Psalm 22:26 - The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him -- may your hearts live forever!
You reach for your sandwich and open your mouth to take a bite when shooting pain causes you to stop. The pain runs from the jaw joint and radiates across and up your face. And it’s no fun to experience.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened. Most days it’s not too bad, but lately, the pain has gotten worse. And to top it off, your ears are full of cracking and crunching with every bite you take, as the jaw moves while you eat or even when you yawn.
You’ve also been experiencing headaches and muscle pain in addition to the crunching and clicking.
So what is going on? It’s a chronic condition called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. And it’s not unusual.
You can learn about the causes, signs and symptoms of TMJ such as pain in the jaw joint or temple, in the article, “Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ),” on medicinenet.com.
Sometimes TMJ can heal quickly and sometimes it can take months of treatment and even surgery. For some, it never fully resolves and it’s a matter of learning how to reduce the pain. Depending on your unique situation, your doctor or dentist may recommend more than one treatment.
You can learn some of the recommended treatments for TMJ in the article, "The Complete Guide to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD,TMJ)," on askthedentist.com.
With this information in hand and an appointment with your dentist scheduled, you can now make a better informed decision on which treatments might be right for you.
Remember also, finding relief from TMJ will once again as the Bible verse above says, allow you to eat and be satisfied. You won’t have to worry as much about being in pain when you eat.
Isaiah 21:3 - At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see.
You sit in a doctor’s office waiting to begin your appointment. You didn’t know what to expect; unsure if you wanted to try to explain to the doctor what you’re experiencing.
But would he believe you? At first it started out after a fall. You’d felt the ground rising up to meet you, so you reached out with your hands trying to catch yourself. In the process, you felt something crack and knew that you’d broken something in your hand. After a trip to the emergency room, you’d been sent home with a brace for your hand. A couple of the small bones in your hand were broken. Thankfully, you’d thought, it had been a clean break and so no surgery was necessary.
The days and weeks had stretched by as you waited for the bones to heal and for the pain to diminish. Yet, something had gone terribly wrong.
Instead of the pain decreasing as the bones healed, it had only increased. Perhaps you’d been wearing the brace too tightly. Perhaps there had been a hidden break somewhere that didn’t get addressed.
But it was there. Pain. Unrelenting pain and a burning sensation that nothing could abate. You’d tried using cold packs. You even resorted to running cold water over your hand until you’d thought the burning would subside. But it hadn’t. And what else bothered you? At this point, there was no visible sign that the pain existed.
So there you were, waiting for the doctor to enter your room. You needed some answers and hoped that he would have some. At the very least you wanted the doctor to believe the pain you were experiencing was real.
By the end of your doctor’s appointment you felt as if you’d been shrunk to only two inches tall. He’d examined your hand turning it this way and that, as you tried to keep back the screams that were locked up inside like as if they were an extension of your hand. What then did the doctor say? He said to give it a little more time. Come back to see him in two or three months for certainly by then the pain would be gone.
But it didn’t leave.
And after another doctor’s appointment, you walked out the door with a referral to have an evaluation by a psychiatrist. But that appointment didn’t show anything, so you received a referral to a specialist in pain management.
By now it had been eight months since your fall. The door opened and in walked another specialist. He asked a series of questions about you, your hand and what treatments you’d received to this point. Another strange thing is that your hand had changed color and looked like someone had beaten you up.
Then, after all of the painful months, a diagnosis was given – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or what can also be called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. This is a diagnosis no one wants to receive. For, unless it is caught and treated in less than six months, there is no cure.
My story is similar to this one except mine started with a neck surgery and pain radiated down my arm and hand. Within months it had encompassed all four of my extremities.
After this, I did some research to find out more about the disease. One thing that I learned from the article, "Overview/Description," on rsdhope.org that Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is listed as being the most painful form of chronic pain that exists. I also found, an additional article from rsds.org, “Treatments,” which detailed the current treatments for the condition.
Try to remember, when things go terribly wrong and your body is racked with pain, that you can depend on God to be there with you, holding you and promising to walk you through this pain. And when it seems like life is overwhelming there are others who fight this fight. It may not lift your pain, but it will lift your spirits to know God is with you and there are others around you who will hold you up, too.
Hebrews 12:12-13 - Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
You’re at a soccer match when your son reaches down for his leg and a gasp escapes his lips. The coach calls a time out as your son limps slowly off the field.
So what do you do now? Should he just rest for the duration of the game or should you take him to the emergency room to be checked out? And was this a sprain or a strain?
Knowing which type of injury your son has experienced will tell what kind of medical attention he needs or if he doesn’t need any at all.
To help us understand what to do in a situation like this whether it is your son or when you’ve injured yourself, you must understand the different types of injuries.
A sprain is an overstretched or torn ligament. A strain is an overstretched or torn muscles or tendons. Learn more about the differences, common causes and how to treat both a sprain or a strain by reading the article, “Is it a Sprain or a Strain? Tips for Identification,” on healthline.com.
Now that you know the difference between sprains and strains and what to look for you’ll be better able to determine what the best course of action will be to treat them. Also, as the Bible verse above states, it’s important to strengthen weak parts of your body through stretching and exercise so that you’ll have a better chance of avoiding becoming disabled and instead find healing.
Psalm 69:29 - I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me.
It’s not just been one day.
It’s not just been one week.
It’s not just been one month.
This has been going on for a long time and you need answers.
Doctors use many different measures to diagnose a chronic pain or health condition.
Interviewing a patient and obtaining their account is an important place to start. Some of the questions they may ask are: when they first started feeling the pain, if the patient can determine the cause, what have they used for treatment at home up to this point, what is the patient’s medical history for clues, and have they seen any other doctors who attempted to treat the pain.
After the interview, then the physician can determine what other steps might also help diagnose the condition. Let’s take a look at some of those steps as noted on spineuniverse.com:
The next step will be to do a physical exam – Range of motion, posture, and general physical condition.
Then the physician will do a neurological exam – Testing the nerves, reflexes, physical strength, is the pain spreading and how well you can feel.
There may also be a mental health exam which can be conducted initially by your physician, but may then be referred to a mental health specialist for further examination – Symptoms of disorders, such as anxiety and depression that can develop alongside chronic pain.
Then your physician may run diagnostic tests. Find some of the possible tests that will be run such as blood tests and scans, and what each test looks for by reading the article, “Exams and Tests to Diagnose Chronic Pain,” on spineuniverse.com.
When you are in pain and distress, as the Bible verse above states, having tests done to ascertain the problem can be used by God to help diagnose the condition and to protect you from experiencing increased symptoms and pain.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.