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Alyx; he/him or they/them;

TMJD and Scoliosis

TMJD or Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a  term that refers to issues in the joints and muscles used to move the jaw. It's a fairly common condition with over 3 million U.S. cases per year, and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms often include popping or clicking of the jaw, locking of the jaw, and pain or discomfort. Treatment including mouth guards or pain medication is effective for some but not all TMJD patients.

Scoliosis refers to a sideways curvature of the spine. The cause of scoliosis isn't fully understood but symptoms often appear after a growth spurt in childhood. There are thought to be around 3 million cases each year in the U.S. alone. Many people can experience little to no symptoms, but for some it can cause extreme chronic pain and disability. Scoliosis is not curable and can only be treated with a brace or surgery, both of which are not always effective. 

This subject has severe pain in his jaw, neck, back, arm and leg on one side due to his combination of conditions. Nevertheless he is a very positive person and was fascinating to work with and hear from about his views on chronic pain and acceptance. He was born in Lima, Peru so we chose a jasmine vine (native to that area) to represent his pain. I ended up deciding to make a physical vine from wire, florists tape and polymer clay to really emphasize just how intense his symptoms are every day.

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