Jaw pain after steroid injections in neck...help!!

by Nancy H
(Bedford, Texas, USA)

I have degenerative disc disease in my C5 disc in my upper neck.

About 4 years ago, I was advised to get epidural steroid injections to relieve the pain.

I had this done every other week for 6 weeks. My neck pain was finally gone, but a few weeks after the 1st injection, prior to the 3rd, I started experiencing jaw pain on my left side.

I was on anti-inflammatory meds, had chiropractic massage visits and it went away within a month or so.

I recently had the same procedure done again on my neck and immediately began to have the jaw pain in the same place again, I figured it was a "side effect" of being put under anesthesia 3 times within a short period of time and would go away like it did before. This time it has been different.

I have had this pain 6 months already and it's not getting any better. I read what others have said about jaw pain and I can tell you I have been taking Soma/muscle relaxer before bed, wear a night guard, and take an anti-inflammatory in the morning. I dont want to take these drugs forever!

Most of the day my jaw does not bother me, my symptoms are odd. They are aggravated every time I start to drive or are a passenger in a car, or when the air conditioning hits directly on my face. Also, stress is also a trigger.

All day at work I'm fine, just getting there and coming home and everywhere else in the car! When the pain hits and doesn't seem to feel better for quite a while I have tried vicodan and ultram, ibuprofren and nothing seems to work.

I read about a few massages you recommend and fish oil too, I will try both consistently to see if they help. I'm holding off going to a TMJ doctor because honestly I dont want any more big expensive tests or therapy.

I am hoping this will go away like it did the first time. Neck pain was a lot worse but this isn't great either :( Anything you can suggest would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!


Joshua Answers:

Hi Nancy. Yikes!

Ok Nancy, I'm about to tell you a secret that I think you might be ready to hear....

Are you ready??...

The secret is.....Anti-inflammatory drugs do not heal anything. They don't help solve any problems. And they have some serious side effects.

Same goes for Muscle Relaxants.

You said you don't want to take these drugs forever. Great. Let's start you in a different direction.

Maybe they are necessary for the very short term for pain relief, and that is valid, but our culture has a myth that if pain goes away, the problem has gone away. This is incredibly false.

If you want to the problem to go away, you need to deal with the source of the problem. Corticosteroids and muscle relaxants and such do not deal with the source of the problem.

So that's a little bit of me on a soapbox...but really I'm leading up to something here.

A. Your focus right now is on all your symptoms (because they hurt!)

B. To deal with the symptoms we need to deal with the source of the problem. Your symptoms aren't really the problem, the problem is the problem.

I'll explain the jaw pain here in a bit, but...I have a lot to say here so just bear with me, it might not all be in the most linear order.

WARNING: I am about to throw a lot of 'do this' at you. It all requires a lot of explanation, but first thing first. Trust me, do what I say, keep asking questions, and I'll explain more and more as we go.

1. '7 Steps To A Pain Free Life' by Dr. Robin Mckenzie, and 'Healing Back Pain' by Dr. John Sarno.

Go get these two books tomorrow. Physical exercises for the neck in the first one, and a totally different direction in the second one.

This is numbered #1 for a reason.

2. I bet you a dollar you are VERY Vitamin D and Magnesium deficient.

Follow the directions on my Kerri's Magnesium Dosage page.

Also, start taking Epsom Salt baths, make sure the neck is in the water.

And up your Vitamin D levels. I can point you to a $40 blood spot Vitamin D test if you want, and, go get some Vit D3 and get your levels up. Check out the Vitamin D pages on Kerri's site after you read the above page.

3. No More Shots In The Neck!

For obvious reasons.

Here's one theory on why your jaw hurts.

A. Your neck is in pain, constantly.

B. Your nervous system is on high alert, trying to protect you with increasing muscle tightness and a Process of Inflammation (which compresses your vertebrae together tighter and tighter)

C. SOMEBODY STICKS A NEEDLE IN YOUR NECK!!! The Nervous System does NOT like this!

D. Nervous system freaks out, making everything tighten up and (concept alert!) vibrate in a high energy way, setting you up for more muscle tightness and enhanced pain sensation. This includes clenching of the jaw and precursor to TMJ.

