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house of pain

I've been in pain for two days now and I'm starting to worry.

It's the same pain I had two months ago, which was first diagnosed as a sinus infection. After a round of antiobiotics didn't help, I saw my dentist, who said I had an impacted wisdom tooth that needed to be pulled and that would alleviate the pain. So I had the tooth pulled.

I felt the same general pain for a week or two after the extraction but thought that was normal.

Two days ago, the pain came back, in the same area. It extends from my ear down to my neck, though it varies as to where it's concentrated. Sometimes it feels like a toothache, but the pain moves from area to area so it can't be just a tooth causing it. I feel it inside my ear, in my neck muscles, in my gums and sometimes under my eye.

It is constant. I have been consuming massive quantities of Excedrin, Motrin, Clarinex, etc. Last night I took NyQuil just to try and get some sleep, but if I slept a full hour, that's a lot. It's starting to affect me mentally now. Do you have any idea what it is like to be in constant, unalleviated pain?

I'm going to the doctor today and I hope he doesn't blow me off and tell me to go see my dentist because I really don't think this is dental. I thought it was allergy/sinus related but I'm not sure. Also, my jaw makes this weird noise when I open and close my mouth - it sounds like crinkling paper, if that makes any sense.

Anyhow, I'm incredibly frustrated, irritated and entertaining thoughts of slitting my wrists because I can't take it any more. There has been NO relief from this pain for over 48 hours now.

Who knows, maybe one of you will read this and say "yes, that happened to me too, and you are NOT dying and you don't have some weird disease, it's just blah blah blah." I want a miracle cure. I want to pop a pill and have this gone because it is becoming debillitating.

So unless my doctor hands over that miracle today, I don't expect I'll be around much.


Sounds like TMJ.

Or it could be just something in the air. I had a toothache last night so bad I sat up and cried. I finally broke down and took a Lortab just so I could get some sleep. (I don't particularly care for Lortabs. They make me dizzy.) But I have more rotten teeth -- never mind the fact that the pain is in an area where I have a crown and had a tooth pulled last year. It makes me wonder if the earth's magnetic field did something funky.

I hope that you are feeling better soon and that its nothing serious. Take your pill of choice and put "Hail To The Thief" by Radiohead on the CD player (Radiohead fixes lots of things for me :)

Do you have any idea what it is like to be in constant, unalleviated pain?

Yes. All the damn time. It sucks.

It does sound like TMJ to me too. Have a friend with that and she suffers pretty bad a few times a year from it.

Sounds like TMJ which means that something is throwing your jaw out of line. It's like being punched in the jaw over and over. First of all, stop chewing gum to curb the cigarette cravings, go to lifesavers.

Also look up the tri-jeminal (sp?) nerve in your face. My wife had a bout with Bell's Paulsey a few years back and the nerve flairs up on her sometimes causing similar pain.

I've had a close female friend have something such as you described start up in her late 30's. Her's grew much worse over time though and was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia (took quite a few doctor (and dentist) visits to finally discover this.) She genearlly has major flare ups in the spring and fall, allergy seasons. I hope what your experiencing is not anything like what she is living with.

You can read about Facial Neuralgia's at this site for more information: http://facial-neuralgia.org/


Sounds almost exactly like what I had last year - turned out to be a pinched nerve in my neck that radiated up and down and all around. Got relief through three times a week adjustments from a chiropractor. Did that for about a month and then went once a week for a month. Now go once a month to keep the neck in line. He also gave me exercises to do (mostly shoulder rolls). If you decide to try it - make sure that the chiropractor x-rays your neck from several angles before any adjustments. If you're anti-chiropratic, still have your neck x-rayed - and see what an orthopedic surgeon recommends.

I was going to mention TMJ as well.

I don't have any analogous stories or medical advice just a lot of sympathy and an offer to be a punching bag so you don't take it out on your family.


I quit smoking about the same time you did (Dec. 14th) and have to say I read your blog because these things remind me of me. Much like you I suffer from Anxiety/Panic attacks, am very jumpy, and am a self proclaimed hypocondriac. This has only gotten worse since I quit smoking. I am very jumpy, have TMJ now that gives me a whole hoset of nasty side-effects, and have gone for an MRI, and several doctors visits over the last 6 months only to have them tell me it's all in my head.

I see stars every now and then, am subject to seeing things that aren't there (flashes of lights, etc.), have constant neck pain (from tension), and to top it all off allergy season is killing me. oh, and did I mention I feel like I am the longest running victom of a stroke because I get tingly and hot feelings in random spots on my face every now and then.

