Re: jaw pain

Has anyone else suffered this way? Its not the GCA/PMR jaw pain - I had that at the beginning 3yrs ago & when I had a flare last year. Now the right side of my jaw is extremely painful making it difficult to open my mouth wide, eg yawn! Also to chew is very painful. I had my rheumatology check last week also the GP check-up. Neither think it is the illness symptom but a wearing out of the joint, possible cartilage damage. Can this be another wretched side effect of the medication? My GP said if things don't improve an injection is one possibility, last resort an op! At present I have been able to reduce steroids to 5mg a day, this is after 3yrs 2 months.

While I'm posting - a different matter. Last Nov I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from the back of my left hand & another biopsy done at the same time is positive so now awaiting radiotherapy for that! The Dermatology Dr & my GP both told me that steroids can cause skin cancer.

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  • The skin cancer risk has not been mentioned to me and as I had a milignent melanoma 33years ago given 6month's without surgery still here. Any idea were to get more information I have GCA going down to 22:5 mg tomorrow been on them 18 weeks

  • Olive I find this forum very useful, also I Google things to find out more! When I was 1st diagnosed 3+yrs ago I found out about PMR/GCA by Googling the problems. I hadn't discovered this forum at that stage.

  • A Danish study in 2004 found an increased risk of squamous and basal cell carcinoma in patients on long term steroids but no increase in risk for melanoma. I don't see any other reports of it so possibly it hasn't been confirmed.

    I do know that some doctors tell patients on steroids to use high factor sunscreen but I'd always assumed that was because we do tend to burn more easily - which of course may be the link.

  • Thank you for your reply. Its interesting to gather all these bits of information together. It does seem that to sort out one problem others occur!

  • Optimist, with regard to your jaw problem, do you take Alendronic Acid for bone protection? It has been known for AA to cause problems with the jaw bone in some people.

    Thinning of skin is a well known side effect of steroids, so if there is any link between steroids and skin cancer, the thin skin may perhaps make us more susceptible. Perhaps even more important for those on steroids to use sun protection, even though we do need the Vit D from the sun.......!

  • Yes I do take Alendronic Acid, today is my morning to sit upright! At least I have better posture for 1/2 hour on a Monday. Shame if its the cause of this jaw problem, though. Thank you for your reply.

  • Optimist, are you taking Alendronic Acid due to having been diagnosed with either osteoporosis or osteopenia? Once you have been taking it for 5 years, it is recommended to have a break from it due to a small risk of necrosis of the hip bone and to the jaw bone. If dental surgery is ever required, dentists often refer those patients who are on AA to hospital for the treatment.

    Have you asked your dentist to check your mouth to see if he can see any problem or possible cause for your jaw pain? He might even suggest referring you to the hospital maxillo facial department for investigation.

  • Many thanks Celtic. I do take Alendronic Acid, I will book a dental apt . I do have a 6mth check but the next one is April.

  • Optimist, I'm sorry, I don't think I made myself clear in my reply to your earlier post. I did understand from your previous post that you were taking Alendronic Acid. What I wondered was whether it has been shown by a DEXA scan that you need Alendronic Acid. In other words, have you been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia?

  • Thank you Celti. Yes, I had a DEXA scan last Oct & all was OK bonewise. I've now had the dental check - with Xrays, & there is no dental problem. Reported back to GP & will stop taking AA for now. The jaw problem seems to be in the joint, he said could be wear & tear on cartilage. Having had soft foods & not much chewing for the last week the pain is a bit easier!

  • Sun screen is my best friend never use less then 50 even on my face in winter do go outside with unprotected arms and legs when it's warm but never face,neck,or shoulders.

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