Discussions that mention potassium

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint board


Has your wife had tests to confirm that inflammation is causing the pain? If you have made a post regarding testing she has had, I missed it. A lot of Doctors are reluctant to give oral and/or injected prednisone unless there is a serious disease that warrants it's use. Most DRs.(My Internist)included, believe that even a two week course of prednisone can cause adverse reactions. My experience with it has been with my Mother. About every 3 to 6 months she takes it a week to ten days at a time. The side affects are muscle cramping & weakness (due to potassium loss), blood pressure increase, insomnia, tinnitus, water retention, headache, and weight gain. She only takes it when she can almost not breathe. She usually gets a shot and then an oral pack. When she's on it, all of her aches and pains go away. After she's off of it a few days, the pain comes back. She has osteoporosis, herpatic neuralgia, herniated disc (lumbar) and arthritis. Steroid Therapy has saved her life, due to her lung problems, and given her a few pain-free days, but the damage it's done to her body is incredible. The scary part is, she only started using this stuff about 3 years ago at age 67. My Dr said that prednisone can literally "save your life" but it tears your body up. I think this is why prednisone is not normally used for pain management, even for the short term.

I have had tests several times in the past to determine "what" was causing head, face, neck, back, shoulder, arm & hand pain. MRIs, CTs, EMGs with Nerve Conduction Studies, and bloodwork, including cortisol production. During some of the worst "over-all" pain periods, nothing abnormal showed up. No inflammation, no nerve damage (except facial)& no muscle deterioration. I have been told after all of these testing marathons, that it has to be Fibromyalgia. (the first time this diagnosis was made was in 1986) I don't think I have it. I think I have muscle problems related to the pain & stress of TMJD.

I have Dr. Shankland's Books and find his theories interesting. I do believe that there is a possibility of overlapping syndromes. I also believe that most stages of TMJD can cause many seemingly unrelated symtoms. You mentioned inflammation of the stylomandibular ligament. The only info I've seen on that is the Earnest Syndrome Theory. I have had experience with the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which attaches to the sides of your face, down to your clavicle and then to the sternum. I've had several bouts of spasms with both sides and it is awful. The only thing that helped was massage therapy.

I have a problem with all muscle relaxants, especially the newer ones. (weird side affects). I also tried Ambien and it just made me feel worse the next day.
I also am unable to take antidepressants now, so I'm kind of limited with medicine.

In 86 when I was first diagnosed with Fibro (and not so chemically sensitive) I took Elavil, which helped with sleep immediately and helped with the muscle problems within a week or so. A couple of times, I took Robaxin (methocabamol), an older muscle relaxant, did not have any problems and it helped.

In the last 26 years, I have been tested for nearly everything you can imagine, tried every possible medication, been to every kind of Doctor and tried all kinds of alternative theories. (9 surgeries, 7 TMJD related)

I have found out that I am chemically sensitive (Drugs), my autonomic nervous system is shot and I have TMJD due to birth damage.

Trying to find answers will drive you crazy.
Back to the beginning. I know you said your wife has some cervical neck damage, but has anyone really tried to test for an accurate diagnosis causing the pain she's in?
If it's inflammation, there should be anti-inflammatories that would help.
If it's nerve damage there are medicines for that, some with undesirable side affects.(as you know)
If it's muscular (which the majority of mine has been)
a low dose narcotic, "klonopin", massage therapy and recently the splint is making an incredible difference.

I don't know if this post will help or not, but I wanted to mention one other possibility.( and you may have tried it) I was told a long time ago, that chronic pain brings with it a certain amount of anxiety and sometimes depression. I have only suffered brief periods of these with added stress (as with a death, Mother sick, etc). My Doctor has told me that even though I don't suffer depression, some antidepressants work well for sleep and chronic pain.
I tried them all and was unable to take them. We then tried "Klonopin", which works well for sleep, muscle spasms and periodic anxiety. A lot of Drs. don't like to prescribe it, but I have taken it on & off for years and not had a problem with it.

Maybe if you took a different approach, get everything possible ruled out, then you might have a better idea of how to treat this problem. That may be what you're trying to do. (Another thought: Have you tried a Rheumatologist or an Orthopedist?)

I "can" tell you that continuous severe muscle spasms can make you think you are going to die, can cause terrible anxiety and create a vicious cycle that is hard to break.

I do wish you the best in your seach for help,
Cymy Sue

[This message has been edited by Cymy Sue (edited 03-11-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Cymy Sue (edited 03-11-2003).]