After my Physical Therapy, I felt GREAT! The PT said that most folks can only handle about 10 minutes of the pressure put on the jaw and neck. I was able to manage 45 minutes and it was well worth the torture :)
Yes, I was extremely sore for the last four days (but nothing compared to the last four years). Before the visit, I could barely open my mouth. Before the massage treatment, I was unable to relax and "pop" my neck to relieve the tension. Before last Friday, I would lose my voice daily.
Today, I have maintained my stretches and continued using the "bite block" (a stack of tongue depressors held by rubber bands placed between teeth to hold mouth open). My neck is still tight; yet, I have progress. The huge lump feeling in my throat is now just slight and massaging my neck does reduce that feeling. I am sleeping better and able to talk the entire day. I am actually singing (in the car and at home) with reduced pain. I will have much work to do there yet as my voice is weak from the long slumber; but, the signs of improvement are exciting.
My next visit is next week. Ah, I am a glutton for punishment :) I may actually attend Choir soon and that will be a HUGE praise! To be able to sing of His mercy and grace will be a testament to enduring the worst and waiting for His timing. God is good all the time.
If you ever wonder if massage is worth the money... it is. If you truly give in and relax (so long as the person massaging is trained), the tension will release in the muscles. It turned out that my muscles had constantly got the message to contract and not to release; therefore, my jaw basically locked. Both my jaw and neck were full of knots and tense muscles. I literally felt dozens of those spots during the massage. I still have some there that will eventually go away. After years of this condition, I am able to turn my neck and not have a headache, WOW.
As a result of seeing the ENT and PT, I know that the surgeries were the root cause much of the tension. I have realized that my chiropractor correctly recognized the spinal misalignment (all due to the muscle tension). And I now understand why none of those adjustments made did much good, as the muscles failed to release. Now, I wonder if all of those quick adjustments (jerks) to one side or the other may have also contributed to my situation.
I am all for alternative medicine and therapy; on the other hand, I wonder if an all encompassed approach would have avoided my pain over the last four years. Surely, if all the doctors would have discussed my care (together) rather than me simply relaying this or that diagnosis and treatments... well anyway, it is all about communication. The entire world needs to do a better job of that. I hope that others read here and gain from my experiences as I have.