Rush-That-Speaks (rushthatspeaks) wrote,

health update

So I had a scan, to see what on earth has been going on with my sinuses since September that has been so disabling, and the answer is... nothing. It's not my sinuses.

It turns out that my temporomandibular joint syndrome, i.e. grinding my teeth in my sleep, clenching my jaw, and so on, has gotten so bad that the nerve tissue has become inflamed, I've lost the voluntary or involuntary ability to relax those muscles, and the damage is manifesting as migraine. I thought it was my sinuses because of the referred pain-- my jaws hurt far too much for me to feel all of, or even most of, the pain as coming from that area. Also, I've had TMJ for at least fifteen years, it's a known issue, but it's certainly never been anywhere near this bad, so the current hypothesis is that this bout was set off by a sinus infection back in the fall which did, in fact, go away with antibiotics. Then the whole thing just never calmed down again and I've been experiencing it as sinus pain partly because initially there was genuine sinus pain.

What I'm saying here is that apparently I have literally had one migraine, at a level just below producing visual effects, but which does cause nausea and vertigo and light-sensitivity and noise-sensitivity and all that jazz, for the past six consecutive months.

No wonder I've been so exhausted, and no wonder this has been so disabling.

The interesting thing is that asking somebody to look into possible migraine issues had been something I was already planning to do, because three times this calendar year my headache spiked into something with visual effects, which is not really something that had previously been happening. Before 2016, I'd had things I could identify as migraine two or three times in my whole life, separated by stretches of years. But this went on my medical to-do list below 'sort out my sinuses', because apparently non-visual migraines are something I find completely indistinguishable in sensation from a really terrible sinus infection which is failing to drain.

In addition, I'm used to discounting things like light-sensitivity, noise-sensitivity, and temperature-sensitivity as clinically significant symptoms, because I had meningitis as a child and the aftereffects have faded slowly over decades. So when people ask me, do you have a headache or does x part of your head hurt, it's like, do you mean discounting or including the headache I have had since 1992? I spent multiple years as an adolescent using a five-watt bulb in my bedroom to read by because it was the greatest amount of light I could tolerate, so it never surprises me when that comes back every so often? It occurs to me now that while the direct meningitis aftereffects were definitely not migraine-- there was a very specific flavor of headache associated with that, and this now is quite a different feeling-- when the whole thing got to the point of just being a vague undercurrent of pain in the background it could easily have switched over into low-grade migraines literally years ago and I would never have been able to tell. Maybe it did, who knows.

The great thing here is that I was told repeatedly by several different types of doctor that there was nothing that could be done for the post-meningitis and it would have to go away on its own, but there is a chance that they can do something about the migraine, especially since the proximate cause is so clearly my jaws. So I am going to see a neurologist, and a dentist, and they will coordinate with one another, and in the meantime I have been told to stop chewing anything and to put hot compresses on my jaws at night, and in just a couple of days of doing that I have seen decided, though not huge, improvements. I think there's a limit to how far compresses &c. can take me, but I am starting to feel a bit better.

So, in general, optimistic.

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