Treatment for TMJ: The non-treatment that rid me of jaw pain

My three big reasons to re-prioritize and reduce stress
A few months ago my jaw suddenly started hurting.  It remained this way for weeks to the point when I finally called my dentist.  By the time I got in there, I could barely open my jaw far enough for one finger to slide between my upper and lower teeth.  My dentist diagnosed it as TMJ.  

"What is TMJ?" you ask.   Web MD describes it like this:

"Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for  temporomandibular joint." Possible causes include:
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
  • Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
Since, I don't grind my teeth, my dentist told me to try to identify points of stress, put on a hot compress on my jaw, and do a few jaw exercises.  I was not given any medication.   I knew it had to be stress related because the pressures of motherhood are tremendous.  In fact the condition is far more common in women than man and is ususally diagnosed between 20 and 40 years old.

As a 30-something SAHM with two little kids I was drowning under the pressure - much of it self imposed.  I had started out freelance writing "for fun" nearly five years ago after my daughter was born and I stopped working in the newsroom.  At times I made very good money.  Business was going so well for me that I had hired an assistant.  But the online writing freelance world isn't steady and shouldn't be relied on for consistent income.  


9 kids outdoor toys that save this mom's sanity in summer

With summer here I keep my kids outside as much as possible.  But to keep a 2 and almost 5 year old entertained for endless hours (and to keep my own sanity) the best outdoor toys are a necessity-- because a simple swing's not gonna cut it all.summer.long.

I rolled my eyes when my sister - aka childless aunt - gave my 4 year old this huge Crayola Inflatable Easel.  I am usually not a fan of blow up toys because they require so much time to inflate and deflate - but did you know you can use a nebulizer as an air pump?  OMG my friend just told me this trick instead of using the standard hot air or foot pump methods.

Turns out the giant easel is totally cool and the envy of my friends' kids (and their moms).  After the kids are done painting on it or drawing with chalk you can just squirt it down with the hose.  I actually threw the canvas in the washer and it came out like new.
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