Sunday, November 22, 2009

monthly panic attack, check

It seems it's time for the monthly "this-is-totally-never-going-to-heal-I'll-be-a-freak-my-entire-life" freak out. Please, fellow post-jaw surgery friends, answer me one or more of the following:

1) How long after surgery did you have to do physical therapy - and what was that physical therapy? I'm doing the stupid tongue depressor stack-of-hell, the awful squash ball between the back teeth, and the push the lower jaw to one side or the other and hold.
2) How is your range of motion now, and what was it like 4.5-ish months post op?
3) Can you move your lower jaw side to side? What about forward and backwards? When were you able to start doing this?

It feels like I'm going nowhere with this physical therapy, and it's beginning to wear on me. It feels like I'm doing it all for nothing, as nothing is improving except for maybe my tolerance for pain. I'm back to icing again, perhaps will try heating before the therapy stuff.

What are my other options? I've called my surgeon. She says to do the exercises more, but I'm doing them all I can.

At a bit of a breaking point here...


Corey said...

i know i'm a little bit behind you, but neither my surgeon nor my ortho have given me exercises. The OS says it will come back when it comes back, and I actually don't see him again until my braces are off. the first time my ortho saw me after surgery he looks at my mouth and goes "oh, you can't open all the way?" uhhh no. "When will you be able to open all the way?" uhhhhhhhhh.....

I can't really move my jaw any which way except to eat. If I were you I wouldn't worry too much. Maybe see another surgeon. I'm sure mine would be impressed with how far you can open :-)

Jackie said...

Hi Stephanie! Sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time.

Wow, I just realized I am 2 months post op :)

I do not have to do any physical therapy exercises.

My range of motion is just about back to what it was. When I mouth seems to open just as wide as before though I do feel "a litte pressure" for lack of knowing how to describe it.

I can move my jaw side to side and forwards and backwards.

I agree with OS said things will gradually begin to improve and they have.

What is happening with your jaw? Are you having pain? Can't open far enough to eat? Jaw freezing up? Just curious :) I hope things improve for you really soon!

Melinda said...

Bummer Steph! I'm not a post-op so I can't answer your questions, but you're in my prayers!!

Katherine (Kate) said...

Monthly panic attack: Piss Off!!

1) Didn't do any PT aside from eating things I shouldn't, albeit very carefully.... and yawning due to med-inspired sleep deficit.
2) ROM is back to normal opening-wise
3) Side-to-side works fine, but as I sit here trying it out, there are definitely still a few creaks, pops and groans the first few tries. Same with forward/backward movement.

Dude, if you're feeling crap is others' progress not going to bum you out more? You had a fairly dramatic movement and LOTS going on all at one time, this has GOT to affect the speed of outcome. Maybe your muscles are just super strong from all that marathoning and showing off their super-human strength. Guess this isn't an occassion where persistance is a virtue, eh?

Your heat before therapy is a good plan; it certainly can't hurt. I'm sorry this is taking so long for you, girl, and really hope something gives soon, so you can see that light at the end of the tunnel.

I've no experience with it (and I know you tried it for the migraine pain) but accupuncture has been used as therapy for loosening up joints. It could be worth a try....
Bella comes to mind as one who used & liked this, and I know there were a couple others, just having a mental fart over whose blogs I saw it in... It's a thought.

No breaking, Steph. You're in it(and it sucks), but something will eventually give. Thinking of you, and the human-equivalent-of-slinky-jawed-karma headed your way ;)

Virginia said...

I am roughly six months post-op on a BSSO (9mm advancement). I did not have any official physical therapy, but I've had regular visits with my acupuncturist (~weekly) and my medical massage therapist (~2 weeks) and those really helped. The acupuncture was especially good with the swelling at the beginning and the massage has been great for muscle pain during healing. I have had some problems with TMJ-like pain on one side or the other at various points, but the massages have really helped with that.

As for movement, I don't have full range of motion yet, but it's getting better every week. I'd guess I'm maybe 80% back on vertical open and close, with some tightness and pulling on the sides when I get to maximum openness. I have some side to side and front to back movement now too, but I try not to do that too much because sometimes it aggravates the TMJ-type pain.

One thing that I'm having trouble with personally is that since the surgery, not all of my back molars touch when I bite down anymore. There are some vertical gaps that my ortho is still trying to close. The front occlusion is great, but having those gaps in the back not only makes chewing difficult, but it's hard to tell whether the problem is with my jaw or my teeth.

BTW - I was also told (by my ortho) to stop wearing my rubber bands for a couple months because of inflammation of my left jaw joint (reported by my massage therapist). Taking them out has really helped with the joint pain, but has set back progress on getting rid of the vertical gap between the molars. Ugh.

So yeah, good luck with everything! It will get better - just keep looking forward!