Put the pieces together for health and happiness

“… within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.”*

The capacity for health and happiness already exists within each of us.  When we see with wholeness, the beauty that is ever present shines through, the whole of man with a soul, rather than the sum of parts.  

In health care, just by the method in which it is organized, piece by piece, there can be inadvertent side effects. Patients can help their own vitality by taking charge of their health, listening to their body, and knowing potential side effects of medications.

I’m an orthodontist, and this is what I see:

  • TMJ pain is nagging and annoying enough, but after a period of time, like other chronic pain, a component of depression can creep in to complicate matters. 
  • Antidepressants are frequently prescribed for depression, however, Bruxing (grinding of the teeth), can be one of the side effects of antidepressants such as: fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil), which eventually creates a vicious circle.
  • The same prescribed medications that are meant to help people cope with depression have reported side effects of muscle tension, soreness, and anxiety which seems similar to the symptoms my TMJ patients describe. 

There’s more: 

  • Frequently, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, are recommended to alleviate TMJ pain, soreness in the jaw. The combination of NSAIDs and antidepressants strongly increases the incidence of stomach symptoms.**

Your healthcare provider should be consulted to discuss pain-relieving medication that is appropriate for you and to discuss side effects of medication. Patients should not take themselves off prescribed medication without first talking to their doctor.

You can begin to put the pieces of your own health together by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is my body telling me that it really needs?
  • How are my thoughts and feelings affecting my body?
  • What’s a step that I can take today towards better health and happiness?

Just last week, one of my patients with many years of TMJ sores and shifting teeth told me that she has been working on her posture**. She took the initiative and got an ergonomic assessment at work and started eating “clean food for fibromyalgia”. She used to get home exhausted at the end of the day and now she has plenty of energy to enjoy her evenings.

You are already whole. You are not pieces of a body.  You are so much more and you can make changes to feel that wholeness in your every day life.

*from The Over-Soul, by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

**interaction between NSAID’s and antidepressants visit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1884264/

** posture, visit: https://www.marukoorthodontics.com/single-post/2018/11/26/Balance-Your-Bowling-Ball—TMJ

This article is meant to inform through thoughts and experiences, both personal and professional and should not be taken as actual health care. Dr. Evelyn Maruko has personally dealt with TMJ pain, clenching, stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition to her dental degrees, Dr. Maruko received her BS in Psychobiology from USC, a Masters Degree in Public Health from Harvard, a Master Science Degree from Northwestern, and a certificate in Jungian Psychology Coaching. She is deeply concerned about emotional stress and damage that it causes to the body. After many years in private orthodontic practices, she sees the important need to work with the mind AND body for health and happiness.