NRAS
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RA in Jaw joint

Hi all. New to this forum and struggling with my RA so thought I'd give it a try. I was diagnosed with RA just over a year ago. It came on suddenly following the birth of my first child. I've had ups and downs on different meds but my most recent flare had led to a severe pain in my jaw joint. Seen the GP today and not much advice or treatment but she thinks it's a RA related flare. It's beyond painful and affecting eating, talking, sleeping etc. Did a bit of googling as I never knew RA could affect jaws but apparently so. Has anyone had this and is there anything that has helped? Getting desperate now.

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Yes it can indeed! Sorry of head this. I did have clicking, seizing and pain in my right side of jaw when I was first diagnosed with RA over 20 years ago. It was hard to eat and chew especially on that side. It actually impoved with a lot of physio exercises for the neck and jaw. Can you see a rheumatology physio at hospital? It seemed to go after a couple of years of lessening discomfort/intermittent annoyance and as RA became more controlled by my meds I noticed it less and less. My dentist is aware which is worth mentioning to them but it hasn't a totally caused a problem. Hope you can get yours sorted. Maybe things like apples and steak/large meat aren't a good idea if the jaw is sore at the mo. Cut pieces of food small so you don't have to do more work with the jaw and teeth. Can you rest your aching jaw against a warm heatpad? I used to massage both ways under my ear lobe moving the jaw up and down slowly to get it moving and stop it cramping. My physio used to tell me keep my head upright and look ahead but to drop my jaw down into my neck and hold it for a few seconds to strengthen. You feel that exercise straight away in your jaw. See if there are any exercises on Google but take it easy. Good luck.

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Yes it does. Mine improved once I found meds that worked for me. As above warmth does seem to help, thinking about what you eat and painkillers. I would get the dentist to check at your next appointment just to be sure it is not something dental related. Does your rheumatology department at your hospital have a rheumy nurse helpline (may find it on your consultation report letter or website) and have a chat with them as they are more experienced than the GP in the disease and if you are really struggling may be able to fit you into a clinic sooner rather than later. Farm

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Thanks both. Yes I've left a message on my nurse specialist voicemail so hoping someone can get back to me. So bad today I haven't been able to go to work which is the first time I've had to ring in sick due to my RA. My job involves a lot of talking on the phone so it's really having an impact. Will try heat on it. Really hoping they can get me in for a steroid injection as that's worked for flares in the past but this jaw pain is beyond. I can't stop crying it's so bad and haven't eaten in 2 days. Thanks for advice.

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Yes, unfortunately TMJ in the jaw from arthritis is painful and as our friends have said warmth, small food pieces, and pain relief. I had a jaw washout, which helped but flares in cold windy weather. Stay wrapped up with a scarf ......originally thought it was impacted wisdom teeth until x rays done a couple of years ago!!

Hugs to all

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I have had Jaw. I found incredible relief with laser therapy. The laser penetrates deep into your tissue and stimulates the cells to behave as they were intended. It took a few treatments to eliminate the pain. Now I get periodic tuneups.

Moist heatcan be of assistance as the laser / heat loosen it up stretch as you can. Stretching keeps it moving

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I've had RA 20 yrs (got it at age 25). I have flares everywhere and have had them in jaw left side I know how you feel, I used to be sitting in my bed rocking feeling delirious. Try a little cuppasoup throught a straw if you feel you can. My flares last 2 to 3 days which always gave me that reassurance that the pain will go. Ive been on methotrexate 20mg for 11 years which has for me much lessened the pain so its not as excruciating. Im about to go up a dose so hopefully ill hardly have any pain at all. Once controlled with the right drugs for you, you should be fine. Ask for an an xray of you jaw to see if there is any damage showing. Hopefully this will get the treatment moving a little faster for you. I always asked for xrays to be done as it can help you to understand whats whats going on with your body. I really feel for you and I know youll be worrying about work which makes it worse for you. Try not to cry, just believe it will soon pass. Try to do something that will occupy your mind so you are not so strongly focusing on it. Like Farm said if you are able to talk a bit try calling a Rheumatology nurse helpline for advice on getting things sorted more quickly. Hope you feel better soon.

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Hi EmsMac, like you I have suffered severe jaw pain in my right joint to the point of tears which also has affected my right ear. Yes mine was the result of a RA flair but it has lasted 2 months sorry only painkillers (Co-Codamol 30/500) gives any relief plus I also get relief from a hot water bottle placed up against it. My Neck is so very stiff on my right side today so whether it's all linked I can only surmise. Seeing my Rheumy in Jan 2018 & will seek his answers then. I also have a clicking left jaw when eating so hopefully you don't get that, I'm 68 so you expect some issues at my age my kids say it's due to all the shouting I did at them when they were young!! Take care & hope you get some relief soon.

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Yes 'me getting neck stiffness too. It's helpful to know it's more common than I thought x

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Soon after I was diagnosed I had a flare in my jaw. Could barely open my mouth and needed a short course of prednisone to get rid of it.

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Hi Ems

Yes you can get RA in the jaw. I used to love to sing at functions but my jaws get painfull. It comes and goes. So sorry you have got it so bad. Prednisone would help short term perhaps. Talk to your GP and tell her how desparate you are feeling. Try a wheat bag warmed up at night to help you nod off.

I hope this helps and I really feel for you.

