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Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

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Old 11-20-2009, 04:53 PM   #1
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Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

Any suggestions on what to do to relieve the pain of a locked jaw? I'm overdue for the Botox that I usually get with my surgeon every 10 weeks, and on Wednesday evening, my jaw locked in a sideways position and won't release. The muscle spasm is awful and the pain is getting unbearable. I can open a little bit, but I'm very restricted and deviated. I feel the muscle pain up through my temples and in the back of my eyes. I'm taking pain meds, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, which are only helping some. Does anyone have some tricks to help relieve the muscle spasm that comes with a jaw lock?

For some history...I'm getting arthroplasty on Dec. 21 to remove my right disc and pack the joint with abdominal fat. I've had three surgeries: bilateral arthroscopy in Nov. 2007, left arthroplasty in Oct. 2008 and right arthroplasty in April 2009; in both arthroplasties, a Mitek anchor was drilled in and fat was packed into the joint being operated on. My surgeon has said if removing my right disc this next surgery relieves me of some pain, he'd like to do the exact same procedure to my left joint. We're trying to put off bilateral joint replacement because of my age, but if this Decemeber surgery fails, we're going to start considering joint replacement surgery as something to do in the near future. I'd greatly appreciate any advice, opinions, etc. on how we're going about treating my jaw and all. Right now, I just want it to be Dec. 21 to hopefully start my journey to getting some relief!

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Old 11-20-2009, 05:45 PM   #2
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Re: Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

Hi-- i wanted to post this so others that lock closed can benefit from this. Since you've had surgeries, consult with your doctor before doing this, but for others that wake up locked, etc. , asap---gag yourself really hard. The position that it puts your lower jaw in will recapture the disc usually. I know, it happened to me many times. It sounds gross, I know, but it could save you from many months in a splint to recapture the disc.....Like I said though, check w-your surgeon first since you've had procedures done already. You may want to put a hot water bottle on the muscles around the joint for a bit, before attempting it. Good luck to you...

Last edited by moderator2; 11-27-2009 at 05:25 PM. Reason: please do not quote when you are the first to reply

Old 11-26-2009, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

Dear JMJ225,
I agree with J Mitchell that putting heat on the muscle will help. As you've said, you need to coast until December 21st and then take it from there.
I've been in your shoes, and it's a lousy place to be. One of the strategies I use to help with the spasm is this: close your eyes for a minute and picture your lower jaw relaxing and dropping down, then see the tension draining down through your jaw and out into the air and away from you. I see the tension being pulled out of my jaw and leaving. I know it sounds corny, but with 26 years of experience with this, I can tell you that it works. I do this visualization several times a day. It doesn't cure anything but it helps with the tension.
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Old 11-27-2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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Re: Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

Thanks so much for that advice...just reading your post made me go through those steps in my head and it really does help! I did biofeedback for a while which taught me how to get in that "zone," so I'm definitely going to start using your trick. My jaw still has been in the same lock it was when I posted my original message. It locked last Wednesday, and the spasms are getting worse and worse. The tightness has traveled down to my neck, shoulder and upper-back muscles and the jaw pain is out of control. I've been using this moist-heat thing I have (you just stick it in the microwave), but that hasn't done much. I'm going to get a deep-tissue massage sometime before my surgery with a massage therapist who I've seen before and knows about my condition, so I'm hoping that she will relieve some of the tightness in my neck/shoulder area. My surgeon (Dr. Hoffman) had been out of the country for two weeks doing pro bono work, so I wasn't able to get Botox or anything for relief. Dr. Hoffman called back on Wednesday and decided that he wants to remove both of my discs this surgery ! It makes sense to me and I agree with the decision, I'm just really scared; I've never had bilateral open-jaw surgery. I have had bilateral arthroscopic surgery, but open-jaw is just so different. Dr. Hoffman wants to do the Botox as part of my surgery so it sounds like I'm just going to have to stick it out with this lock until Dec. 21. Thanks for everything and I'll take any advice I can get!

Old 11-27-2009, 11:05 PM   #5
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Re: Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

My TMJ issues are nowhere as bad as what you are experiencing. I was just diagnosed officially a couple months ago.

The last two posts on using relaxation techniques to help with the muscle tension touched on an area my TMJ dentist wants me to focus on. He gave me a CD to listen to and help me with the process. It is called Freedom from TMJ: Power Dream by Denise Lynch. It basically helps me relax the muscles throughout my body with a focus on the head, face, jaw and neck muscles. Personally, I tend to fall asleep before the CD ends because I get so relaxed. I figure it is helping though.

Good luck hanging in there until December. My thoughts are with you.


Old 11-30-2009, 12:39 AM   #6
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Re: Jaw Locked...Suggestions???

Oh gosh, my jaw has never locked but I know about those horrific muscle spasms. My PT said that during acute phases ICE is best. Heat is for the chronic pain. I did not know this. He told me to put water in a paper cup, freeze that and then after, rub the area gently for pain and spasm relief. It really did help. I went 3 days without being able to barely sip coffee (warm). I could not eat a thing and the pain brought me to my knees, literally. Those spasms are HORRIBLE. I am SO sorry you are suffering right now. Once you get the spasms to stop, get back to the exercises that we learn in PT and then get back to the moist heat. I have to do daily heat therapy and exercises, and I rub my face as my therapist did. I also have a night guard to help keep my jaw from clenching, which will create those spasms as well.

Let us know how you are doing..

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