E. Nervous system is still freaked out, 6 months later (OH CRAP, I'M GOING TO BE ATTACKED BY A NEEDLE AGAIN AT ANY MOMENT).

The high frequency thing is kind of conceptual, but just imagine a high frequency buzz resonating in your nerves. It affects everything. Add some mental stress, some physcial stress, and it can go from fine to buzzing in a millisecond (Because it's not really fine, it's just -barely- not buzzing.)

Normally I would tell you to ice, but I think we should hold off until the Magnesium calms your nervous system down. Don't want the shock of the cold to irritate anything.

Anyhoo. That feels like a long, crazy rambling answer to your questions. Your situation is very involved, and all this was just an introduction.

Ultimately, we have to help your neck. Luckily, the same things that will help your neck be more healthy will deal with the jaw pain. As with Tendonitis, deal with the source of the issue, and the symptoms go away.

Ask more questions, and stick with me for a while. First things first. Magnesium. Vit D. No more shots. Get and read those books.

Also, more clues.

1. How old are you?

2. History of whiplash or other injury?

3. Anything else relevant (or not) health wise?

4. More info on your 'degenerative disc' problem, as described by your doctors.

5. Headaches? Constipation?

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Jaw pain after steroid injections in neck...help!!

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Aug 09, 2009
by: Anonymous

I always have to wonder if the real culprit was a dose of Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox.... or another fluoroquinolone. It is criminal, the damage that these so-called "antibiotics" are capable of.

I wish the medical community would warn their patients. Not saying this is the case w/ you, but I have heard so many stories and it turned out the patient had been exposed to fluoroquinolones in the past. Often it may take months or even years for the damage to "show up".


Joshua Comments:

Yep, quinolone antibiotics are too dangerous, in my opinion, to be used unless there's a life threatening situation with no other/better alternative.

I now commonly ask this question of anybody I talk to about Tendonitis, just to cover the bases of possible causes, if a persons' symptoms fall within a range that looks like toxicity from something like Levaquin could be a player.

Aug 09, 2009
More info to consider...
by: Anonymous

Thank you SO much for your advice. The massage inside my mouth actually on the jaw 2x a day are actually helping. I've quit the anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer and began taking magnesium and Vitamin D in addition to my multivitamin. Going to get the book too, very soon!

Hopefully in time, all of these things will work together and the pain will be gone completely! To answer your questions I am 41 years old, had slight whiplash in car accident many years ago but am told degenerative disc disease is supposedly my problem. They say the disc will be bone to bone soon and when that happens, surgery will be the only thing to fix it. In the meantime I got these epidural steroid injections to ease the pain (which they do work) but in turn have major jaw issues now. (left side jaw only--same side all neck pain happens on.) Headaches and constipation are seldom. No other major health related injuries.

Thank you again for your advice, if you have anything else please pass it along! THANK YOU!!


Joshua Answers:

Oh...I gots stuff to pass along! :)

1. Definitely go get the books.

2. Keep at it. Keep at the massage, the Vit D, the Magnesium. Keep at it.

3. Good Fat. Omega 3's and coconut oil. I wonder what's going on in the neck there....

One aspect is that the muscles of your neck are too tight. Tight muscles compress the joints, constantly and chronically. Time passes.

It may be worth it to find a -really- good massage therapist.

Degenerative disc disease doesn't just happen for no reason....even though doctors think that it does.

Massage relaxes muscles and connective tissue. Magnesium relaxes muscles. Good fats help your tissue be healthy and work well. Vit D is important for EVERYTHING health wise.

By the way, did you have fluoroquinolones in the past? Your symptoms don't sound to me like that's a factor, but always good to investigate.

So to sum up for the moment, ...keep at it, and good fats.

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