Head & Neck Cancer - nerve/jaw pain

New Contributor

Head & Neck Cancer - nerve/jaw pain

Hi everyone, 

My dad was diagnosed with tongue cancer and had half of his tongue removed along with some lymph nodes. He was cut from his left ear to the middle of his neck. He thankfully beat cancer 4 months ago, but his pain seems almost unbareable and I have no clue how to help. He complains of jaw pain. It seems as though the surgery has altered the muscles in his face causing his jaw to be pulled into the jaw joint causing serious pain. Along with that, he has shooting pain all the way from his ear to his leg. The doctors said nerves in his neck were cut from the surgery. He was put on nerve medicine but he stopped because it made him feel icky.


His scars are so tight and uncomfortable that he can’t even lay in bed to sleep at night because he feels like he is choking on his new tongue and from the tightness across his neck. His bed is his recliner. 


Has anyone else experienced this? Does he just have to deal with this for the rest of his life? Any recommendations for treatment? Any cream or vitamins or food? I’ve been doing so much research but my mom doesn’t think he should use anything like essential oils because that’s just more “chemicals” being put into his body according to her. I think he should go to physical/occupational therapy. I don’t want him to depend on pain pills for the rest of his life if there are options. I feel like he just complains to the doctors and they brush him off. I’m desperate because he’s in a rut and seems to have no gleam of hope.

Thank you.

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Super Contributor

Re: Head & Neck Cancer - nerve/jaw pain

Hi Clairw99,


It's a horrible time for your father and your whole family.      

Regarding the nerve medication, there are different types so if he were to try another one, it might make a huge difference to the pain level for him.  


Regarding the scar tissue - it needs to be massaged every day - and by massage, I mean it has to be rubbed & manipulated as much as possible to break it down.  If he were to do this it would help greatly.  I had surgery on my neck similar to your father's where they cut from above my ear right down to the middle of my neck.  The surgeon gave me some Chlorsig to massage into it when the stitches came out.  It worked wonders, even though it is an eye ointment.  Otherwise, I suggest using vitamin E oil.  It is supposed to reduce scaring very well, but you have to use it every day.


If your Dad is having diffiiculty with eating, he can be referred to a dietitian through Community Health, who can organise supplements for him, or give him advice for options that will get his vitamin intake up to a good level.  Soups are really good because they're easy to eat and can be packed full of veggies.


If he doesn't like how his doctors are taking his complaints, he should make it known to them that he isn't happy with just being brushed off, or he should look around for another doctor.   Unfortunately, there are those in the medical profession that think their time is more precious than ours, or,  they don't know what else to do so they simply brush off our concerns.  


Anyway, I hope things improve for your father.  Take care




New Contributor

Re: Head & Neck Cancer - nerve/jaw pain

Thank you very much Budgie. Every bit of advice helps. 

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