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 
relating thereto.
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 
the  limitations.
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) 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.
Much luck,
Message: 11
Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 12:58:20 +0600
From: ?????  ????????? <ploboris@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Jaw Pain
To:  Harp-L@xxxxxxxxxx

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?
> Thanks!
> Nick Lovett
>  _ 

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