Friday, 23 August 2013

Massage for Jaw & Neck Pain

At the end of April I was desperate to have some relief so I booked a massage therapist. It was going to cost me £20 for a 30 minute session but if it worked it would be worth it. After discussing my case with the massage therapist, we both agreed to try deep tissue massage with hot stones.

The woman was really lovely and the room was cozy and warm. She put some relaxing music on and I placed my head into the hole at the end of the bed. Because my face is sensitive to pressure and touch, I placed my head so my forehead was taking the weight away from my jaw and face area.

The therapist was really shocked at how hard my muscles were and decided to concentrate mainly on the shoulders and neck. These are my main two problem areas. The hot stones felt lovely and although the massage hurt it was a nice pain. It felt like tension was being taken away from the area. After I left the therapist I felt really happy and light. I had hardly any pain and for the first time in a long time it wasn't too hard to drive.

Normally I find it very difficult to drive as I am constantly using my neck to look around and I have to use my shoulders to steer and turn the wheel. The therapist had told me I may feel tired so I should rest and have a light dinner. I felt the complete opposite. I felt alive and nearly pain free. This was amazing.

The next day I woke up and I was sore and a little stiff but was happy that I had relief the day before. The next few days I used less pain relief and cut out ibruprofen completely.

When I went back the next week to the massage therapist she did not use the hot stones. Again I had this amazing light and happy feeling when I left but the next day I was in complete agony. I was also very drained and lacked any energy. I searched the Internet and without fail the usual horror stories pop up.... No matter what is wrong with you, you are dying lol. Some man had gone for a massage therapy and died of kidney failure. Apparently when you have a massage it releases all the toxins and bad chemicals built up in the muscles and this seeps back into your blood. The body then has the job of filtering and removing the toxins. This makes perfect sense to me. My therapist had pressed and rubbed very hard on muscles that had been tense for a long period of time and had probably accumulated a lot of toxic acid inside them.

I didn't really like this feeling but because this was the only treatment I have tried that actually seemed to relieve my pain, I wanted to continue with it.

During the May bank holidays one of my Essix retainers broke. The one that was for my top teeth. I was in a blind panic as I knew I would have to wait over 4 days before I could get to the hospital for a new one. When I don't wear my retainers for a period of time I feel my teeth moving and you can see how much my front teeth move apart. Within 3 days of not wearing them I had a gap between my two front middle teeth. I went to the emergency clinic and explained the situation to one of the junior staff. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal but I hadn't gone through 5 years of braces for nothing. He initially tried to charge me £150. I flat out refused. I explained to him that I did not have the money and that was not the deal I had with my orthodontist. I had wanted fixed retainers as they would last forever but he advised against them.

When I originally had my retainers I asked for fixed retainers as the Essix ones are not practical and they make me gag. My orthodontist said that it would be better to stick with the Essix retainers. He explained that with the fixed retainers I would find it hard to floss and it would be hard to maintain a good level of oral hygiene. I agreed to stick with the Essix retainers and was instructed to wear them every night. So long story short…. the junior guy agreed to make me a new upper set and took new moulds of my teeth. My teeth now have a gap in between them so I am not happy and keep having flashes of the surgeon telling me I have relapsed. The junior orthodontist then said I will have to wait 2 weeks for my new retainers to be ready. I cannot wait that long! I have already waited 4 days before having the moulds. I decide to text my orthodontist Professor Cobourne and explain the situation. He says he will have the new retainers ready to pick up on my appointment which was Friday. Not so bad I thought!

Over the next couple of days I was in agony. I am really stressed and my teeth are really painful and my gums are tender. My appointment came and I picked up my new retainers. I popped them into my mouth straight away and could feel them pulling on my teeth. Just like when you have your braces tightened. I went home dosed myself up on pain relief and lay on the sofa with my teddy and pillow. The evening came and I was hungry. I went to take my retainers out but could not. I normally use a piece of tissue to grab the back of the retainers to pull them out. The retainers were fused to my teeth. They would not budge one bit. I tried yanking from the front but it just felt like I was going to pull my whole set of teeth clean out of my mouth. I tried a few times and started to get upset. I was hungry, frustrated and now I was in a lot of pain. I started to cry and used my anger to try and pull the retainers out of my mouth. But nothing worked. I then went upstairs and put loads of toothpaste around the gums and retainers to try lubricate it. Much like you do soap with a ring stuck on your finger. I tried again and it didn't work. I tried using kitchen towel and even a face towel to get a grip on the retainer. Mum suggested using warm water as it is plastic and that might allow it to defuse and come out. This is no way near ideal. I used warm water in my mouth and spat it out. I then gave it two more attempts before it came out. I was relieved but my neck and facial muscles were not. My neck had completely spasmed and my jaw joints hurt from opening my mouth wide for a long period of time.

By this stage I was not hungry and opted for a soft food dinner. This same drama of removing the retainers continued for the first 4 days while my teeth got back into a sensible position.

When I went back to see my massage therapist she decided to use the hot stones again and go a bit lighter. Half way through the massage she pressed on the front of my neck and a sharp nerve pain went up to my brain. In the drama of this week’s retainer episode I had managed to tear my sternocleidomastoid muscles. These muscles are responsible for eating, speaking, turning your head and breathing. No wonder id not been able to do much. She said it was a nasty injury and would take a while to mend itself.

During this session the lady also started discussing my muscles and how mine are slightly weird. Tell me something I don't know lol I am walking weirdness. She said when she pressed on my trigger points my muscles would often kick back and spasm up. She has never seen this when doing trigger point therapy. The massage therapist then suggested that I might want to see an osteopath to see if they could give a diagnosis on the issue. I do not have the money at the moment but when I do I plan to book an appointment.

I am still waiting on my hospital to get back to me with an appointment for pain clinic. They cancelled my last appointment as the head consultant Mr Poate had gone off on sick. The other doctors did not want to make a decision as my case is quite complex so I must wait for him to return. Hopefully this will be soon.

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Lots of love always,