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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Treatment side effects for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma:Trismus

origami virus
Trismus - when the jaw muscles contract and you can't "open wide". According to the Merriam-Webster, "spasm of the muscles of mastication resulting from any of various abnormal conditions or diseases (as tetanus)." So, also known as 'lockjaw'. My experience with it is because of the initial surgery on my cheek, as well as the follow-up treatment regimen of radiation. Both have injured my jaw muscles (though my family doubts that, since I still talk a LOT.) To keep the muscles flexible, I have a stack of 16 tongue depressors that I chew on. Check with your doctor and/or physical therapist for whatever method they want you to use. The Oral Cancer Foundation has this page on Trismus, its causes, and methods to keep it at bay:

People that haven't had cancer treatment also can face trismus. If you can open your mouth and put three fingers vertically in between your top and bottom teeth, you probably don't have anything to worry about. If you can't, check with your health care provider about what the cause might be and how to fight it. 

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