Suffering severe jaw pain need advice

I have never had greatly raised inflammatory markers. Over the last week or two I have had severe pain in both sides of jaw when chewing. This is something I have never suffered with before. I don't have tender temples or headache, so presume it is not GCA. Does anyone else with just the PMR suffer with this? Due to see GP in 8 days should I mention it to him, I'm currently on 9mgs having gone up from 8mgs due to flare.

16 Replies

  • Runrig01,

    This is one of the many symptoms of GCA, you don't necessarily have to have them all. I didn't have headaches as such, or tender temples, but I did have jaw ache when eating and difficulty in swallowing as well as a neuralgia like feeling over the top of my head. How are your eyes? are you getting any blurriness?

    I would strongly suggest you speak to GP soonest, and get things checked out. If necessary go to A&E at local hospital, explain you have PMR and are concerned that you might have onset of GCA. I don't want to be alarmist, but I lost my sight in right eye within a matter of weeks after onset of jawache, and I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone else. Best be safe than sorry. Please let me know how things go, and good luck. Dorset Lady

  • Hello runrig01

    Jaw pain on chewing was one of my symptoms with GCA. I had other symptoms but that isn't necessarily the case.

    You mention that you have recently gone up from 8mgs to 9mgs due to a flare which probably means that the inflammation in your body is not under control and therefore puts you at risk of contracting GCA.

    Do not wait until your appointment with your GP in 8 days time but do get this jaw pain on chewing checked out immediately, at A&E if GP surgery is now closed. No-one is going to be put out by someone with PMR who is concerned that they may have GCA and, as Dorset Lady has said, it is better to be safe than sorry. Good luck and do come back and let us know how you get on. Fingers crossed for you.

  • GO now i waited to long ,if i had gone early may have been quicker results ,please .hope all is good news . Let us know please .

  • Hi All, the only problem with my eyes is very slight blurriness in the mornings. I had a thorough eye test at the end of January because of this. I mentioned I had PMR and the optician did a thorough check and said the vessels at the back of my eye were fine. She issued me a new prescription for glasses, saying the steroids may have cause the deterioration in vision that had occurred. The jaw pain I get is not every day, it depends on what I eat, I am fine with food most of the day. It is just when I eat something like a cereal bar or something involving a lot of chewing that it becomes very painful both sides and almost cramping type pain. But it is a pain I have never experienced prior to my PMR. Ironically I work at the hospital, my Rheumatologist holds a clinic tomorrow so may try and speak to her. Although she took a long time to accept that someone my age could have PMR, and has previously told me that because my bloods are normal I am not at risk of GCA. :-? Will let you know how things go.

    Thanks for the support, it means so much, Runrig

  • Hi runrig 01,

    Get help pronto. GCA can present with jaw pain and doesn't always show in the blood tests. Get it checked out as soon as you can. If it's not GCA then no probs, but it's not worth taking the chances.


  • Hi -- I think more and more they are finding that the usual age guidelines do not always apply -- I got PMR at 52. What you are describing would very much worry me as a sign of GCA and given that there are people who have gone blind within a short time from onset of symptoms and that it increases stroke risk, I do not think you should wait 8 days. I know from being worried myself about GCA that symptoms are only guidelines and as with PMR some people don't have many much less all of them.

  • It is senseless to wait a trip to A&E is absolutely necessary. If you lose either partial or total vision once it has gone, its gone. No going back.

    You have been given good advice, follow it.

  • I echo all that has been said, do not delay as I did & lost sight in 1 eye waiting on a dental appointment which was irrelevant. Go directly to eye hospital A.S.A.P


  • I was 51 when I was diagnosed with PMR, so maybe your doctor isn't updated on the age thing? But you are getting great advice!!!

  • Rheumatologist has got back to me, she says that it is more worrying if I am showing eye symptoms. She has instructed me to continue with Steroids and take regular analgesia. She has moved my appointment forward to next Wednesday to review me. Fingers crossed

  • Runrig01,

    Further to my previous reply, don't wait until next week. My eyes were blurry on Tuesday, saw GP on Thursday (he didn't consider it a problem). By Saturday when I went to A&E sight had been lost! Please don't faff about, if it's a false alarm then so be it, but if it's not then you'll have long time to regret it. Unfortunately, I didn't even know I had GCA at the time. Sorry to come on strong, but that's how I feel about it! Dorset Lady.

  • Runrig01

    I echo everything Dorset Lady has said. Sorry but I would not just be "crossing fingers" in this instance.

  • Seen Rheumy today, she says she finds it impossible to believe I could have atypical GCA as well as atypical PMR. Says the pulses in my temples are quite good, and cannot offer another reason for cramping in the jaws. She has told me to "plod on for now" and continue on the 9mgs for a further 6 weeks when she will review me again, she did feel that maybe she had rushed the drops as I have evidently flared and suggested we take it slower for now. My ESR and CRP remain unchanged from mid December. I think next time I have a scare I will definitely heed all of your advice and see GP urgently or A+E.

  • Hi runrig01,

    The one sentence you wrote which bothered me the most was "severe pain in both sides of jaw when chewing".

    If I was having the same pains and getting little help from my rheumy, I would get an urgent appointment with my dentist for an examination and Xrays. If my dentist offered no explanation for the pains then the next time I got them I would go straight to my local A&E.


  • I have seen in a recent Utube video recommended here that you do not have to have a headache to have GCA. When I was sickest I had yet to see an RA And only a doctors assistant. I had migraines all over my head and throat and tongue pain. That was gone with 10 mg given of pred by the time I saw the RA who upped the dose to 15. He didn't think I had GCA but I wonder if I have it now. Any opinions?

  • Hi Ronswife,

    You're more likely to get answers if you write above as a post rather than a reply to an old question.

    Also give a bit more info about the symptoms you have at present.

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