I've been reading some of your latest posts and am just wondering how you're doing lately? Have you had any improvement in your pain level? How about opening? Have you tried anything new to help with the pain?
thanks for thinking of me and asking. i can tell that the damage from the surgery is starting to heal (nerve damage, suturing complications...) but my opening is still limited. i haven't progressed 1mm on the opening since surgery. the lateral is o.k. and as for protrusion: forget about it - no dice. i really can't believe it as i have gone to pt 3x per wk since surgery and its been 7 months. i can tell you this though (and its entirely from gathering info from you and others on this board): my limitation and pain is from the disc being sutured. the disc wants to move and it can't. this limits the opening and protrusion thus causing alot of pain. there really is no long-term remedy for taming the pain for me. the pt is either stretching the disc or stretching the suture - one of them has to give. when this happens i will assess where i'm at and try to proceed with conservative therapy that will address any remaining problems. i was going to ask you if you still have the noises in the joint where you had the discectomy? did you find out why that is? i hope you are still making progress - it gives me hope. i know you will be given the "all clear" to chew more solid foods soon. i'm sure with the progress you have made, your jaw will be able to handle it. i am so glad to read about your progress. thanks for always answering my questions and giving me a basis of comparison.
Hi PWC. I'm sorry to hear you are still doing so poorly. Have you considered, or is it even possible, to get another surgeon who is willing to cut the sutures holding the discs in place? I've never heard of this, but think it could be done. I'm assuming you have found a new tmj doctor. I know you are trying to stick with conservative treatments at this point, due to the problems you have had. Does anyone say you will come out of this? Can the sutures be stretched or anything? I'm just amazed that someone would do this. Have you found anyone else who has had this done?
As for me, I am still not completely healed. I'm not supposed to chew until Aug. 1st, but couldn't wait. I chew on occasion, and every time I do, I deal with excrutiating pain the next day. I understand I started too early, but what's going to happen at that magical 6 month mark that's going to make it okay? If it's killing me now, won't it then? I thought for sure I was healed at this point. I've managed to get my opening up to about 47 or 48 mm which is incredible. I don't know what a normal opening is, but this is close enough for me. The side I had the discectomy on still rubs and grinds, but the doc said it's normal. It's not associated with pain, so at this point, I won't worry about it. I got off all my meds except the anti inflammatories, but now, I'm considering going back on something. I guess I'll take it easy for the next 2 months, and see what happens then. I'm just so sick of yogurt, applesauce and soup. I've been planning my Aug. 1st meal for awhile now, but I think the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich may be out forever!
i have to tell you - if these (or this) sutures were visible from the outside i would cut them myself - no kidding. i have asked 2 different surgeons if they could go back in and cut them and "put me back the way i was" but they said once the surgery is done "its done." i have even contacted the manufacturer of the suture to ask them of the tensile (spelling?) strength of their sutures and from the information i got i think they will be holding onto my disc for a long time. i basically wanted to know: what is stronger - the disc or the suture? what will break first - the disc or the suture? no one can answer my question. that is why i am agressive with the pt - at this point i have a disc that needs to move and sutures holding it back. what the surgeons tell me though is that one of the two will give. ah, i already know that. i did speak to another patient (of the same surgeon) and her suture broke about 1 yr. after her surgery. she, at this point, is not doing well. this seems to be the surgeons technique - to tie back the disc. i can tell you (and you well know) these discs want to move and need to move. i am glad you have maintained your mm on the opening. that is incredible. not only will i never eat a philly cheesteak sandwich but i will never have a 47-48 mm opening! you are one up on me. i know what you mean about getting bored from the soft food diet and i'm sure it was you feeling better that gave you the desire to chew. i hope it is a matter of your masticatory muscles adjusting. you may just need something for the pain for a short while. i can tell, from your other posts and replies to my questions that you have followed all the advice from your pt and doctors so i know you are moving ahead. just maintaining the opening is a victory. i am going to make a mental note of aug. 1 and ask you how your first formal meal was. you give me hope though. if it wasn't for you and everyone else who shared their stories and progress i would not have been able to narrow down what it is that is stopping me from progressing. a world of thanks.
Tandy, I think a normal opening is 40-50 mm so you are right on target. Congrats. I know you are sick of soft foods but I'm begging you to stay on it for a couple more months. I'd hate to see something happen!
PWC, I know your story as we have talked. I think part of the reason your surgery failed is because the idiot surgeon did too much during a scope. My surgeon said he would never suture the disc during a scope! His objective with the scope is to break up adheasions and hopefully get the disc moving on it's own. I still haven't decided what to do. My regular TMJ doc thinks the scope will be a waste of time and $$, that I need a surgeon to take out the disc completely. I go back to see one of the two surgeons I like on Thursday.
I appreciate your thoughts. I just hope that someday, you too will get your answer. Whether it's the suture breaking, or just slowly loosening it up a bit, or, who knows, maybe having the full discectomy, I hope you don't have to go on this way forever. You have been a big help to so many on this board with your story and your research, you deserve a break too! Good luck with the rest of your recovery.
Thanks for the support. I think I'll stick with it. What's 2 more months of my life in the grand scheme of things? Let us know how your appointment goes and what you decide to do. Don't forget, once you go the route of disc removal, you can't go back. But, then again, if your discs are just junk, why keep them? The discectomy is a much more serious surgery. Open joint always is. Since I had arthroscopy on one side and a discectomy on the other, I know the exact difference in healing and recovery. I'm sure you'll make the right decision either way.