Bruxism and Odd Tension in my Body

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Has anyone ever experienced an odd tension in their bodies that causes them to habitually grind their teeth? For the last month, I have noticed that the muscles in my jaw are almost perpetually clenched. I have to make a very deliberate decision to try to release the tension. I am grinding my teeth almost all the time. At the same time, I noticed that my shoulders are involuntarily shrugging up towards my ears, which is causing upper back pain, in addition to the jaw pain. It is so odd. It is as if the muscles in my body from my shoulders up to my head are locked in some bizarre kind of tensed state that no amount of relaxation or hot water therapy can alleviate.
 

Wolfcub

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Interesting indeed @Matthew_2

Prior to first becoming unwell, back in March 2018 I noticed some unusual tension in my facial muscles and jaw especially. Meanwhile I was still feeling normal and well!

I was waking up every morning -not with grinding teeth but kind of worse in a way. My jaw was clenched down on one side of my inner mouth (behind lips) -very tightly and so badly sometimes that I drew blood.

I worked on relaxing exercises for my face and jaw before sleep at night but it made no difference. It had never happened before and I couldn't understand it. I was not going through a period of any particular stress that I'm aware of. The only possible stress I can imagine was that I there had just been severe freezing temperatures with blizzards and I'd been exposed outside a lot.

I wondered....how could I bite myself that badly in sleep ???

It felt, even at the time, like more of a neurological weirdness than anything else. Like it was coming from some strange thing going on in the brain.

I am considering seeing a cranio-sacral chiro. Not sure yet if that is wise, though I am told his work is very gentle.
I am curious. Have you tried anything like that?
 
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junkcrap50

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OMG YES! That's me - exactly!!!

I was finding myself constantly clenching or tensing my muscles, subconsciously. And when I would catch my self and notice I was doing it, I would have to consciously relax and stop contracting my muscles! The muscle groups often tensed were: shoulder's shrugging up to my ears, jaw clenching down (not necessarily grinding), neck, quads & calves, and sometimes even my forearms (but mostly at night).

I felt like I was mostly tensed and clenched while I was sleeping during the night. My muscles would hurt or feel tired the most in the morning and would gradually improve pain/ache-wise throughout the day. In the morning, if I clenched, I could recreate the aching feeling when I stopped clenching. So I am positive I was clenched at night. However, I would still tense and clench all day as well and catch myself doing it.

Fortunately, just randomly, I notice that I'm no longer having this tension & clenching as often. I still have it occasionally but never to the degree I had it before. I can't attribute any reason as to why it improved.

I never found an answer as to why I was doing this. Nor did I find a solution or answer that helps. I have other muscle symptoms like knots and frequently lactic acid burning that I've been searching for solutions too.

I had a Nerve Conduction Study and EMG, with both results being normal. I tried IV magnesium (3g/3hours 2x/week for 12 weeks) but that did nothing. I was going to try transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation, but forgot and didn't get around to it. I'm looking to try a different muscle relaxer soon and Injectable Carnitine next. The only new thing I've added or changed is Kuvan (BH4), which gives me more dopamine, energy, and better mood. (So maybe I'm more relaxed). I have noticed that a better sleep posture with regards to my neck has helped my nighttime clenching (or so I think.)

Do you have any other muscle related symptoms?
What things have you tried for this tension?
 
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xebex

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Yes I get this, muscle relaxants help, I’m sure it’s to do with dopamine as Ritalin also helps it and it comes back in a rebound once the Ritalin wears off. Visualization methods used for pain control do help to an extent, I find if I consciously try to relax then I can loosen the muscles but the moment I forget they do it again. I do believe it’s to do with out of whack neurotransmitters and the CNS being ready for fight or flight.
 
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@Wolfcub No, I have tried nothing yet to alleviate these symptoms. But, I did think recently that I would love to have a chiropractic adjustment and a massage of my upper back and shoulders. In fact, if we were not living in a pandemic, I think I would have already tried these therapies.

