New here... not sure about diagnosis or treatment

I already had a neurologist in a big city for unrelated issues. He is hoping this is shingles without a rash, so I’ve been on Valtrex almost a week. My PCP prescribed carbamazepine and says this isn’t dental - she wondered about TMJ or muscle spasm. Obviously she must also think it could be TN.

I have been having changing facial/jaw pain that is severe, on the right side only; it’s been bad for about 2 weeks. So far, nothing seems to help (ice, heat, Flonase, Benadryl, lidocaine rinse, Tylenol) except not sleeping on that side and the carbamazepine my PCP prescribed. I can take about 200mg in the morning and 300mg at night - more and I have trouble finding words, typing, and I fall more and seem drunk. That is not always enough to make the pain bearable all time or let me sleep every night. I have the weird tone distortion side effect-tolerable but so strange when most are lower than they were. Carbamazepine helps me to sleep most nights but I’m sometimes up for the day due to pain at 1am (last night).

It seems I do have TMJ - both sides of my jaw crunch when I move them, and now I have lots of tension in my jaw, head, neck, and shoulders, but this seems mostly secondary to the pain. I’ve never had that diagnosis or treatment.

I’ve had milder versions of this pain here and there for months or years (blamed CPAP mask or tooth discomfort), but it’s become something that affects me at least every hour and consistently wakes me while sleeping. It’s a lot more severe than it was, where I can’t focus to read when it’s bad now. There is usually a twinge before it moves to a new spot and it often throbs. The roof of the mouth is one of the worst… it also goes next to my nose, near my eye, and feels like different parts of my jaw are broken. Biting down hurts under the roots my teeth, if that makes sense, as in my “jaw is bruised”, but it’s not only on the top or bottom jaw. Breathing deeply and brushing my teeth also make it worse. There is always a deep ache, though. Last night my CPAP mask suddenly felt like it was crushing my right face (still hurts including under my eye where the mask doesn’t touch). I’ve tried 30+ masks and there isn’t another one I can use. Is there anything else I can do to help? Is TENS okay to use on my face?

My friend is a doctor and is concerned this is a tooth nerve issue. I do have lots of fillings and there are a couple of upper teeth that particularly hurt(under the tooth not in it) when the teeth meet all the way - not when I chew or eat cold or hot food. I hesitate to see a dentist, partly for COVID, partly because I think they will just want to do work without “seeing” a reason, just due to my pain. I really don’t want that. This whole thing might be due to a metal filling that had to be immediately changed for porcelain because I had electric shocks through the filling as soon as anesthesia wore off. But, my lower teeth also hurt, and the roof of my mouth has been a particularly painful spot at times - not near those teeth.

Sorry for writing a book - I’m trying to answer questions before they come up and all :slight_smile: thanks for having me here!

Just some Quick thoughts after reading your posting.
If you live anywhere near N.C. I would rec. Dr. Aurelio Alonso, DDS, PhD . He is head of Duke’s Orofacial pain clinic. He is both kind and funny and surrounded by other specialists that may be able to parse this diagnosis out for you.
IF you do have Shingles —on top of the Valttrex ,try to avoid high Arginine containing foods and add L.Lysine to your treatment . While LLysine is often used for Herpes Simplex, some people have also found it helpful for Herpes Zoster . The People’s Pharmacy had a section on this use.
Studies on LLysine in humans have had differing results . Some think it’s because the various studies used different dosages. But many people do report it is helpful .
In my use of LLysine for Shingles I found it does help to decrease Arginine intake and increase LLysine
BUT Arginine is related to Nitric oxide which can affect BP… LLysine has been safely used by many people but I get a little nervous when people say they stay on it continuously. I can see WHY if it helps Zoster pain but in the long run I personally think taking the doses requires to treat Shingles pain might be harmful on a continuous basis .

Thanks for your input! I’m in New England and actually have a great pain specialist already. I don’t see him for pain, but I guess I will!

I don’t eat meat and am only 40. I think my risk of this being shingles is super low. I have had the symptoms for a while, coming and going. I will certainly add L. lysine if I do, I have had good luck with other amino acids like taurine for palpitations. My BP is actually too low.

I partly wanted reassurance that this probably wasn’t dental. Taking 400mg of carbamazepine nearly removes the “under tooth” tenderness and it seems to vary anyway.

I have low Bp also ( POTS) but too much L Lysine kicked a migraine in gear
The ENT who rec the Lysine mentioned it’s NO effects as the probable cause

Interesting! I don’t have POTS but I do have some kind of dysautonomia and cerebral vessel spasm when I’m upright. It’s odd.