Rosie xx

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Thanks. Spoke to a Rhumy nurse today but not my nurse specialist as she's off till after Xmas. She just suggested increasing my methotrexate which I'm not due till Monday. I asked about a steroid to get me through but she said as I'm not flaring in my other joints as badly it's a bit of an extreme treatment. Honestly this is the worse thing I've experienced with the RA so far x

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Hi EmsMac - just wondering, could you also have trigeminal neuralgia? Is it a sharp electrical pain that comes and goes but when it comes you want to grab you head/face?

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Hi Twinboys no it doesn't feel like that. It's constant and I wouldn't describe it as sharp or electrical. It's a constant pain but more an extreme ache if that makes sense. Definitely similar to the pain I get when the RA flares in other joints.

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OK good because that is apparently the worst pain you can have. It’s like the number 1 cause of suicide because it’s so painful.

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Hi Ems,

Your post reminded me of myself as my RA was also diagnosed about a year ago after having my first child. I too get pain in my jaw which seems to flare up when arthritis is not well controlled. Steroids have helped me in the past. Hope you are coping with having a small child and arthritis. It can be hard to cope with both at times.

Hope you get sorted soon xxx

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Thanks it has been hard but u will know that! It's just such a shock when u should be adjusting and enjoying your baby. I have no social support where we live either as my family are all 300 miles away so my maternity leave was spent in and out of hospital for appointments etc with a newborn on my own. I think at the time I just dealt with it but looking back I get really angry and upset, not at anyone or anything just the bad luck of it all. Hope u r managing and yours is under control x

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Hi. So sorry to hear about your jaw. I have positive RA since Jan 2015 and about a year ago I got, out of the blue, the most excruciating pain in my jaw, just as you described. It lasted a couple of days then went and I have had it once or twice since. I really hope you get relief soon. Nothing gp could do for me eithef and i just had to wait for it to pass. Good luck

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Hey there. I too have extreme jaw pain and tightness. TMJ I suppose. I've had this for many years and first attributed it to being punched in the face 3 times when mugged at gunpoint many years ago. Now that I know I have RA, I suppose the early jaw pain was just an early sign of the RA. Like you, it's tough to eat and sleep. There is an extreme tightness in the jaw muscles. It reminds me of the sensation you get when very stressed or after crying.

May I ask... have you ever suspected an infected tooth? Have you had a root canal? The reason I ask is because there have been cases where folks with an infected tooth (usually result from a bad root canal) had their RA symptoms disappear after removal of that infected tooth.

I have a root canal tooth that bothered me years ago, but not so much any more. Recent x-rays though show possible infection. I'm waiting to see an endodontist to verify and possibly get the tooth extracted. Maybe this is something you can look into. There may be a correlation between the jaw and tooth infection. Most likely this is not the case and it's just the RA causing the pain, but maybe something to look into. If you do, please let me know what you end up finding.

Also, I've found that a tight neck can cause a tight jaw. Maybe try massaging surrounding muscles and see if that helps. Just be careful massaging the jaw itself because there are some ligaments in there that you have to be cautious around. At least that's what my wife says. She is a trained massage therapist. Best of luck.

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Thanks so much for this advice and so sorry you have also experienced this pain. I don't think it's tooth related and my gp seemed sure it is my jaw joint however it's definitely something to keep in mind x

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Yes EmsMac I have had it in my jaw. Ended up going to emergency and the doctor said I was lucky I went in. He said if it went any higher it could blind me. Prednisone cleared it. Good luck

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Hi I have RA in my jaws the left especially which leaves my face all puffy and swollen. I also have tinnitus from it, I had a steroid injection into the jaw which helped a lot and the consultant gave me exercises to do. I am now on Enbrel the biologic drug and this has changed my life. I take extra prednisolone when it’s flaring. They also gave me amitriptyline for the nerve pain which really helped with sleeping. I can understand you crying as the pain is horrendous. Please pursue a solution vigorously with your rheumatologist as there is a lot they can do. Good luck

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Hallo EmsMac. Maybe this is not a helpful answer. I do not have Rheumatoid Arthritis but do have Arthritis from an accident I had when only 17 and broke both hips, a knee and arm, head injury and my jaw. I had Arthritis in my hip at the age of 21 already and have had hip replacement 4 years ago, so despite all, it lasted a long time as I am now 68.

Please excuse my english. Am a Brit (Londoner) but have lived in Germany for 45 years and speak this language and French a lot more than English.

To jaw pain. I have had it since the accident sometimes a little less and sometimes badly. I did have a test for rheumatism but did not have that factor in my blood. So I went to the dentist and he said I had arthritis and my pain was also through pressure. Pressing your teeth together during the night. This kind of splint or mouthguard fits over my top teeth (you get used to it very quickly) and this then stops you pressing or grinding your teeth together. Which takes away pressure on the jaw.

Maybe this might help you if you got one of them?

The other thing to mention is that I used to sing in a band when I was young. For years I stopped singing even privately because of my jaw. But a few years ago (5) I joined a karaoke forum and started tentatively to sing again. I was afraid it might be bad for me but instead it was good. It loosened the muscles in that area and it was like a kind of exercise. I had a lot less pain and only in bad weather seldomly or when I had a lot of stress.

I know that what you and I have are not the same thing exactly, but maybe my reply might help in some way.

Best wishes,

Silentreader.

PS what someone else wrote about the neck muscles is true. My daughter is a doctor and she said all is connected and the neck muscles can cause this and headache, so this is good advice. It is all about trying to relax those muscles in some way - massage? - if you can. Also the clicking mentioned by someone else usually means arthritis in the jaw joint. It did with me. The clicking got a lot better and I hardly have it since I sing. Only now I have been diagnosed with Asthma and so who knows how long I can still do that. Hopefully some of this is helpful. I hope you feel better soon.

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