You know what blows? Lockjaw. Every morning, I wake up with my jaw locked a little bit. I can open my mouth so that my teeth are about an inch apart, but in order to open wider, I need to pop my jaw. The locking lasts about thirty seconds to two minutes on most mornings, and I can pop my jaw either by moving my mouth a certain way or pushing slightly on the left side of my face, right in front of my ear, where the lock is happening. It's annoying, but it's never been too big a deal.
About two weeks ago, I woke up and had the lockjaw, as usual. I tried all the regular things, but it didn't go away. I did a little extra massaging with my fingers, tried some relaxation (really difficult for me, especially with the jaw - sometimes I'll think I'm relaxing but I'm not), but nothing worked. It wasn't until after I brushed my teeth with my handy electric toothbrush and did a bit more massaging that it finally popped. It was stiff for the rest of the morning, but at least it popped.
It is now 3:58 pm. I woke up this morning at 10:45 am with the lockjaw. I still have it. My mouth opens, but my teeth will only go about an inch apart, like this:
I've tried a lot of the regular stuff, none of which worked. I did some research online about lockjaw and TMJ, and after getting thoroughly scared, I started looking up "temporary solutions" and found this list:
Put ice on your face for 10 minutes.
Then open as wide as you can for 2 minutes.
Follow this with 10 minutes of hot, moist packs.
Then, massage your jaws and face as deeply as you can without hurting yourself.
I did that, and it hasn't really helped. I did, however, document each step so that you all could get the full effect. Here you go:
This is me icing my jaw.
This is me stretching my jaw open.
This is me, laying down with the heating pad.
This is me, angry and crabby because nothing is working.
This is me trying to read some book for book club tonight, mostly as a means to distract myself from my jaw. That's not working either.
I'm so annoyed. And I know I should have gone to the dentist or to a specialist or something by now, but I haven't, okay? Jeez. Lay off. I am, however, also kind of amused at the range of emotions I've gone through this morning. The regular feelings of having the lockjaw when I first get up slowly shifted into a slight panic. Then I used my awesome dealing-with-anxiety tools to calm myself down. Then I got angry, man! I sort of shoved the bathroom counter really hard, which then made me laugh because, really Reem? The bathroom counter? I almost cried at some point too. I wondered it I should pray. Later on, thinking about this whole situation, I laughed some more.
Finally, I felt some acceptance and went out to breakfast with Lia. See, this is the thing! I was totally able to eat, and it's not that it's terribly painful...it's just that I can't open my mouth all the way. My sister asked me about my levels of pain and discomfort; so far, it's only uncomfortable when I try to open my mouth because, obviously, I can't. I gave it a 4-5 on the Discomfort Chart. The pain, I'm not so sure about. I have a slightly skewed pain tolerance...I'm never sure how bad it "really is," you know? So...what is there left to do, really? I'm thinking I should probably go to the doctor, but only if it's still around tomorrow morning. For now, I'm going to keep laying down and trying to relax. Talking is mostly out of the question at this point because I'm trying to relax completely and not really move my face. So I guess that's that, for now at least...I'm gonna lay on the bed.
Just as an aside, do any of you watch Arrested Development? I've had this one thing in my head all morning...Tobias (David Cross's character), who is notorious for saying some pretty homosexual remarks on accident, says at some point that he'd like to "have a jaw session" with Michael (Jason Bateman). He means he wants to talk with him...I can't stop thinking about it. See, pain and discomfort bring on funny things once in awhile.
Here's Tobias saying funny things (not including "jaw session," but still funny):
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