Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TMJ and Palpitations

A couple of unexpected consequences have occurred with my new, (mostly) lacto-paleo, high-nutrient diet.

My TMJ has almost disappeared. Let me tell you how my case of TMJ came about.

It was a Sunday night in November 2006. I was on my way to a dance when an SUV came flying out of the Walgreens parking lot and broadsided my car on the driver's side. Once I stopped my car (which was totaled), the teeth on the right side of my mouth felt like they'd shifted from being clenched so hard. A few months later, the pain in my jaw was so bad that it kept me up nights. I couldn't fall asleep on my right side. Splint therapy helped, but as recently as last October after a dance workshop weekend, my jaw was painful for weeks afterward.

So, why didn't I just stop clenching my jaw? When I realized I was doing it, I did, as far as I was able. But it's kind of like telling someone to stop having a tension headache. Things like relaxation, pain relievers, massage and acupressure help, but they don't address the cause.

How is a high-nutrient diet addressing the cause of my TMJ? Maybe something in there is remineralizing. Maybe it has to do with dietary fat or fat soluble vitamins. Maybe it's that I feel more relaxed. All I know is that I've had nothing more than a little twingey pain since starting the diet, and even being out in the cold doesn't bother it much. It's been a stressful few weeks at work between helping the tax secretary, meeting audit deadlines and getting out valuation reports, and it hasn't made my jaw hurt. I'm cautiously optimistic.

My heart has felt a little fluttery. No, I don't have a crush on anyone. I started taking potassium tablets, and they've helped. Doing a little more research, I came across this interesting post at the Heart Scan Blog:

Short of performing a biopsy to measure tissue magnesium levels, several signs provide a tip-off that magnesium may be low:

• Heart arrhythmias—Having any sort of heart rhythm disorder should cause you to question whether magnesium levels in your body are adequate, since low magnesium levels trigger abnormal heart rhythms. In fact, in the hospital we give intravenous magnesium to quiet down abnormal rhythms.
• Low potassium— Low magnesium commonly accompanies low potassium. Potassium is another electrolyte depleted by diuretic use and is commonly deficient in many conditions (e.g., excessive alcohol use, hypertension, loss from malabsorption or diarrhea). Like magnesium, potassium may not be fully replenished by modern diets.

Dr. Davis also lists migraine headaches, muscle cramps, and metabolic syndrome. Haven't had any of those lately. And I've been taking 750 mg of magnesium per day. He also mentions in another post that he has his patients take two 99mg potassium tablets two times a day. That's very close to what I've been taking: every time I feel fluttery, I take what I've come to think of as a chill pill.

However, a very interesting comment on the first post came from Jenny Ruhl of the Diabetes Update blog:

Most of the symptoms you describe will start to occur in people who did not have them before, if they embark on rigid low carb diets--20 grams a day or less.

It's possible that I'm eating that little carb; I hadn't counted. It sounds like it's time to try some homemade sweet potato fries with salsa.


Jan said...

You know, it's odd but going on a lower carb, nutrient dense diet made my heart palpitations disappear. And I only supplement with magnesium/potassium when my legs get crampy, which isn't very often.

Lori Miller said...

It just goes to show that everybody's needs are different, especially when it comes to fine tuning.