Updated: Nov 2, 2021
I’ve had pretty severe jaw pain since 2008. It’s my normal! My whole head and neck hurt, because all of my muscles are working really hard to stabilize the jaw joint.
I’m sure having MCAS makes it worse, since mast cells sensitize nerves.
This nerve sensitization makes you more sensitive to pain -- whatever kind of pain that might be for you. (We posted about this a while back, click here for that exploration.) I am mostly able to ignore it unless a meniscus slips out, which are the disks that sit in the jaw joint.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Pain is never fun. And back in 2008, I was in excruciating pain and desperate for help. I shared the history leading up to that pain in the last post.
My dentist referred me to another dentist who specialized in TMJ issues. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. It’s a fancy way of saying jaw joint. He was an incredibly compassionate practitioner. He was able to create a very customized appliance that would start to address the misalignment I had.
The problem was, I was still in pain and couldn’t open my mouth very far. He then referred me to a manual therapist. Hallelujah! I was able to regain some range of motion and get a handle on the pain.
Every week, I would go and have the menisci (plural of meniscus) recaptured in the joints, and I’d get some relief until they slipped out again. I was eventually able to reduce the frequency to once a month, but I plateaued.
The next decade was spent in an appliance, with monthly visits for manual therapy. I was grateful to have a management strategy, but it was a costly one, and one I didn’t want to keep up indefinitely. But what choice did I have? I had no other options.
This brings us to 2019. By then, I’d spent over a decade in dental appliances and getting manual therapy with little change. This is when I got my MCAS diagnosis and started to dive in to what my triggers for this condition might be.
Then I got the referral that would finally lead me to where I am right now, awaiting surgery.
All month long and in to November, Tracey will be sharing her journey as she is in line to undergo jaw surgery in an attempt to reduce the strain on her mast cells, contributing to her diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
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