What’s the best way to rapidly reduce swelling after jaw surgery?
In this post, I’ll share my personal success story (and a few strategies) for how I was able to quickly reduce swelling after jaw surgery.
(Psst you may also want check out After Jaw Surgery, my Ultimate Guide to Jaw Surgery Recovery)
After my upper jaw advancement surgery, I wanted my facial swelling, crusty lips, and general mask-like appearance to go away as quickly as possible so I could see what I was really going to look like for the rest of my life. I had very little swelling for the first 60 hours after jaw surgery. I commended myself on all the bromelain I took in the weeks leading up to jaw surgery and thought I was in the clear.
But, on the fourth day, my jaw surgery swelling reached its ugly peak. On the fifth day, Dr. Li called me Richard Nixon. On the sixth day, still nothing had changed and so I resigned myself to the slow recovery process I’d heard about and feared.
Then, magically, on the seventh day, something changed. I could smile without pain, I could laugh without restraint. People stopped looking at me with pitying glances. And, for the first time, I looked in the mirror and saw the old me instead of the expressionless, puffy dolls’ face I’d been seeing for the past 7 days.
(Learn more about how to quickly reduce swelling after jaw surgery with my Super Cheap and Good Ebook Guide to Reducing Swelling After Jaw Surgery! :))
At just 2.5 weeks after jaw surgery, no one could believe I had had surgery! While this irked me slightly because I was still on my crappy restricted diet of mush and gruel, I was secretly thrilled not to invite stares anymore, and even happier with how healthy and right my smile was looking.
Here are 5 natural methods I employed to quickly reduce swelling after jaw surgery:
1. Follow a high-dose regimen of vitamins and supplements
Bromelain is a powerful enzyme that’s been approved by the German government as an effective anti-inflammatory for surgery, especially around the nose and sinus. It’s also known as a treatment for sports injury, digestion, and cancer.
Turmeric is recognized in traditional Indian Ayurveda and Western naturopathic medicine as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent. The International Journal of Cancer reported that its active ingredient, curcumin, killed cancerous growth in lab tests. I’ve also had Indian master yogis tell me it works wonders for flexibility and joint health. This results page has tons more info.
Quercetin is one of my favorite bioflavanoids because it’s an antihistamine. Since transitioning to a healthy diet and lifestyle as an adult, my allergies have been much less severe than when I was a junk-food eating teenager. But, I still take quercetin to calm my occasional allergy symptons, which I did NOT want to experience after upper jaw and septum surgery. Luckily, it’s also known to be an anti-inflammatory and, like many anti-inflammatory treatments, an anti-cancer agent. (Chinese medicine and Western naturopathic medicine both link chronic, systemic inflammation to cancer, so the dual role of these treatments makes sense).
Vitamin C is, quite simply, one of the world’s greatest CHEAP cure-alls. In fact, Michael Murray, the author of the The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine Third Edition, says it is the most cost-effective anti-oxidant you can find on the market. What American doesn’t love bang for their buck? You’ll always find an extra-large bottle of high-quality food-based Vitamin C in my cupboard, like the one from Rainbow Light.
2. Two Walks a Day
Even if I was feeling tired, freakish-looking, and lazy, I forced myself to take a shower, put on normal clothes and take TWO 15 – 30 minute walks every single day. Dr. Li said that walking helps with lymph drainage after surgery, and that patients should start going for short walks the day after surgery – I take his word for it. I noticed that my swelling was usually at its daily peak in the morning, after a night of being immobile and horizontal. My swelling was at its most minimal after my walk. It’s also important to leave the couch and accompanying furry friends, if you have them, and get out to breathe and exercise.
3. Ice like you just ran a marathon
I ran a marathon in 2003, one of the hardest and most rewarding accomplishments of my life. After the race, I took an ice bath, as recommended by some huge runner’s bible I’d bought. Though it was excruciating, I had no absolutely no muscle soreness after the marathon and was ready to run again in only a few days. After jaw surgery, I iced for 30 minute increments, off and on all day long, for the first 3 to 4 days. I often noticed an immediate swelling reduction after icing, so I know it paid off.
4. Stay very well hydrated
Water can help to flush out excess bloating and swelling. It can be tough to drink anything when you’re dealing with jaw surgery, but it’s critically important and well worth the extra work.
5. Try Traumeel and arnica
Traumeel Gel is an arnica cream that’s a fantastic recovery aid for any type of injury or trauma, as the name suggests. I applied Traumeel to my face several times a day, for the first 7 days after jaw surgery. Traumeel, and Arnica Montana pellets, addresses the swelling and also bruising. Bruising is common with jaw surgery, but I actually experienced zero unsightly bruising.
Is it worth it to take extra measures to reduce swelling and pain faster? I think so. You might have read on other sites, or heard from your surgeon, that the swelling can sometimes take 4 months to go away. 4 months!! I remember thinking, heck no, that’s not gonna be me, especially for the visible, external swelling. I was ready to get back to my normal life, and did not really feel like waiting 4 months. I believed it was possible to do better than this, and now I know it’s possible — using myself as my own guinea pig.
Are you looking for more after jaw surgery recovery strategies?
Then you may want to check out After Jaw Surgery, my Ultimate Guide to Jaw Surgery Recovery.
The After Jaw Surgery Ultimate Guide includes:
- More easy ways to rapidly reduce swelling after jaw surgery in your face and neck
- A comprehensive list of inexpensive supplements that are actually worth it
- Recovery nutrition: what you need to know, and a few no-nos that will surprise you
- Fun inspiration for your recovery, and why you should get excited now!
And, it’s Super Cheap at $9.95 (otherwise known as a coffee and a bagel at the airport).