Then I found this:


I'm not saying it's the case, but maybe it will help- TMJ is a most likely cause, and judging by your writing, I assume that you are very much like me in that as soon as I perceive something (like my eyes have been twitching on and off for the last month or so, leading me to believe I have a whole host of neurological disorders, even though my MRI came up completely normal) it is automtically the worst thing to befall human existance.

I could go on for weeks about my conditions. My TMJ has caused a slight inbalance in my left ear, causing it to "Pop" when I am working out because I cannoth releive the pressure in it. That, coupled with the pain has led me to look into treatment (non-drug) for the anxiety in my life-

I hope you feel better soon, and I'm not trying to say your pain is perceived, just trying to give an insite into how I feel that may help you-


I was thinking TMJ too. However, I am not a doctor. Only a licensed physician or dentist can diagnose TMJ. Some restrictions may apply. This offer is void in Utah.

Feel better soon.

Hey, sounds like TMJ. Good thing I read this, otherwise you would never know.

It's me.

It's me.

Man, that cracked me up. I definitely needed that.

Thanks everyone, this is what a lot of people are saying and I'll bring it up when I head to the dr. in a few minutes.

Kotter, interestingly enough, it (and similar symptoms) has flared up right after bouts of high stress/anxiety.

I thought TMJ too, when you mentioned the sound of "crinkling paper."

I hope you can see a specialist or two, and get whatever it is nailed down and treated; I hate to think of you continuing to suffer, attempting to mask the symptoms with a fistful of pain medications.

Get well soon, Michele.

My mother has TMJ, and she wears a nightguard during the night. It really helped her out. Hope you get diagnosed and cured soon, pain sucks.

Just to add to the chorus, my first thought was TMJ...me and the wife both suffer. Mine is pure stress though, I'm a grinder/cruncher.

it could be nothing serious..

I don't get to be the first one to say TMJ since I overslept, but that is the first thing I thought of given the symptoms. I'm surprised your dentist didn't mention the possibility the last time he saw you since they love to make that diagnosis. Be sure to get a second or third opinion before you have anything drastic done because some dentists love to say "surgery". Read all you can on the net; there is much info there.

it may be TMJ. if you grind your teeth in your sleep like I do a night guard can help. my insurance didn't cover the cost for a 500 dollar appliance so I didn't get it. then one day it hurt to try to chew so I knew I had to get one. went to the local drug store and bought one that works like a football mouth guard. boil it, fit it to your teeth and voila. my girlfriend has the same problem and her uncle is a dentist. he gave her a fitted mouth guard but that doesn't seem to have the same padding as the cheap one I bought. I would recommend the over the counter version as I haven't had any jaw pain since. I used to wake up every morning with a tension headache. nasty stuff.

I have no idea but I hope you find the majic pill. Better living through chemicals. wahoo!

Hope you feel better.

It's probably just a sinus infection.
But consider this laundry list: Abcess/cysts, trigeminal neuralgia, temporal arteritis, mastoiditis, Eagles syndrome.

If I were your doc, I'd start to think it was time to do some imaging (MRI) if in doubt about the dx.

I won't venture a diagnosis, but I'd say if the doctor asks you to take your pants off, get out of there.

I know of someone who was diagnosed with mercury poisining after dealing for years with the symptoms of a perpetual sinus infection. If you haven't had the fillings in your teeth replaced in a long time you may want to look into that.

TMJ at the top of that laundry list, FWIW....
you are just the right age/sex for it to start giving you some trouble.


I had the same pain a year ago. Turned out to be a pretty bad ear infection which in turn damaged my inner ear which in turn led to my getting that nasty bout of Vertigo that landed me in hospital.

If your doctor blows you off, ask for a referral to go see an ENT.

Trust me.

I don't have any advice but I really hope you get better soon.

Hmmm, the pain started about two months ago? Wasn't that around Steak and BJ Day? Sounds like TMJ to me ;-)

It does sound like TMJ.

I had one major bout with it a year or two ago - intense pain, especially when chewing, out of the blue. Lasted for several weeks. I guess I must have slept just the wrong way or something - after a couple of minor flare-ups, it hasn't come back - knock on wood. I was considering getting a mouthguard before it finally went away...

We used to call that Cocksucker's Cramp. Been a long time since high school, so I haven't heard the term in some time.

