I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13, and had surgery at the EDIT in 2001. It is now about 13 years later, and I've been suffering for the past 5 years with jaw, neck, and shoulder pain. Initially when I noticed the jaw pain, it was intermittent, so it wasn't till about 2 years later that I brought it up to my dentist. I had seen a few different dentists, and all of them associated the pain with my tempormandibular joint, and diagnosed me with tmj disorder. I had a few bite splints made, which has only been beneficial in that it prevents my teeth from grinding together. The bite splints have not reduced any pain. I was not making any progress in regard to the pain, and I had tried several anti inflammatory drugs, along with steroid injections, and I did not have any relief at all. The dentist I was seeing, was pushing me towards botox injections, but after everything I tried, I was reluctant. I was reluctant, because he presented this option in the same way he presented the others which were of no benefit to me. Although, he did say I was not a candidate for surgery, and he felt braces would not be helpful.
I decided not to see this dentist anymore, because I had been going through the motions for about 3 years and I did not make any progress, and I was still in pain. I ended up seeing a oral surgeon, and he felt that I did not have TMJD. He felt my issue was myofascial pain, and it was stemming from the muscles not the joints. His only advice was to continue wearing the bite splint, along with physical therapy and massage therapy.
I do apologize for how long this is...After a month (3 x per week) with the physical therapist and a massage therapist I noticed a huge difference with the pain levels. I had a lot more pain initially, but over time it got better. Apparently, the issue was my posture! To make an already long story, not any longer, somewhat shorter...My neck was sticking out too far, which caused most of the pain in the neck, jaw, shoulders, traps, etc... These muscles were also very tight, and my shoulders were very high. To my amazement, the surgeon who operated on me, never noticed this at any of the post op appointments. Although, I can't quite remember if the posture was the same at that point. Nevertheless, I had gone back to see the same dr every year after my surgery until I was 18, the I saw one of his associates every 2-3 years. Still, nobody noticed this! I even went to an orthopedic surgeon last year, and he said my posture was great! He looked over old x-rays and new x-rays that they had taken...He was content with what he saw, and didn't really know what to tell me. I honestly felt like these Dr's thought I was a a hypochondriac.
Well, turns out my posture was not great and it was far from it! In fact, my muscle tightness was so severe that it was not even physically possible for my head to sit in the correct position. It took about a month of consistent therapy for that to actually happen. I made progress each week in terms of the head moving back. Initially the first couple weeks, It felt as if I was choking when I would try to push my head back. Now, after about 4 months, my head can move back in to that position and I can talk, swallow, eat, drink.....I never imagined I would have come this far in the beginning, because nothing in the past had ever really helped and I lost hope...I just wanted to share this, in the event there is anyone in a similar situation. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY and YOUR PAIN IS REAL! Your pain is not in your head...as some Dr's will try to convince you since they can't offer any solutions... My shoulders dropped 3 inches...I have photos before and afters and It is really bizarre...Sometimes I can't believe how drastic the difference is. I still have pain, but the pain has been greatly reduced. The intensity of the pain only increases before my menstrual cycles. Other than that, the pain went from about an 8 everyday, to about a 3. The best part is this is only the beginning, so after about a year or 2 years, I am not so much hopeful, but I am 100% convinced I will feel a lot better...Once you see and feel a difference, it is easy to convince yourself that things will get better.
There are things I will not ever be able to do given my flexibility has been heavily impacted from the surgery...Sit ups, crunches, etc... Anything that requires me to arch my back... Although, I can do a bridge...an upside down bridge...haha I can't do cat/cow in yoga class though. My balance was also effected from my posture. I noticed my balance is a lot better now that my posture is better and my muscles are not as weak. I have only been doing this for about 4 months, but the days I do not see the PT and MT, I am doing the exercises they have me do, as well as constantly checking my posture and catching myself when things are amiss. I suppose that has sped up the process as well. I am excited to see what happens another 4 months from now. My neck is very sore at the moment from typing on this computer....oh the irony.
If anyone has similar issues, I would love to hear about it...Or if you have any questions, feel free to ask me.
I stopped practicing yoga, and I moved on to Tai Chi instead. I prefer Tai Chi...Less mental stress worrying about what I can or can't do, and less harsh movements...To each is own, and I hope you find your own way of "healing".
Oh, and I went from taking advil 5 days a week to about maybe once a week...with the exception of my periods..however, I won't get into that... another novel of issues for another web forum.
Post edited to remove name of specific medical facility. The moderator team