“If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched”, Adabella Radici
Look at a child’s lovely teeth and then hopefully we can see that those of us who clench ours instead of laughing with joy, showing toothy grins, will be prone to pain in the jaws and teeth!To-day I experienced my first tooth ache. It happened out of the blue, a bottom front tooth that had never been decayed, nor capped. The pain was excruciating and unrelenting. Being 4000 miles away from home, in a hotel on another coast, the pain was even more disturbing. I quickly searched out a dentist nearby and found a young, knowledgeable dentist who was very calming. X-rays revealed no abscess, no cavities and the gums were in good condition. She speculated that it might be due to fibromyalgia and I was prescribed Tylenol # 3 for pain. Thank you, Dr. Sara Hamidi, Vancouver, B.C.! She was right.
I consider myself an expert on FMS. I have read, explored, researched and analyzed about this condition as much as most other experts, having lived with it for over 40 years. My book is unique as it presents a theory regarding why it affects primarily women. I have not read anything that even comes close to my argument about women’s vulnerability to FMS. Yet, like most who have this condition and write about living with it, I am intent on what ails me most at the time. I tend to focus on the ‘biggies’, that is, pain, fatigue, depression and sleep disorders. I have been negligent in pointing out the extreme scope of this syndrome instead of showing how we dwell on symptoms that we think have become unique to our own particular set patterns. In fact, these patterns do often shift and rarely are two days alike. This is why to-day I write about tooth pain. It is a new experience in a life time of living with many kinds of pain and in various locations of my body.
I have had a difficult year dealing with elder care of my 90 year-old parents. My resources are depleted. I am exhausted; my reserves are drained; it has been physically and emotionally demanding. I am now feeling the effects of this stress. How could I not know that this condition would rear its ugly fangs (no pun intended) and produce a new form of attack on my tired psyche and body? But, my teeth? Why there? I have had facial pain in the past, shock-like, jabbing pains that were somewhat transient. But, this horrific pain is something new! Aha! The stiff neck, the tight shoulders that are almost up to my ears, carrying the weight of the world on them! This ties in to my belief that women generally do bite off more than they can chew. This is the story I write about in my book…the women who have overstimulated their nervous systems to such an extent that they cannot completely recover.
“Not my teeth”, I find myself groaning. Yes, new trigger points that are caused by clenching jaws and grinding teeth at night, shifting patterns due to overload of my nervous system. All this following a long tiring root canal just a month ago on a molar on the other side of my mouth. The muscles in my jaws became so tight! It begins to fit. Trigger points shift often. Why did I think my teeth would be exempt? Will this last, I wonder? The chronic stress I have experienced this year is not likely to end soon. Will the muscles in my neck and jaws relax and the pain shift to another locale? Just one more question of many in living with the demon of fibromyalgia.