@junkcrap50 When I first got sick with this, over a year and a half ago, my legs used to cramp up terribly. In fact, all day long, from my ankles to my thighs, my muscles would twitch constantly all over the place. At that time, I was often awoken at night with horrible cramps in my calves and feet. Those went away somehow - but I don't know why.
 

xebex

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@junkcrap50 When I first got sick with this, over a year and a half ago, my legs used to cramp up terribly. In fact, all day long, from my ankles to my thighs, my muscles would twitch constantly all over the place. At that time, I was often awoken at night with horrible cramps in my calves and feet. Those went away somehow - but I don't know why.
Your cramping could have been a magnesium and or other electrolyte deficiencies that naturally corrected itself, maybe you made some diet changes that increased either your magnesium intake or helped your absorption.
 

xebex

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@xebex it is entirely possible. When I first fell ill after a virus, my GI issues were so severe, with constant nausea, and I was dreadfully emaciated. Since then, the nausea has abated and I have been able to eat again and put on weight.
ah I’d say that’s it then, you weren't absorbing properly and were deficient, over time it corrected itself.
 

Jyoti

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@Matthew_2 et al--I was thinking of posting the same question this week!

I frequently have what I describe as 'the Iron Maiden.' I feel like the upper half of my body is being crushed inward. By itself. Or sometimes I call it 'physical anxiety' because I can be calm and in repose mentally but my neck, jaw (always the jaw:(), shoulders and torso feel like they are under siege and guarding against annihilation. Clenched like my life depends on it. An awful and unbearable feeling.

Like @xebex I try to relax and release, particularly my jaw, which seems key--if I can let go there, the rest quiets down a bit--but if I take my mind off that effort for a moment (and how can I keep my foggy brain on anything with any consistency?) I find myself all tensed up again.

I think I have coat hanger pain sometimes, and it is a reasonable answer to consider. However, this seems like more than coat hanger. Less head pain, less pain and just more tension. Anyone else have a thought about that?
 

xebex

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@Matthew_2

I think I have coat hanger pain sometimes, and it is a reasonable answer to consider. However, this seems like more than coat hanger. Less head pain, less pain and just more tension. Anyone else have a thought about that?
I think coat hanger pain is slightly different it’s caused by hypoperfusion due to reduced blood flow, I get that too, but I’m pretty certain that this muscle tensing is due to neurotransmitters, most likely dopamine.
 

junkcrap50

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Yes I get this, muscle relaxants help, I’m sure it’s to do with dopamine as Ritalin also helps it and it comes back in a rebound once the Ritalin wears off.
Interesting. I didn't notice any changes when I take ritalin. I'll have to pay attention next time. Dopamine is an issue in other muscle pathologies with rigidity (eg parkinsons).

@junkcrap50 When I first got sick with this, over a year and a half ago, my legs used to cramp up terribly. In fact, all day long, from my ankles to my thighs, my muscles would twitch constantly all over the place. At that time, I was often awoken at night with horrible cramps in my calves and feet. Those went away somehow - but I don't know why.
Ah, yes. I've had cramps in the past. Almost always low magnesium or potassium. I still get twitches, called fasiculations, every once in a while, but not as often as in the past.

Dysautonomia can cause coat hanger pain. This might be what you are experiencing.
I've heard this. But I don't really understand how dysautonomia can cause coat hanger pain. I don't get how.
 
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Oh, this is about me too! It tightens all the muscles of the neck and between the supplements, the shoulders are crawling up. Before that, there were fasciculations. Supplements or medications do not help, warming up, too, the massage is worse. My chiro assumed that I had a microstroke. But the MRI did not show. Patting on back, but not for long.
 

xebex

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@Matthew_2

is your hypothesis that this may be a dopamine deficiency? I definitely feel as if my issues are related to some kind of central nervous system disorder that involves neurotransmitters.
Not necessarily a deficiency but in imbalance, my theory is that the neurotransmitters are constantly getting out of balance, for me anyway and it could also be acetylcholine related I’m just looking into that now.

