Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ask Bella: Physiotherapy and range of motion, part two

Q: As I read this, I am at work propping my mouth open with a pile of tongue depressors. They do make me tear up in the beginning, but now I went from 27 mm to almost 35 mm in about a week! Not too shabby. I'm hoping to get to the 40 mm mark in a week or two. I think I can do it...just need to buy more tongue depressors! (I'm up to 18, and I only bought 20). Anyway have you ever tried this?

A: Wow - 27 mm to 35 mm in one week? That's got to be some kind of a record or something! Congratulations! I was surprised at how well stacking tongue depressors on top of each other and using them to pry my mouth open works. (I'm up to about 24 tongue depressors at the moment.)

Once I grew out of my jaw jack, my surgeon told me to try this trick and attempt to add one more tongue depressor each day.

It's difficult, because the tongue depressors don't have any "give" to them like the jaw jack does, so once you've got them in there, they're in there. I'm a bit claustrophobic, so I have to remind myself that I can easily pull a couple of them out and I won't be stuck like that.

Another thing about the tongue depressors that is a bit annoying is that they really dry your mouth out, which can be uncomfortable. I was thinking that something that might help is to get a latex glove and put the tongue depressors in the fingers, stacking them on top of each other that way. Then, you get the advantages without the disadvantages.

Thanks for reminding me about this - I can't believe I didn't mention it before. The best thing about it is that it's a cheap alternative to some of the more expensive medical jaw stretching devices out there, and it works just as well.

Anyone else have good jaw rehabilitation tips they can share?

*To ask Bella a question about her jaw surgery, email her at smilingbella at gmail dot com or leave a comment on this post. Go ahead: ask away!!


nabukay said...

wow never ever heard of tongue depressers? maybe its because i didn't get the surgery. well i hope in general you are doing well because it does not say here.

Bella said...

Hi Nabukay,

I am doing really well these days - thanks for asking! It appears as though I've kicked the anemia, and today in physio, we made it to 41 mm, so things are progressing, slowly, but still progressing. Hooray!

chinderella said...

I've never heard of them either. Perhaps I'm not at this stage, I don't know.

Great to hear you've kicked the anemia. Yay!



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