Tuesday, 15 September 2015

TMJ and the problem with Baclofen - it can cause leg pain

I suffer from TMJ which is defined as "temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called TMJ, are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement."

The cause of my jaw problem is stress. I clench my teeth when I sleep. The more stressed I am, the worse it gets. My jaw clicks, one jaw joint moves in and out, I wake up with headaches and neck pain and the pain can be excruciating.

TMJ saps me of energy and I have to take pain relief every day. A few times my jaw has locked and the condition means I have to stick to a soft diet. No baguettes or chews. 

One of the many medications I've been put on was Baclofen. It's a drug used to treat many conditions such as strokes and multiple sclerosis. What it does is stops the spasms and involuntary movements associated with these conditions. The reason it's prescribed for jaw pain is it theoretically stops you clenching your jaw when you sleep. 

At first, the Baclofen worked fine. My jaw pain eased, although I still had to take few painkillers a day. I was allowed to take up to 6 Baclofen a day.

I started to notice that when I got up in the morning my right leg was painful. It would also cramp up. I'd wake up screaming. I was terrified that I had arthritis even although I'm only 42 and have an almost dairy free diet (dairy has been linked to arthritis and you're meant to restrict dairy in your diet if you have the condition). 

I didn't immediately attribute this leg pain to the Baclofen until one morning I woke up and I couldn't move my right leg. I managed to roll myself out of bed and spent fifteen minutes rubbing my leg trying to get the circulation back into it. I'd taken 4 Baclofen that day because my jaw was so painful.

I haven't taken any Baclofen since and I'm now on new medication and guess what, I've had no leg pain since. When I mentioned this to my doctor, she told me that because Baclofen stops spasms it can stop your limbs moving whilst you sleep. Hence the leg pain I experienced.

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