Wikipedia redux: from tmj, trigeminal neuralgia to dog diseases, cherbuism and a list of Star Trek races

Disclaimer: The first part of Day 11’s prompt is meant as satire, and not to belittle chronic pain, nor the WEGO #HAWMC’s April project. I was feeling a bit tongue in cheek. I did get more serious for the second part.  And, WordPress messed up my fonts again!

The task for todays #HAWMC was to “revise your condition’s Wikipedia” page. . .  . Has Wikipedia forgotten to include your condition.” So, I wikied atypical facial pain, choosing it over health issues. Now, I didn’t expect to find it – atypical by its nature means there is no injury, trauma or disease that caused the condition. And, there are many reasons why your face would hurt.

The list of the first 20 were what you would expect: trigeminal neuralgia (several entries), TMJ, migraine. It was the next series of entries where the randomizing of the words “atypical,” “facial,” and “pain” got interesting. These included:

List of dog diseases

Other symptoms can include stunted growth and a ferret like facial … The atypical form and the form caused by abrupt withdrawal of steroids

List of Star Trek races

of initiating first contact was atypical; they brought other races to  Denobulan: The Denobulans are humanoid with facial ridges


disproportionate due to the fibrous tissue and atypical bone formation. the facial nerve as well as the zygomatic branch of the facial nerve.

When I added “chronic” the list got shorter; there was no generic description of atypical chronic facial pain. That’s the problem with a diagnosis that has a community of one; there’s nothing to hang your hat on, no list of symptoms and treatments, no organizations specifically targeting your health issue.

So, the sentence or three I would put in my entry:

Chronic Atypical Facial Pain: pain in the face not caused by any underlying trauma or disease. The severity of the pain can increase with time, use of the jaw in talking, chewing, smiling, position of the neck (can be related to impingement of nerves), and life. It can be treated with opioids, drugs for neuropathy (Lyrica), NSAIDs. The pain resembles a combination of several sensitive abscessed teeth with large cavities, a severely infected sinus, a black eye, and pressure like a thumb being scrunched down on the face. Trigger point injections, nerve blocks, acupuncture, massage, chocolate, white wine, and cheesecake are other methods that can be used for treatment. It is an invisible illness; there is no cure for this condition as there is no cause.

K, so white wine, cheesecake and chocolate would never be prescribed. But then, until I found my doctor in 2004, I also never met a health care professional who truly believed that my face hurt. She would no doubt agree with the chocolate!

While I was at it, I wikied “atypical chronic odontalgia” and I was surprised when I got an answer as part of a broader discussion about toothaches:

Atypical odontalgia is a form of toothache present in apparently normal teeth. The pain, generally dull, often moves from one tooth to another for a period of 4 months to several years. The cause of atypical odontalgia is not yet clear, although some form of nerve deafferentation is plausible.

I would add to this that a) the pain isn’t dull, it can be excruciating, b) lasts for many years (6 and counting), c) can affect multiple teeth at the same time, d) most pain medications do not work on this condition, e) is disbelieved by almost all health care and dental providers, f) if you have it, you are not imagining things or nuts; perfectly healthy teeth can feel like they need a root canal.

Tomorrow’s prompt: “Ekphrasis (writing about another art form) Post.” Find a Flickr image in Creative Commons that inspires you and free write about it for 15 minutes without stopping. “Brave bonus: publish it without editing![You can include a disclaimer])”

Oh boy, does that include typos from my fingers finding the wrong keys or writing words I wasn’t thinking about? I’m getting nervous already! Winking smile