Thursday, 12 August 2010

So much to eat, so unable to eat:(

I am currently having a TMJ flare up. This means I do not have the ability or the desire to eat anything remotely hard or crunchy. TMJ should stand for Terribly Painful Jaw but actually stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint.

I have been unfortunately suffering from TMJ disorder for over 20 years and apart from the onset, which was very painful, I have remained for the main part pain free. But I do unfortunately have the occaisional painful flare up which usually lasts a few weeks (if lucky). Okay, long story below of my TMJ history for anyone who's interested - you have been warned: it's long, confusing, and probably just a tad boring.

Around 20 years ago I was dozing on the settee one evening, think I'd had a cold or something. As I sat up an enormous click came from my jaw joint, so loud that my OH heard it! It wasn't painful or anything, just very loud! Sometime after that I had a lot of aching around my mouth - my teeth would ache, my jaw would ache, my gums would ache, and it would move from one place to another willy nilly. Then from this my jaw began clicking a lot when opening and this was not a pleasant experience.
As time went on my jaw would then get stuck occasionally. I would be eating pizza for example and not able to open my mouth very far but then after a few minutes of chewing it would release.
Then after another period of time, my jaw would open so far and then snap shut, almost like it was held in place with rubber bands! All this was very worrying but as one usually does, I just waited to see what would happen. Eventually I went to the doctor who said take painkillers and to make sure that I kept opening and shutting my mouth.
After another few months I developed very bad pains around my jaw area and I was at work one morning when I could take it no longer and went to my dentist in tears. He saw me immediately and said that my jaw muscles had gone into spasm, gave me a muscle relaxant and made an urgent referral to the dental hospital. He said to take the muscle relaxant over the weekend and phone him on Monday. This I did and the muscle must have released as the pain went BUT I was unable to open my mouth any wider than about 1.5 centimetres-very scarey, and I seemed to have no strength in my jaw. Happy that the pain had gone, miserable that I couldn't open my mouth much I concentrated on regaining the strength in the muscle and waited for my hospital appointment. Over the course of a few months while waiting for the appointment I managed to eat better and my mouth gradually opened to around 2.25 centimetres where it has remained ever since.
The average person should be able to put 4 fingers between their front top and bottom teeth, but at 2.25 centimeters I can't even put 2.

Okay that's enough for one blog-more to come!!!

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