Arthritic T.M. Joints and Fibromyalgia


My name is Debbi Ward and I would like to tell you my story of chronic pain. Just over twelve years ago it was determined I had arthritic temporalmandibular joints, better known as arthritic t.m. joints, and within the span of another year I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This last ailment has been called the "arthritis of the muscle". Believe me when I say it is and can be every bit as painful as what we arthritic patients contend with when we have a flare up in our afflicted joints.

I was guided by my dentist to Dr. Frank Benson, who specializes in t.m. joint dysfunction. I was fitted for a mouth appliance, given and anti-inflammatory and sent to a physical therapist two times a week. He then arranged for me to be seen by a rheumatologist named Dr. Gary Myerson to help me with my muscle spasms. These spasms always precipitated my migraines and were diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Dr. Myerson started me on various medications, continued the physical therapy and gave me trigger pint injections to help alleviate the cause of the pain in the muscles. After five years of this continued treatment, my pain progressed so that nerve blocks were necessary for my left t.m. joint simply to end the pain sometimes, and always before I was given any trigger pint injections.

I was finally operated on by Dr. Roger Meyer. Previous to the surgery, he left it necessary for me to go through psychological counseling and stress management training, which I did. My pain was lessened after the operation; however, my fibromyalgia was still lurking in the background and whenever it flared up and caused spasms it would pull on my t.m. joints and cause a cycle of pain again. I continued my medications, physical therapy, much milder exercise, the trigger pint injections and tried to keep a less stressed out life. I even tried acupuncture. There was a little relief in the beginning, but I decided to stop because it was not enough to warrant the cost.

I was still desperate to try and have as normal a life as anyone else could have who lives with chronic pain and needs to see either doctors, chiropractor, physical therapists, or massage therapists, along with taking medications every day. What a drag...

Luckily, Dr. Myerson sent me to Dr. Mattew Guwnn for Botox® injections. He started with just my cervical area and it was a dream come true. I kept knots at the base of my skull, on both sides. He shot those spots and kept them calm for eight months. There was another very persistent trigger point at C-5 on the right side, which kept a permanent knot of pain even with trigger pint injections over the many years. He shot the spot during my April, 1999 appointment and the knot has yet to reoccur. You have no idea just how much relief both the lessening and the lack of those particular knots gave me.

The cervical area was a test to see how my system would react to the injections. Therefore, on July 9, 1999, he once again injected me. This time into my trapezius muscles, shoulder blades and the center of my back. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!!! I actually had relief. There was a problem with spasms the first couple of weeks while the nerve endings were dissolving; however, after that whenever there were spasms, and there were fewer, there was no pain involved. I had actually crashed through the never ending cycle of pain created by my ailments.

I had my third cycle of injections on December 10, 1999, and so far I have no spasms as occurred in July. I highly recommend the Botox® procedure to anyone who has exhaused all other avenues of treatment. I say this because I feel only that way you will know for sure just how valuable the regimen is for we chronic pain sufferers.

Debbi Ward

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