Ouch – My Jaw Hurts
I know that psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting muscles and joints, but I didn’t have a clue that it could affect our jaw muscles as well. The longer that I have this disease, the more I learn.
Noticing pain in my jaw
Every now and then I loved to feast on a nice juicy piece of steak. One day I was eating as usual and noticed an unusual stiffness and pain in my left side of my jaw. I just figured the steak wasn’t as tender as I imagined it should be.
I decided to do some research on this and found out some amazing facts. First and foremost, I came across temporomandibular joint (TMJs) syndrome. You use your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) a lot. The joints connect your jawbone to your skull. These joints are used to talk, chew, or swallow. Studies show that 24% of people with TMJ syndrome have psoriatic arthritis. This disorder can show characteristics signs of early erosion. With modern technology that we have today, MRIs can show these characteristics.
How can you get properly diagnosed?
You must definitely consult with your dentist or rheumatologist for an early diagnosis. If you have pain while chewing, pain in the neck, or even headaches, make sure to mention that to your doctor. The bad part about this situation is that without a proper diagnosis, you may suffer from complications which lead to further damage.
In my research, it seems that many patients had psoriasis and this played a major part in their TMJ jaw disorder. The psoriasis affected the jaw which led to an increase in facial pain and altered the way they chewed. Surgery was sometimes necessary for treatment, due to either not detecting it in time or being misdiagnosed.
Keep up with dental appointments
I frequently make and keep my dental appointments. I’m thankful to say I have no erosion or TMJ jaw disorder; just a cavity! We as patients must be mindful to go to our dentist if you have extreme pain or any unusual muscle pain in your jaw. In my research, it is very painful if left untreated.
Look out for new symptoms
Eating is a big part of our world. We don’t want unnecessary surgery or pain. Watch for signs of jaw pain associated with psoriatic arthritis. I was once asked, “Can we get psoriasis inside our mouth”? I said no at the time. I think I might have been wrong. This disease seems to affect every part of our body. It even affects our eyeballs and nose. These are the places where people will turn around and give you a strange look.
Ways to manage symptoms
As someone who has been affected by this disease for over 50 years, I believe it can attack our bodies at any point in our lives. I don’t think people realize that psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can be inside the skin cells as well as on the outside. Either way we look at it, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are painful without proper treatment and diagnosis.
You may not be able to prevent TMJ from developing, but you might be able to manage symptoms by lowering your stress levels. Join a support group, exercise, and the proper diet may also help manage your psoriatic arthritis.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?