Somehow I wasn’t surprised to have a flare-up of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) this month – I just spent $600 on car repairs, the library is in a financial crisis, my dad just had back surgery, the G-20 is coming to town, and so on and so on.
This is not my head.
But what exactly is TMJ? Basically, it’s jaw, neck, ear, and/or tooth pain caused by a variety of issues – anything from an injury to bad posture to (in my case) stress. It doesn’t sound fun, does it? Well believe me, it’s not. Ouch.
For the official word on TMJ you can’t do much better than checking Medline Plus. It’s a free service provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health that collects articles from a variety of trusted sources – for example, their information about TMJ comes from the Academy of General Dentistry, the National Pain Foundation, and the ever popular Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Who says there isn’t reliable free information on the internet?
If you prefer to do your reading offline, you can do a subject search in our catalog for “temporomandibular joint,” which will give you all sorts of books to look through - everything from simple overviews to exercises to complicated and scary government documents.
As for me, my car is running nicely, RAD is helping the library (though we’re not out of the woods yet), my dad is doing well enough to help me remodel my bathroom, and the G-20 will only be here for two days, after all.
So with a little ibuprofen, a heating pad, some relaxation, and a top notch collection of library resources, I’m already on the mend.
Have you ever been sick? Do you have any health conditions or concerns about the health of loved ones? When you hear other people say that they have certain illnesses, do you just know that you have that illness too? If you said yes to any of these questions, you are in luck!
The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health have teamed up to make an invaluable, free web resource called MedlinePlus.gov. Medline Plus is a consumer health website that is easy to navigate, and is full of information like health news, medical journal articles, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, a dictionary, physician and hospital directories, interactive tutorials, drug information and more. It even has surgery videos!
One feature that is especially great to file in your brain for the future is the tests and diagnostic procedures tutorials. Let’s say you have carpal tunnel syndrome or are thinking about hip replacement surgery. Each condition and procedure has a multimedia tutorial with an optional questionnaire that helps to customize your tutorial. This page is easy to navigate and has plenty of tips for those of us not very comfortable using a computer. The slides and videos contain enlightening and empowering information presented in non-threatening, easy-to-understand language. The tutorials have anatomical drawings with explanations, as well as symptoms and causes, treatment options, risks and other information. There are even text documents like this one on back pain prevention that can easily be printed and read away from the computer.
Another great feature is the link to the quarterly Medline Plus: the Magazine. The pdf format is colorful, the information is relevant, and most importantly (some might say), the stars on the cover are glamorous. Some highlights from the Winter 2008 issue include alternative health, fighting stress, diabetes, best buy prescription drugs, and having a healthy pregnancy.
Remember, the best way to take care of yourself is to be knowledgeable and informed. This is a great place to start.