@junkcrap50 Ritalin isn’t necessarily the answer, for me it only works randomly, if I take it every day it’s like it switches the balance the wrong way so I can only take it periodically. I’m thinking levodopa would work better but I’m too scared of eyerolls from the doc to ask. I do think it’s worth trying magnesium malate first and some natural ways to lower or increase dopamine there was a post recently about symptoms of certain neurotransmitter dominance or deficiency that might offer insight, it seems I have an imbalance of all though according to the list. Sigh.

here's a link to how neurotransmitters could affect you, i'm not sure really how accurate it is though. I seem to fit into all groups at certain times depending on what i've done. I'd say i lean towards the dopamine and acetylcholine groups and that feels confirmed by what i've noticed in my health but it could just be confirmation bias.
https://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Edge_effect
 
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xebex

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I've heard this. But I don't really understand how dysautonomia can cause coat hanger pain. I don't get how.
Dysautonomia causes muscle hypoperfusion by overly constricting or dilating the blood vessels - it seems to me the body can't regulate its own vasoconstrictoes or dilators resulting in blood vessels that are constantly in flux, when the blood vessels constrict it reduces blood flow which causes pain. Theres is also a theory somewhere that overly constricted blood vessels cause bradykinin to be released but it releases too much, causing pain.
 
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OMG YES! That's me - exactly!!!

I was finding myself constantly clenching or tensing my muscles, subconsciously. And when I would catch my self and notice I was doing it, I would have to consciously relax and stop contracting my muscles! The muscle groups often tensed were: shoulder's shrugging up to my ears, jaw clenching down (not necessarily grinding), neck, quads & calves, and sometimes even my forearms (but mostly at night).

I felt like I was mostly tensed and clenched while I was sleeping during the night. My muscles would hurt or feel tired the most in the morning and would gradually improve pain/ache-wise throughout the day. In the morning, if I clenched, I could recreate the aching feeling when I stopped clenching. So I am positive I was clenched at night. However, I would still tense and clench all day as well and catch myself doing it.

Fortunately, just randomly, I notice that I'm no longer having this tension & clenching as often. I still have it occasionally but never to the degree I had it before. I can't attribute any reason as to why it improved.
I tried IV magnesium (3g/3hours 2x/week for 12 weeks) but that did nothing. I was going to try transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation, but forgot and didn't get around to it. I'm looking to try a different muscle relaxer soon and Injectable Carnitine next. The only new thing I've added or changed is Kuvan (BH4), which gives me more dopamine, energy, and better mood. (So maybe I'm more relaxed). I have noticed that a better sleep posture with regards to my neck has helped my nighttime clenching (or so I think.)

Do you have any other muscle related symptoms?
What things have you tried for this tension?
@junkcrap50 I have all of your symptoms and then some. Horrific headache, eye functioning issues +++
But I've been trying to deal with the constant tension with a lot of things including magnesium oil. Months ago, my Genova test said my magnesium is great! And I continue to apply 2 teaspoons a day with a boost of DMSO. Now, that I'm straightening out my B's, many symptoms are easing, but the tight legs, shoulder hunching, scalp tightness, headache, brain fog, continue. And just like you said, it's worse once I get up, then eases throughout the day.
I haven't tried Kuvan, but I do have a genetic mutation for PKU and I have trouble with phenylalanine. hmmmm Doubt blood levels would reflect.

Dysautonomia causes muscle hypoperfusion by overly constricting or dilating the blood vessels - it seems to me the body can't regulate its own vasoconstrictoes or dilators resulting in blood vessels that are constantly in flux, when the blood vessels constrict it reduces blood flow which causes pain. Theres is also a theory somewhere that overly constricted blood vessels cause bradykinin to be released but it releases too much, causing pain.
I have to wonder if it's both dysautoN and dopamine? When I went to bed last night I decided I wasn't going to take any supplements and minimal meds today - just to see if my pain would ease. So I didn't. But when I read your post regarding dopamine I decided to pop some adderal, which I haven't in a month or so. After taking it, I realized ooops I just changed two major things. But, I will say that although my mood is better and I have motivation to get something done, my pain level and muscle tension is pretty much the same and I am constantly stretching my neck, and pulling my shoulders down and back.
I'm not ruling out a possible dopamine connection, this is just my feedback after 6 hours on it.

