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 to 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.

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.

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.

Most of the time with TMJ pain, you simply need you to make changes in your lifestyle. Your doctor could give you medications to ease any pain or discomfort. Always discuss with your doctor about your options to determine what treatment is right for you.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • Moonbow
    11 months ago

    Two and half years of pain, 2 dentist, 1 ENT, and my regular doctor and not one mentioned this as a possibility. It’s in my recorders that I have this. The pain was so bad. I don’t have TMJ. Spent a lot of money since I don’t have dental insurance. Guess I need to print this article out and talk to my doctor again. I need to find an arthritis doctor. The one I had retired about 8 yrs ago, and my PCP has been doing pretty good with dealing with symptoms till now. There isn’t a specialist in the town I live in so will have to travel and hour to get to one. With taking care of my mom with dementia and my brother with Crohns , that is having major surgery, and my family so I don’t have much time for myself.

  • Diane T author
    11 months ago

    Hello Moonbow,

    There is so much that we don’t know about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I have had this disease for 55 years and I keep learning things. It’s so amazing how this disease effects so many parts of our body. Finding a good arthritis doctor was hard for me and so was find a good dermatologists. I now have both; but it took me many years to get here. Good luck on this journey and yes, talk to your dentist about this. You do have your plate full with your mom and brother; but you will be so bless for taking care of them. I am always here if you need to talk or vent. I have a father that is 83 years old. I have a younger sister that takes him to doctors appointment and such. He still works 3 days a week and still drives. She’s a leach, so I have to watch her; not him. LOL Enjoy your day, Diane

  • Moonbow
    11 months ago

    Thank you for the reply. Hope your feeling well today. I’ve been reading more about psoriatic arthritis. I need to find a arthritis doctor just as soon as I have time. I’ve been ignoring a lot of symptoms and just keep pushing myself to keep up with everything I need to do. Also, my family doesn’t understand that anything is wrong with me. My brother is also a leach and has lived off mom pretty much his whole life and now that he has gotten so sick the last 4 yrs and had no money ,no insurance etc… at 52 his having his colon removed. I had him apply for SSI which he finally got after 4 yr. it’s not much but better then nothing. He’ll be having surgery in March and I’m trying to find someone to sit with mom or get her in temporary assisted living. She has dementia. Who would have thought nursing care cost that much. Right now, I take Celebrex and hydrocodone for pain.
    Take care . vicky

  • Diane T author
    11 months ago

    Hi Vicky, Your life sounds like mind. My father and is 84 and lives in another state. I worked full time, but I have to take the time to care for him. He still drives and gets around very well. In his mind, he think he’s 50! LOL I also have a younger sister who takes him to doctor appointments for me and gets his medicine. She’s a leach, so every time she takes a step to do anything for him, we have to pay her.

    Health care is outrageous. I had looked into a couple of places myself. Do some research and see who is able to help. There are places around.

    My family doesn’t understand either. They think I’m super woman and can do it all. I am on a biologic and take pain pills everyday.

    Take care and remember we are using all the talents that were given to us and we are doing a great job. Welcome every morning with a smile.

    Diane

  • Eileen B moderator
    11 months ago

    Sounds like you’re going through a lot of stress right now, Vicky. I hope you’re not too overwhelmed, although I know it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed as a caretaker. You might find http://eldercare.gov and http://www.longtermcare.gov helpful in planning affordable care for your mom.

    Meanwhile, a kindhearted caretaker like you deserves a topnotch, specialized medical team in her corner. The Patient Navigation Center at the National Psoriasis Foundation is a free, personalized service to help people access the treatment they need; they can help you find the best providers in your area at https://www.psoriasis.org/navigationcenter.

    Wishing you better days ahead, stop by any time you need support or just to vent.
    -Eileen, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

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