For those of you who have been following my progress after my athrocentesis for TMJ, I had my final check up at 15 weeks yesterday! From my perspective, I haven’t been having much pain for the past month and a half. Every now and then I get a dull ache after a lot of chewing or talking, but it usually dissipates within an hour without medication, but its not a frequent occurrence. Also, the clicking/popping/ squishing sound in my joints have also abated, and only occur sometimes.
Anyway, the doctors said that my range of motion is back to normal (jutting the jaw out and wiggling side to side) but the opening is even smaller than my previous check up (only by 1mm). I explained how the opening varies by day but it is, on a good day, only approximately 2.5 fingers (I don’t have any other way of explaining it). However, there’s no pain per se, but a bit of a stretching, irritable feeling when I try to open my mouth wide, on the side of my procedure (but as soon as I stop trying there’s no feeling). Apparently, when I was sedated during the procedure, they were able to open my jaw 3 fingers wide, which is the norm. Because of the lack of pain, they believe that the inability to fully open is possibly due to my own stress and the muscle acting up, as opposed to the jaw. They prescribed muscle relaxers (Flexaril) to take at night and see if it improves the opening the following day. I did so last night, and this morning I can fit 2 fingers loosely in my opening, as opposed to a tight fit yesterday. We will see if it improves as I continue taking the medication.
Long story short, although I’m not 100% back to normal, the athrocentesis procedure helped me tremendously. Anyone with TMJ knows that the pain can be excruciating… and honestly, I can live with a small opening but NOT with that pain. So for me, it was a great improvement and the right decision to have the procedure done. The healing process (especially the first 4 weeks) was a nightmare, and I was double guessing myself…but 15 weeks out I am very glad I did it.
Will update with the effects of the muscle relaxer in a few weeks