R A Flare with Jaw pain, feeling worried

I may be just writing this to calm myself down but any re-assurance or advice would help. I am trying so hard not to catastrophise but this has set off my health anxiety massively. Am I right to be so worried, will this cause serious damage? Unfortunately it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow so I know it will be a struggle to get advice/re-assurance from the rheumy team or doctors.

I have rheumatoid arthritis & am on weekly biologic injections of Tocilizumab. I had to come off it for an unrelated operation for what ended up being 6 weeks. Went back on it, fine for 2 weeks then felt unwell just as my next jab was due so I didn’t take that weeks jab as doctor decided I had throat infection & gave me antibiotics called Clarithromycin.

Problem now is I have the worst flare I’ve had in months. My fingers are swollen & stiff, my knees & elbows sore but the thing I find most scary is the pain in my jaw and temple & sinus pressure (which I’m assuming might be what is called TMJ). I’ve never really had this before in 25 years + of this disease & was considering taking Predisolone steroid tablets, I have left over, but it says I can’t take them with the antibiotics I’m on (good job I checked). So I’m left just taking my celecoxib as an anti inflammatory & hoping it works.

Feeling so nervous, any advice?


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,598

    I really wish I could advise. My - totally unprofessional-guess would be that the lack of toc started a flare which the throat infection augmented. Fortunately the antibiotic you've been given is considered a potential aid for RA so no problems there. I can only suggest pain relief, doing whatever you can to take your mind off it and then tomorrow ringing your duty pharmacist (There's usually one open even on Bank Hols) for advice if you're rheumatology helpline isn't operating. Or you could try 111. (Well, you could here in Scotland. Can you still in England?)

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,010

    I hope all will be well for you @MissA

    I have just come back from the dentist and had a filling replaced in my back upper wisdom tooth. It reminded me very much of going after my jaw played me up horrendously.

    Mine was agony when we were on a trip to Scotland in a lodge over Christmas. I wasn't sure what it was at all; teeth jaw even ear they all hurt so much.

    In the end I was cleaning my teeth one day and it clicked my tongue went numb for about 5 minutes and then the jaw stuck very slightly open mostly shut. All I had was Arcoxia I think like you at the time and the hyrdoxy I was on then. It did ease off over time. I used a warm wheatbag (the kind you microwave) and lived on soup and soft food.

    By the time I got to my already booked dental appointment in the January it had eased right off. He did suggest making a point of relaxing my jaw Particularly at night) and even offered to make me a mouthguard for at night to keep it in a relaxed position. It was £200 so I thought

    Since then it's been pretty well ok I seem to be able to 'head it off at the pass' if things feel a bit iffy nowadays.

    Husband loved it he had a couple of quiet weeks!

    Hope yours eases off.

    toni x

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,010

  • MissA
    MissA Member Posts: 50

    Thank you both for your comments. The whole body flare seems to have eased off a lot, along with my state of panic. I’ve been rotating a hot water bottle & ice pack, bed rest & anti-inflammatories.

    The whole jaw thing did get me thinking about the dentist. I have booked a check up next month & will ask about my jaw.

    My heart just sinks with the thought of more appointments for something else that may be wrong but that seems to be the way things are at the moment.

    Thank you again

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,598

    I'm glad things have eased up but I like your plan as a belt and braces job.

    Believe me, we all get the dread of more appointments for potentially more problems. Sometimes life seems to consist of medical appointments and exercises ie body maintenance. For what? More medical appointments and more exercises😉 But we know, deep down, it makes sense so we do it eventually. (Memo to self - get those orthotics and podiatry appointments made TODAY!)

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Becky88
    Becky88 Member Posts: 91

    Jaw pain can be draining. I have RA and TMJ problems. It can also affect the surrounding areas, in my case... i.e ear pain, sinuses, headaches. A hard upper night brace/guard did help. Your dentist, gp and a good physiotherapist will also be able to offer advice on exercises.

  • CCM
    CCM Member Posts: 113

    I sometimes get this jaw pain as part if a flare. It lasts sometimes only an hour or so, at most a day.Never any lasting effects.

    Could it be that the upset to your injection routine has casued the problem and it will all settle down when you are fully re-established in your routine?


  • MillieMc
    MillieMc Member Posts: 8
    edited 1. Nov 2022, 12:07


    After speaking with you, your dentist will only decide on the best course of action. To identify the source of your jaw pain, they will examine your teeth and jawbone using an x-ray scan of your mouth. However TMJ disorders [...text removed..] can be a dental problem. mainly caused by an underlying problem with a person’s teeth. For example, teeth grinding, or bruxism, is another cause of jaw pain, and during the consultation, the dentist can spot the signs you might be grinding your teeth and recommend a treatment plan that will also reduce the jaw pain. Nightguards are considered as a solutions for this.

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