Jaw Pain Question - 5 weeks from clipping

I'm five weeks out from an open craniotomy to clip a 5mm unruptured aneurysm on my left side. I feel great (finally off the horrid meds!) and, while I still get tired after a busy day, mostly, I'm back to normal.

I do, however, have the jaw stiffness and pain that others have had with similar surgery -- I'm chewing gum and doing exercises recommended by my surgeon, but I wonder if anyone can give me a sense of timing? How long will the pain linger? Will I ever be able to open my mouth wide again? Have I eaten my last club sandwich?

Any thoughts or experiences would be great!

Dear saraht, it will definitely go away completely, I had this pain and stiffness too for probably nearly a year. I had an emergency craniotomy and clipping after a rupture and subarachnoid bleed, I even couldn't eat my favourite cookies without breaking them into smaller pieces, but you'll be back to eating club sandwiches in the not too distant future! Just take it slow and don't force the jaw to stretch too far too soon! I'm 26 years over the surgery and am absolutely fine.

Hi Saraht: Please allow me to apologize for not answering your question but I’m curious about your post. I have 2 unruptured 3mm aneurysms on my left side near my cheek and left ear. I see the neurosurgeon next week.

When you say 5 weeks out and back to normal, are you back to work and/or resuming your normal activities? I’m very nervous about the recovery time which I know varies by individual. Thanks and best wishes to you.

I am 13yrs. out from craniotomy to clip a 6mm wide neck annie behind my right eye. Patience, patience, patience. You sound like you are doing great, to be back to pretty much your new normal. It does take time for those muscles to heal. I also had a left broken jaw years before my surgery and after having my mouth wired shut for 6 wks or so it took me a few months before I could fully open my jaw. I still have some pain on my right side from time to time depending on what I do. As joy said it will get better, just like everything else after having a crainotomy. I think you just get use to the little twinges of pain and weird feelings and weather changes that make you feel different. Hang in there and don't try to do to much too soon you are still very early in recovery. robyn

It will go away totally if I am an indication. One day it will be gone!!! Happy on your results too!!

Dear Saraht,

I am 15 years post-craniotomy, and I can assure you things will get better. Like you, my clipping was for an unruptured aneurysm. It takes a very long time to heal, but the day will come when you feel like your old self again. The fatigue seems to be one of the longest-lasting symptoms. All the best to you.

David Andrus, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


I am 2 years 2 months post clipping for unruptured right middle cerebral artery annie. I had the stiffness and pain in my jaw for a while..... I wish I could tell you exactly how long but I just remember one day eating something that I hadn't been able to eat previously and I thought "wow, it's finally better!" It was within a year of the surgery- I'd like to think somewhere around six months it was completely gone.

I'm so happy you are doing well with such minimal residual effect.

Sending healing your way-


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The jaw stiffness is normal. I experienced the same thing. Oftentimes, when the neurosurgeon has to cut into the skull, the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint and the tendons and muscles) will be cut. It does heal, but it takes time. I spent about a month chewing gum and doing various stretches before the stiffness eased back to "normal."

The fatigue is also normal and has lasted the longest for me. Four years post, I still need my sleep at night plus a short 30 minute nap during the day.

Very glad you are feeling better after five weeks! I also had the craniotomy and clipping and remember trying to open my mouth to eat something as small as an apple was difficult. It was about several months later that I could open much more and then about a year when it was back to normal. I still have numbness around my temple but it's slowly going away. I wouldn't lose hope on that club sandwich just yet.

Oh no, it does go away, it just take a bit of time. I think it was probably 3 to 4 months

before it was totally better.... good luck to you...

My surgeon, who was the same as yours and I love him, also told me to chew gum. But my dentist said “no way” and instead showed me a way to gently stretch my jaw each day with my fingers. Between that and just “time” it’s gotten a lot better in 2 years. But there are things I still need to eat with fork and knife that I could previously bite into. So…better but not perfect.

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it will I think it took me like six-eight weeks same side clipping snd scenario :)

Oh don’t worry. It’s temporary - or at least it was for me. I could barely get my mouth around a small piece of toast at first. I don’t remember how long it took to get better. My family thinks it was about 12 weeks or so. Congrats on being on this side of this wild adventure. Have a great one! Cindy

I saw my dentist a few months post surgery for a regular check-up and couldn't open my mouth wide enough for x-rays. My dentist basically treated me for TMJ -stretching, massages (painful at first - actually massaged inside the mouth hitting pressure points in the jaw area), and an appliance (mouthpiece) that I still wear to sleep 4 years post craniotomy. It did take me several months to lose the jaw pain, and still have skull aches and jaw aches from time to time - nothing that interferes with enjoying life.

I had 2 clippings on the right side and it took me a while 8-10 wks to get my jaw back to normal and still have pain occasionally and it will catch every once in a while and get stuck. It takes time so just be patient.

The pain will go away. It takes time. You have had major trauma. It took many months before I could lay on my left side. I did a lot of fancy pillow fluffing. One morning I woke up and I was on my left side...no pain. Don't give up on the exercises. Give it time. I too was in a hurry to get back to "normal" or whatever that is.

I guess it sounds like it depends on who you are…I still cant eat a club sandwich and im 3 years out…I just think mine was done too tight…not sure…I did the gum chewing and exercises and they didnt work??? Hopefully this doesnt happen to you!

Hello, I had jaw pain/stiffness. It comes from the cutting of the masticating muscle in the temporal area to remove bone flap.Mine was cut twice(for same surg.) and very shortened. Had PT for it but, it took time approximately 8 months before I could chew without stiffness or open without soreness or pain. For me chewing gum was like running on a pulled muscle,over use made it more painful. what worked for me was stretching of the jaw/mouth open wide and hold.using the AAAA,EEEE,AHHHH mouth shapes in a exaggerated way. Good luck and eat well.

Hi Saraht. the surgeon told me to use my fingers to stretch the muscles that had been affected by the crainiotomy. It took four months before I could open my mouth all the way.

Hi, it took me about 6mths before I could open my mouth all the way. Hang in there.