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Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?

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Old 05-19-2005, 09:03 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7
MichelleATL HB User
Question Jaw stuck open - Terrible tension-type headaches - suggestions for night, please?!

Hi! I've been dealing with TMJ for 10 years now, but it has only been "minor" (i.e., jaw hurts some, occasional 4-5 second "locks", etc...) I've controlled it through heat, and watching carefully what I eat, yawning too wide, etc. I did see a doctor years back, but the only cure he offered was surgery, so I haven't been back.

After reading some of the stories here, I guess I've been very blessed! That is, until January of this year. I yawned and my jaw completely stuck open. I couldn't get it closed - ended up in the ER having to get it manipulated shut again. They gave me a prescription for flexeril and lortab (12). The flexeril, though leaving me foggy, seems to work wonders. Unfortunately, I had a reaction to the flexeril after taking it a couple days (heart racing, tingling extremities, etc.. "dystonic" reaction the doc said?)

Since then, I have been getting increasing headaches, which seem to only be getting worse and no longer respond to OTC pain meds (tylenol, motrin, Goodies powders..nothing) I still have 2 of the original 12 lortab that I am "saving" for the really debilitating headaches.

Ok, long story short. I *KNOW* I'm stressed (husband undergoing job change, money issues, etc.) and tend to clench my jaw etc. I think muscle relaxants (at night only, I need to be functioning during the day as I have 2 small kids to take care of) would be an incredible help. I can't sleep so many nights because I am in so much pain and my whole jaw, neck, etc... feels so tense.

So, here is my question, if I can't take flexeril, what can I take? What really helps? I was in a car wreck about 7 years ago and took Soma for a neck strain, which I didn't have a reaction too, but I've read here that some doctors don't like to prescripe it. I read some here use valium. I've never taken any sedatives, benzos etc.. How do you ask for a prescription? I feel like a "drug seeker" even asking, but I have got to get some relief. Is it better to ask the family doctor or the dentist (I'm seeing a new dentist for TMJ next week - but he is an old family friend)

Thanks for any advice and it is SO good to know I'm not the only one!!

(who's head feels like it may fall off right now, but I've got to go take care of my two kiddos!)

Last edited by MichelleATL; 05-20-2005 at 07:43 AM.

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Old 05-20-2005, 07:41 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7
MichelleATL HB User
Re: Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?

Any ideas? Please?! Yesterday evening got so bad, that I'm going to my primary care doc today to see if I can get something to help me until I go to the new TMJ dentist on June 2. I've never asked a doctor to prescribe anything stronger than antibiotics, so I'm really unsure what/how to ask for something. Any suggestions on what I could take/ask for (short-term till my dentist appt) that has helped others at night?

Thank you!

Last edited by MichelleATL; 05-20-2005 at 07:49 AM.

Old 05-20-2005, 10:17 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
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luvtocamp HB Userluvtocamp HB User
Re: Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?

I would just ask the doctor. You shouldn't be worrying about what they'll think. Call a pharmicist and ask him what he'd recommend. Hope your feeling better soon..

Old 05-20-2005, 03:43 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2005
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MichelleATL HB User
Re: Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?

Thanks for the response! I was prescribed Skelaxin (for daytime use b/c they said minimal side effects) and Darvocet for nightime. Not until I got home and read the prescription info did I realize that Darvocet is just a narcotic pain reliver...argh...I *really* wanted/needed a muscle relaxer for nighttime use.

My doctor's other suggestion was zanaflex, to be taken a night. She said that the drowsiness, etc. would be gone by the next day, but the effects would linger. She said I could call her for that if the Skelaxin caused sedation.

Anyone have any experience with Zanaflex? I'd rather take that at night than a narcotic, as I need something to relax the muscles, not just knock me out.


Old 05-23-2005, 08:50 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 93
juulie HB User
Re: Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?

Michelle, I tried zanaflex, flexeril and even valium for my muscle headaches. Honestly, nothing worked as good as Soma. I take 4 a day. They really don't make me sleepy and I can function fine during the day, but of course everyone is different in how they react.

Don't feel like a drug seeker. I felt that way at first but if you find the right doctor, they will know you are in pain and try to help with meds. My doctor told me he can spot a drug seeker right away, but that he can easily tell them apart from those that really need it.

Let us know. Julie

Old 05-23-2005, 10:50 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: The Sunshine State
Posts: 223
meditation HB User
Re: Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?

Sorry to hear you are going through such horrible pain.

Throughout the years, doctors have tried other things as muscle relaxants on me. Such as valium, elavil, ativan. What about robaxin?

I hope the you find something that helps you.

Feel better ((hug))

Oh, I am in no way promoting taking drugs and drinking. But, if you are not taking anything...a glass of wine is a good muscle relaxant. Again, make sure no drugs are in your system, though

Last edited by meditation; 05-23-2005 at 10:51 AM.

Old 05-31-2005, 09:01 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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queenpooch HB User
Re: Jaw stuck open - Now terrible tension-type headaches, will muscle Relaxants help?


This is awful isn't it? I get so angry sometimes about my TMJ pain. It's just not fair! You seem desperate to get rid of the pain just like I do.

Did you know they figured out that Vincent Van Gogh had TMJ, hence his insanity, cutting off his ear and eventual suicide! And he had opium!

I have been suffering from debilitating TMJ headaches twice a month for a year now. At first, I thought they were migraines. The headaches are in the back of my head and unlike any regular headaches I've ever had. The pain is so awful, and no over the counter meds will touch it. I also recently started with ear and face pain. I knew I've always been a teeth grinder at night, but I didn't put 2 and 2 together until my husband said, "Maybe it has to do with you chewing on rocks all night." I researched it and sure enough, I have TMJ. I happened to have some Neurontin left from a treatment for anxiety and depression (for which I quit taking meds because of side effects.) Neurontin is a medication they primarily give epileptics. I remembered reading that Neurontin was sometimes given to people with bruxism (teeth grinding.) I tried 300 mgs and an hour later, NO MORE PAIN. Trouble is, it makes me uncoordinated and clumsy, as well as mentally foggy. When I take it, I make a lot of mistakes at work (which is accounting I do in my home.) I'm pretty sure it lowers my IQ too. You're supposed to take it consistantly also - it will cause seizures if you stop and start.

Since the meds make me feel bad, I've been researching natural and alternative methods. I read somewhere to take 300 mgs of B2, 25,000 mg of calcium with the right ratio of magnesium and vitamin C at night. I'm still looking in to all that. Also, I've been wearing a nightguard on my front top teeth at night, which helped a lot at first, but now the symptoms have returned. (It was very expensive from the dentist.) Someone said to buy an inexpensive mouthguard from a sports shop and wear it at night, so I'm trying that next. I'm wondering if there is accupuncture treatment for this also.

By the way, a chiropractor once told me that if you grind your teeth and clench your jaw at night, it means you have repressed anger toward someone and want revenge. Interesting, huh?

Anyway, I'm sick of all of this garbage and I'm going to keep researching the alternative stuff and the nightguards. I hope you have found some relief from your pain! I feel for ya!

[We are asked to not use cuss/slang words. Please write words like "bad" or "horrible", or "garbage" etc. Thanks - Well-come Moderator.]

Last edited by Well-come; 06-01-2005 at 08:57 PM. Reason: Removed cuss/slang words.

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