It was nearing bedtime last night and the right side of my jaw and upper molars were aching. I couldn’t bite down without incurring shooting pain. It was happening … a pain flare related to my chronic pain diagnosis Trigeminal Neuralgia. And I had been feeling so good lately, how discouraging.
But I wasn’t going to take this flare “lying down” … it was time for awareness and proactive therapy. What was the backdrop for this flare? What could I do about it?
Backdrop: I had a stressful day that hadn’t gone as planned. I was suppose to be taking my therapy horse to the Cheff Center … a donation for them and a final goodbye to another piece of my old life offering hippotherapy. But earlier, during a foot trim, this horse was showing signs of having stretched laminae … he was fat (from standing unused in a pasture) and his feet were long but he wasn’t showing signs of lameness. However if he did come up lame at Cheff, I would be mortified, so I made the decision to hold onto this therapy horse for another month while trying to help him lose weight and by continuing to evaluate his soundness.
Yes, stress and particularly stress related to my work identity is a major contributing factor to my diagnosis. Stress tightens the fascia surrounding the trigeminal nerve and puts pressure on it. And I’m particularly vulnerable to this fascial stress pull resulting from 20 years of a repetitive strain pattern caused when walking with my body twisted to safely position and assist clients in hippotherapy. I’ve retired from hippotherapy and I’ve gotten hundreds of hours of bodywork therapy. I’m off all prescription medication typically used in trigeminal neuralgia and I’ve been pain-free without having to resort to any surgical intervention.
What to do? I began to reframe the events of the day … to discharge the disappointment. I practiced diaphragmatic breathing. I took a walk in nature with my dog. I put my therapy horse in a diet pasture and gave him a hug. And I got out a few essential oils that support pain relief and applied them across the area of the trigeminal nerve. You know what? The pain slowly diminished and I slept through the entire night peacefully. When I woke up this morning, I only felt a twinge of pain. But it was weird because the pain was in the left TMJ jaw area rather than along the right trigeminal nerve area. I got out my pain relief blend of oils and applied them to the left jaw.
Ahhh, it smells fantastic. Relaxing. Yep, I have a handle on it now, everything is feeling better. I’m ready to comfortably face the new day! Life is indeed good.