It seems like we all would say that this isn't an electrolyte problem. And I will add the prescription muscle relaxants haven't helped, nor have anti-inflammatories.
I have worked diligently with electrolytes and B's, plenty of magnesium and potassium and yet, these symptoms continue. I hadn't heard the term "coat hanger pain" and when I searched it, one of the first pages to come up was a familiar name - Nemechek. I read the description which fits me to a "t" with additional issues. I have known for almost a year that I am having severe vascular issues as well as neuropathy. They started with oxalate damage and my methylmalonic acid getting deadly high. I cannot tolerate anything that causes vasodilation w/o it increasing my headache. My veins are getting stronger and functioning better, but the Nemechek description fits.
".....The blood and oxygen delivery into the head and neck region are improved with the movement of the leg muscles, and this fact helps diagnose coat hanger pain.
If neck pain improves or is absent with physical activity, this is an indication that the patient has coat hanger pain from Autonomic injury. Physical activity improves blood and oxygen delivery into the neck muscles and alleviates symptoms....." excerpt https://www.nemechekconsultativemedicine.com/blog/coat-hanger-neck-pain-copy/
The obvious problem is that exercise causes PEM - and it's a vicious cycle. I have noticed that when I use my Powerplate (whole body vibration) that I feel better. It would be great if we could figure this out - it's what's preventing me from getting back to life.
Oh, for me the circulation issue also fits, I think, because I've had dramatic hair loss for over 3 months now. The hair loss started months after correcting my B12 and mma, and it's not hormonal. My cranial/sacral massage therapist said that my scalp hurt so bad and was so tight that it was micro-tearing. Maybe this caused the hair follicles to die and they are still falling out, despite my improvements.

BTW: I do have family members with Parkinsons, vascular dimentia, hypermobility, and other "tissue issues".

I get teeth grinding and jaw clenching as a side effect of vitamin B12, and I think from a few other supplements that I have tried in the past.

I have always wondered why...
I may have started clenching more since adding in B12, but I've always had headache, and muscles that won't relax. I really have been thinking this is from weak collagen >>> weak ligaments >>>>> too much stress on muscles >>>>chronic spams. So IDK.
As a note, when I started injecting methylB12 I gained 10 pounds in 1 week. I stopped. Did a search and came up with no reason - other than it can happen with B12 in general. It did not happen when I was injecting hydroxyB12. Then upon further research of B's in general, I knew I needed to increase my methylfolate. I increased dramatically and decided to start the methylB12 injections again. This time I did not gain weight. I guess what I am suggesting is that if you start taking B12 and find yourself clenching, it may be from a shortage of folate, or eventually potassium, or possibly (if you're taking all the co-factors) of detox. ?
 

xebex

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I have to wonder if it's both dysautoN and dopamine?
I would say there is a dopamine connection but its not necessarily a cause nor a direct connection, and adderal or ritalin won't necessarily help because they work differently in different people, you might find that something like L-dopa worked better, but again, its all just so complex, one drug on its own isn't going to fix anything IMO. I also don't really get much help from electrolytes as such, though magnesium does help my restless legs which is a dopamine issue - the ritalin makes my restless legs worse and magnesium helps. It really is sooo complex. I do find much help with muscle relaxants, and like i say the visualization techniques for pain management do help but it comes back.

One thing i forgot to say is that myofascial massage has recently been the most effect thing for this, and it seems to have a lasting effect rather than the visualisations where the issues would come back the next day or even in a few hours. I use a hard golf ball sized rubber ball, and i stand up against a wall with the ball between the wall and the painful muscle and intensly massage the area by moving around on the ball. I found it would then release all the spasms through the rest of the body, so it was all coming from that one point. My muscle issues in my back have been much better for the last month or so.
 
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