Friday, September 12, 2008

Let's Get Physical

Therapy, that is.

I’m succumbing to every treatment known to modern medicine in an attempt to avoid TMJ surgery. I am now adding physical therapy to my current list of muscle relaxants, steroids and a somewhat obscene looking mouth splint that prevents me from clenching my teeth.

Yesterday I went to my first appointment. Heidi, my physical therapist, was really nice, but also really needed to wash her hair. I don’t know how people can go to work like that, especially if they are touching other people, but whatever. If physical therapy eases my pain, I’ll try to look past it.

After putting me through all kinds of movements that hurt like heck, Heidi determined I do have a TMJ problem, which is also giving me some kind of neck and shoulder issues so I have a big list of exercises to do every day.

Since the one side of my jaw is so inflamed, Heidi thinks I will benefit from ultrasound therapy, too. I guess the sound waves increase the blood flow to the treated area which in turn will reduce inflammation.

It doesn’t feel any different today, but I don’t know if one treatment works or if it’s a process kind of things. I was too distracted by Heidi’s dirty hair to remember to ask.

Heidi then gave me a stack of rubber gloves and told me to fill them up with water and freeze them. I am then to break off a finger and use to it ice the inside of my jaw. She said a popsicle actually works better because of the stick on the end so I can, you know, move it back and forth in my mouth. Heidi demonstrated with a tongue depressor.

How cute!
Between that and my splint with the phallic symbol looking extension on the end and my Angelina Jolie lips, I’m almost ready to change my name to something like... oh I don’t know, maybe Monica? Paris Hilton? No, I think my personality is more like a “CATarina Scratch-Fever”.

I’m trying all the suggestions because it’s still better, in my opinion, than having surgery. Having previously been severely injured by a doctor years ago during a c-section which resulted in twelve subsequent surgeries to repair the damage done, you can see why I’m a little hesitant to have more surgery, even though I’m living with quite a bit of pain.

OK, off to get physical! I’m supposed to do all these exercises while lying on my back. This horizontal position allows gravity to work with me. Somehow I don’t think this is what Olivia Newton-John meant when she sang “let’s get animal”. We’ll see!

Have a great day everyone!
Love, Cat :)


Sassy Mama Bear said...

Hope it works, I will be having surgery on my shoulder soon, nothing else worked.

Dustin said...

Well, if there's something I can say from experience - it's that one session of physical therapy isn't gonna give you the results. Unfortunately, what I cannot tell you is how many sessions it WILL take to get results. I was never really able to get anywhere with physical therapy. But I think that's partly due to insistent neglect the military medical system is "forced" to put on you when you tell them there's something wrong.

I agree with you, when possible, should be an absolute last resort. I have the utmost respect for doctors and what they do, but there's a reason they call what they do "practice"!!! :-D

Crystal said...

12 surgeries? *faint*

I hope therapy works for you.

This Eclectic Life said...

Girlfriend, I hope this physical therapy works! Every time I read you talking about your TMJ I have sympathy pains. Keep after it. I'm sending good thoughts your way.