Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Jaw Pain
I don't disagree at all that he 'might have to work on his technique', but
it might not be quite so simple a fix.
IF (and I'm emphasizing the 'if') it's related to a TMJ issue, he needs
to see his dentist (and possibly another specialist) pronto...because just
relaxing his jaw won't be sufficient. Even yawning can be excruciating for
a TMJ sufferer. Keeping the jaw 'wide open' while having a TMJ issue is
virtually impossible and is what causes the pain. Here're a couple of links
which give a bit of insight into just how frustrating a problem this is:
There are a lot more. Tons of online sites, many quite contradictory...
most discussing just how frustrating it is to develop TMD's and the issues
I've mentioned having a TMJ problem several times here with zero
responses. However, I've gradually been made aware of more and more people who play
harmonica suffering from real pain in the temporo-mandibular joint which
won't simply go away by relaxing the jaw while playing. One might actually
have to stop using tongue-blocking (completely impossible technique for me
and many of my fellow sufferers) once the problem has developed.
To Nick: IF this has been going on a while; IF you're a tongue-blocker; IF
your jaw clicks or makes noise or slips out of place even momentarily
(there are methods by which to check to see if the problem is at all related to
TMD issues), then you' might need to do a lot more than relax your jaw:
cease forcing the harp as far into your mouth as you normally do, and you
just may have to change your entire approach to harmonica playing.
Only your dentist can say for sure..but I would strongly advise seeing
someone who specializes in TMJ to be evaluated properly (and take your
harmonica with you when you go). Nowadays unfortunately, fewer and fewer dentists
specialize in it because it is a completely frustrating problem to treat
with insurance companies refusing to cover treatments. Most of those who
develop it learn to live with the problem and adapt their lives to living with
I've had TMD for a very long time. There's not much to be done to help me
since I have no cartilage pad left in my left jaw joint (proven with MRI's
and whole-head x-rays)..no way to replace it so it's bone-on-bone pain at
this level with no available surgical fix (so far). Any mention of surgery
should send you running in the opposite direction. Therefore my playing has
to be restricted to lip blocking style or so-called 'pucker' play. I cannot
'drop my jaw' or push the harp 'further into my mouth' as instructed by
harmonica teachers. Any attempts to explain this are usually met with
disbelief. I can play but have had to stick to chromatics so far.
You can have bite-plates or night-guards made to wear (but it'll depend on
your particular situation and they can have mixed results), massage,
acupuncture, other simpler treatments are available to help deal with the pain.
Restrictions on what to eat: no chewing gum, hard chewy foods: bagels are
out (for a New Yorker like me, that was particularly tough) but just might
be all you require ;)
But you need a proper diagnosis first.
Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 12:58:20 +0600
From: ????? ????????? <ploboris@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Jaw Pain
You have to keep your jaw relaxed while widely opened! If you have some jaw
pain it means you have work on your technique.
2010/5/13 Nicholas Lovett <lovett.nicholas@xxxxxxxxx>
> Anyone know what to do about harmonica related jaw pain?
> Nick Lovett
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