessive DRY SEASON in Western Belize

After seeing 9 doctors, including dentists, general practitioners, ENT specialist doctors, oral surgeons, etc. Going through 3 antibiotic treatments, treatments for yeast infections, fungus infections, herbal cures for earache, including garlic, onion, and other herbal recipes combined with virgin olive oil, hydrogen peroxide ear washouts, etc. NO CURE ! By the medical establishment.
Then I just recently found out there is a mini-epidemic here in Western Belize and the doctors are helpless. We only have three ENT medical specialists in the country and they are all down in the port town on the coast. Unavailable even if they knew what they were doing, which they don´t. $1500 dollars later, CAT SCAN, ultra Sound, X Rays and more I finally had to figure out the problem myself.
TMJ disorder is a swelling around and under the ear by the jaw joint, usually on one side. Often attributed to arthritis. Turns out after one dentist talked me into getting an upper and lower plate to align my jaw ( in constant pain ) and I was willing to pay anything and do anything to stop the pain. The pain is often called the SUICIDE PAIN, as it drives people to suicide.

The pain in this case and there is a mini-epidemic out here in Western Belize of the Cayo District, is caused I found out by checking the Internet, some experimentation with cures, and a process of elimination, to be a product of EVAPORATION during our DRY SEASON. I found other people suffering the same thing. Some had been to half a dozen doctors and even gone to neighboring countries for medical consultations, in Salvador and Guatemala. I even went to Guatemala to find a cure.

What happens some DRY SEASONS out here in Western Belize, the dry season can get so intense, that the soils which have a fair amount of clay in them, get rock hard like red bricks. Zig Zag cracks run across the ground and fields, as the clay hardens. We are in the wind shadow of the Maya Mountains and Belize Alps during this time of the year, when the wind shifts and comes from the EAST and SOUTH EAST. This causes intense moisture evaporation in the lee of any hills. The moisture is sucked out of the ground and air. Being tropical, we sleep with windows open most of the time. People tend to sleep with their mouths open, and even if not, I´ve found out that just the moisture lost by the dry air going through the nose, INFLAMES the throat and mucus membranes. There is no INFECTION. Pure INFLAMMATION of the throat and mouth and nose area. This inflammation travels up the Eustachian Tube to the middle, or inner ear and causes the tube to collapse, or swell, so that air and drainage to the inner middle ear has trouble. OTITIS I believe they call it? At any rate, the result is a swelling of the glands that are supposed to drain around the ear, the lower jaw and along the side of the face. This swelling then presses on the tri -geminal nerve system along side the jaw and face, causing intense pain.
So far, there is a popular neuro pill which has a brain pain blocker and a muscle relaxant that takes down the swelling. When this occurs, the pain goes away. You have to take a pill every six hours. Usually out of every 8 hours, 3 hours experience excruciating pain. Recently by experimenting, I found a tea spoon of HONEY to coat the throat, every time it gets raw and the lower ( under the jaw ) gland starts to ache, removes some of the cause and controls the inflammation of the throat, which is the source of all the trouble.
The dry season when the evaporation gets really intense of moisture sucked out of the land, trees and soils starts in January. By February, this ailment starts to effect a lot of people. The illness is expected to be for five months, until the rainy season in June. I found that closing the windows helps a lot, but not completely when you sleep at night. A humidifier would probably help, but there are none for sale in the few shops stocking appliances out West here. I´m going to try and rig something up. I´ve since found a number of people who thought they were alone, with the same problem as me. Why the medical profession do not know of this locally, is beyond me?
At any rate the only treatment for the swelling and pain, is the pills that block pain and reduce the swelling. Effective period is about 3.5 hours out of 6 hours. In between you suffer varying amounts of pain, due to swelling of the glands and irregular pressure on the ear drum from the inner ear. If you keep up the treatment, this avoids the swelling getting out of control and thus pressing on the tri-geminal nerve, which is the really big PAIN when it occurs. There is no cure! Only prevention until June rainy season starts. Honey helps the rawness in the throat. I´m cutting out all other sugars, as the honey treatment is a necessity for sanity.

1 comment:

Tershia said...

Now I have heard it all!! Get yourself a dental night guard or have your bit aligned - but not in Belize! It has nothing to do with the dry season.

What are TMJ disorders, and how are TMJ disorders caused?

TMJ disorders are a group of complex problems of the jaw joint. TMJ disorders are also sometimes referred to as myofacial pain dysfunction and Costen's syndrome. Because muscles and joints work together, a problem with either one can lead to stiffness, headaches, ear pain, bite problems (malocclusion), clicking sounds, or locked jaws. The following are behaviors or conditions that can lead to TMJ disorders.

1. Teeth grinding and teeth clenching (bruxism) increase the wear on the cartilage lining of the TMJ. Those who grind or clench their teeth may be unaware of this behavior unless they are told by someone observing this pattern while sleeping or by a dental professional noticing telltale signs of wear and tear on the teeth. Many patients awaken in the morning with jaw or ear pain.

2. Habitual gum chewing or fingernail biting

3. Dental problems and misalignment of the teeth (malocclusion). Patients may complain that it is difficult to find a comfortable bite or that the way their teeth fit together has changed. Chewing on only one side of the jaw can lead to or be a result of TMJ problems.

4. Trauma to the jaws: Previous fractures in the jaw or facial bones can lead to TMJ disorders.

5. Stress frequently leads to unreleased nervous energy. It is very common for people under stress to release this nervous energy by either consciously or unconsciously grinding and clenching their teeth.

6. Occupational tasks such as holding the telephone between the head and shoulder may contribute to TMJ disorders.