I have this and I have for five years. But only recently it became unbearable. TMJ, as it is shortened, is a disorder in the jaw where the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular (a vital part of the jaw’s socket) are inflamed and can cause a popping when the jaw is opened all the way (as all my friends know. I found it funny to put their hand on my cheek and then open my mouth. It feels like the jaw is popping out of joint, and it freaked everyone out). Unfortunately, that was the wrong thing to do, and in time the muscles became tighter and the actual jaw area may be damaged. At this point, as it has been for the past ten days, I can not open my mouth more than about an inch before feeling a high level of pain (only on my left side though. the right side is fine). If I do open it all the way, it’s very painful until it cracks, then I am fine. The disorder can be caused by many things, but for me it’s due to jaw clenching. This is a self diagnosis but I realized last week how oftenI clench my jaw, and after looking up causes it is the only reason I can apply to myself.
Tomorrow I’ll make a dentist appointment and he’ll tell me what to do. Either he’ll let me do at home therapies, or I’ll have to go to physical therapy. I want to go to physical therapy though because it’ll be easier and I’m afraid it’s a little too far gone to do my own exercises. But I have been doing some, since Brittany had this for a while and after going to physical therapy for about a month is completely rehabilitated. She taught me, and so I’ve been working on it. Also, I put a hot towel on my face because it is supposed to help alleviate the pain and the swelling. In time it may heal itself if I am careful, but if I can’t stop involuntarily clenching my teeth, I’ll have to get a mouth guard. Anyway, that’s my ridiculous medical issue. Semi-lock jaw.