Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Not Quite Right

For almost a year now, I've been dealing with severe pain from my temporomandibular joint- aka TMJ aka my jaw. In a matter of days, I went from having a searing pain in my face to being incapable of opening my mouth further than 11 millimeters between my top and bottom teeth. My face swelled to the point where my vision was getting obscured and I could not turn my neck. Everything between my temple and my shoulders hurt.

It's getting better with the help of a dental splint (24/7 plastic retainer, essentially), time released muscle relaxants, rheumatoid arthritis medication, and now a nerve pain medication. But, also, after 10 months you just sort of get used to it a bit.

In the past month, my TMJ specialist referred me to a pain specialist for the neurological and pain aspects that go beyond his realm- like burning pain and pain in my neck and clavicle area. 

So, I went to the pain specialist and, for some reason, he decided to focused on my actual shoulder. Something that never bothered me too much outside of the whole radiating pain from my jaw and neck.

He sent me for an MRI of my shoulder and I grumbled about how pointless it was- yet another MRI that will show nothing significant. I could cover my living room in films from MRIs, X-rays, CAT scans, and ultrasounds that have shown nothing conclusive inside my body.

Of course, he managed to find something. I have what's called a SLAP tear in my shoulder and some swelling in the ligiments. Essentially, what baseball pitchers get when they blow out their arms.

I've never pitched in my life. I have no idea where this tear came from. I have a great range of motion in my shoulder, just my left arm is weak- as it has been ever since I experienced nerve damage in my wrist and thumb in it 13 years ago.

And I have no real pain that I feel coming from my shoulder... well, at least I didn't until last night.

I might've managed to step out of my car without putting it in park last night. Possibly. And I realized what I did and lunged back into the car to put it in park with just inches before it hit another (parked) car. In the process, my left shoulder managed to get mildly banged up by the car door (as did my right hip on the side of the car and my left ankle on the bottom of the car). So, tomorrow I have a consult with an orthopedic surgeon and will most likely have a bruise on my shoulder that previously didn't hurt.

I have a feeling this is going to complicate things.

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