Everybody’s pain is unique. Most of my pain comes from my jaw joints, and throughout the years, it has exploded to encompass my whole head and upper body. The average head weighs about 10 pounds, yet mine feels like it weighs 100. (I might be exaggerating here.) But one of the hardest things to manage is controlling my emotions — from smiling and laughing, to anger and pain. All of these emotions are transferred to the muscles and nerves in my face, and for me, these are the areas that cause the most pain.
An anger hangover is similar to a smile hangover — it’s a work-out for the painful muscles in my face. And the recent tussles with my apartment manager have given me quite an anger hangover. I really hate it when I’m pushed past my emotional limits, at least with the anger side of the equation. I usually don’t regret my smile hangovers. 🙂
But as many times as I tell myself that there is nothing worth getting angry over and suffering this additional pain, my emotions are in control, the roller coaster ride begins, and I am left with a hangover. I’ve had my share of alcohol and drug hangovers, and as much as I like to use comparisons, I’m not sure I have one that better illustrates anger and smile hangovers. I think this information helps:
There are 43 muscles in the face, most of which are controlled by the seventh cranial nerve (also known as the facial nerve). This nerve exits the cerebral cortex and emerges from your skull just in front of your ears. It then splits into five primary branches: temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular and cervical. These branches reach different areas of the face and enervate muscles that allow the face to twist and contort into a variety of expressions…
One of the comments on the CDC’s website was from a TMJ patient, someone whose desperation appears to have forced her into extreme treatments. I say extreme because I was lucky enough to escape from the medical industry with just one surgery, while others have stories like these:
Comment from Theresa Schramm
After 32 years of dealing with temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction, I had both of my jaw joints replaced and all of my remaining natural teeth pulled earlier this year. The TMJ dysfunction has improved, and is still improving as I slowly get used to dentures, but the headaches and myofascial pain have not. The surgeon was very clear in warning me up front that the pain might not improve with this surgery, and he was right. It seems that the 32 years I spent trying to find ways to treat this has left me with incurable scar tissue all around my jaw joints on both sides. This scar tissue affects every move I make with my face, from simple carrying on a conversation all the way up to eating. My mouth will never open as wide as it should, nor will it move from side to side. I experience pain on a daily basis, sometimes in my jaw joint areas and more often all over my head. It hurts to talk on the phone for more than 15 minutes. Singing causes such pain I have almost completely given it up…
I suppose all of this is to warn ya’ll that I’ll need some major art therapy before I begin my chicken soup journey, so there will be lots of posts today. My prescription for this pain storm includes no talking, no smiling, and efforts to remain calm, quiet, and peaceful. May these kinds of journeys be easier for you than they are for me. 🙂