TMJ just doesn't have the same poetry.

get well soon.

you only have 285 days until the next steak and a bj day.

If part of your non-smoking effort includes chewing gum, try switching to mints or something less chewy. Really. I haven't chewed gum in years because of the crushing headaches, jaw, ear and shooting neck pain I used to get from it.

It may very well be a TMJ-related disorder. However, unless they are certain about that from the get-go, you might also want to go back to your dentist and have your bite match tested. The original problem may well have come from an impacted wisdom tooth, but after an extraction the remaining teeth will sometimes shift position a little, leading to a mis-alignment of cusps. The result is constant pressure between certain teeth (especially at night), which can then inflame the nerves in the jaw, and refer pain all over the area. I had some fillings replaced a couple of years ago, and had symptoms very similar to yours for quite a while will we made various adjustments to get all the teeth to match up again.

Sounds exactly like what I was going through a year ago. The pain was so bad I wanted to kill myself. Turned out it was "Swimmers Ear". Some antibiotics and a few drops in the ear and I was good as new.


I remember hearing of a case where this lady had the same, almost exact symptoms and it turned out that her husband was slowly poisoning her. You don't have a husband do you? If not, it's probably an ear infection. Go see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Stay away from dietary suplements and herbal treatments.

If you do find that there magic pill that numbs all manner of pain, you'll share, right?

in an effort to get rid of frequent sharp earaches/apparent TMJ, in the past 3 months my wife has: seen her dentist, had a root canal, seen an entodontist, seen a neurologist, had an MRI, been prescribed Elavil, and is seeing a chiropractor. Prior to this recent bout she's had all four wisdom teeth out and seen an ear-nose-throat dr.

Naturally all the doctors she's seen have told her conflicting things, but the chiro seems to be helping the most. In additon to The Crackening, he's recommended various exercises to help her posture and alignment (a big part of it all), and a pretty cool pillow.

I choose to dissent from the consensus conjecture of tmj. Your first diagnosis (a sinus infection) was correct, but you were given the typical, thoroughly ineffective "take this stuff and go away" treatment.

Back in the 50's my great uncle devised the best cure ever for sinus infections. In a sealed bathroom, shower in the hottest water possible. Inhale as much steam as possible through both nostrils, yawn about every thirty seconds, and cough a lot. After about three minutes, have someone hand you a quart of vodka (preferably a safe plastic bottle), and guzzle about half of it quickly. Continue the hot shower, deep breaths, yawns and coughs for at least seven more minutes, then switch the water temp to ice cold for about 30 seconds. Get out, dry off quickly, and jump into bed naked immediately, covered with three or four heavy blankets. Plan to sleep for the next 12-24 hours.

I get sinus infections a lot, and I swear this works great. And if it doesn't, who cares?

Clyde, it's not a sinus infection because I'm not spewing yellow or green snot from my nose (snot a sinus infection, hahahah) - but I think I'm going to take your advice anyhow!

Hell, I feel GREAT and I'm going to follow Clyde's advice.

Actually, I've had sinus infections where nothing was spewing -- that was the problem! It was all stuck up in there.

Finally, after a combination of steroids and NSAIDs to reduce inflammation, plus 3 different anti-biotics, nose sprays, heat and steam every day, Zyrtec for any allergic inflammation, and an month of excruciating pain, it finally started to drain. And it took days to drain. It was so disgusting.

But it was better than the pain. I ended up getting nothing done that month, had to work at home most of it and took 6 days off for the days I just couldn't do anything but whine.

I tried taking vicodin to help, but usually it jsut made me more nauseus (the medicines weren't nice to my tummy) and gave me horrible vertigo which made me throw up!


Hope yours gets fixed.

Hi. since you mentioned extractions and for all of you who did - please understand that if the dentist or oral surgeon does not get all the roots or if you develop a dry socket (a general term for an infection) then you NEED antibiotics. I had a porcelain veneer on my front tooth put on 3 years ago and 2 days later was in incredulous pain.. and have been every since. i am today 80% better. don't think that you mouth does not determine your overall health. it plays a huge role. so, my suggestion is to get an MRI and a CAT scan. IF you can get a 3D CAT as a GOOD radiologist will be able to determine if it's a sinus infection, or not, or one that has spread or originated from your teeth. AND it is absolutely true teeth shift from extractions, so TMJ may also be the culprit, as well as misaligned teeth.

keep us posted. i wish you luck, and try the shower deal - what've ya got to lose? ;)