I have been dealing with pain, popping and pressure in my ear canals for a year and a half now with no relief. When I press right in front of my ear (where the mandible connects) it is always sensitive and hurts and the pain and pressure in this area and the ear canals varies from slight to horrible but is always constant.
This is a constant thorn in my side along with reoccurring sinus infection to various degrees over the year-and-a-half.
I want to cover all bases here because I still am leaving the possibility of TMJ-related issues open and hope to get some feedback from people.
Here's some background:
-These sinus and ear issues came on ONLY after I had my lower
wisdom teeth removed in Nov. 2007. Never had I experienced ANY of these symptoms before my tooth extraction.
-I do have allergies to grass pollens and dust, but have had them all of my life and never had these kind of symptoms associated with them
. My allergy symptoms have always been consistent (just itchy, sneezy, eyes watery stuff)
- Dentist and Oral Surgeon (whom I went back to see) refuse to believe this has anything to do with my previous extraction. Both see no other glaringly obvious signs of TMJ other than the ear pain, pressure and popping. I have ruled out a visit to a TMJ specialist up until now, simply because my insurance doesn't cover it and I don't have ANY
jaw related pain, teeth clenching or any other symptoms that are so common in TMJ patients.
- I have been to 4 family practitioners, 3 ENT doctors and a naturopath
during this whole year-and-a-half ordeal. The family practitioners were early on when I just thought I was getting sick often (which.....well, I was with the sinus infections) and they spent most of our visits throwing antibiotics at me and telling me to neti pot (which I now do religiously, but with little relief), but no answers for the ear troubles.
The first ENT doc was no help. I had no signs of infection and she just acted like I was being a hypochondriac. She was extremely rude and didn't even seem concerned enough to CT scan me. I let it go for awhile, quite burnt out on always feeling sick and not getting any relief.
I went to a second a month or so later. This guy seemed more thorough and had the CT done. It showed that I had a significant deviated septum and very small nasal passages, but no answer on the ears. He just assumed the ears could be residual pain from the sinuses. He, of course, recommended surgery but also admitted it might do nothing for my ear pain and pressure. Within a week of the CT Scan, he dumped my insurance carrier and I was unable to see him anymore (which was okay cuz' he was a little introverted and weird)
The third doc I hunted down on my own off of Internet reviews. I was pretty sick with a sinus infection when I went in, but was mainly concerned about the ear discomfort.He was outraged at the infection I had at the time and put me back on antibiotics and had me re-tested for allergies. 2 weeks later when the allergies came up the same and I had gone through the antibiotic, he seemed surprised I was still having trouble and just said that surgery is an option but was very unclear about what I should do about my ears. He didn't go over the CT Scan with me (which is my fault) but did validate that issues were showing up on scan.
He sent me to a colleague who was a neurologist (and, no joke here, HIGHLY intoxicated on something at the time) who insisted I get an MRI right off the bat to eliminate anything "out of the ordinary". I did get the MRI, but never returned to him for obvious reasons.
My family practitioner received the results from the MRI that were clean of anything abnormal and has put me on a strict regiment of steroid nasal sprays for the time being (I was a bit lax on when I used it last time I tried the steroid sprays so I'm gonna try it again- although, I can't imagine it will help my ear pain and pressure.)
The naturopath visit was out of desperation a month ago. He's done what you can imagine he WOULD do. Put me on a strict gluten-free, no-sugar, no-dairy diet and had blood work done (and of course, tried to sell me a bunch of his
) Blood work showed good health and although I feel a bit "lighter" from the diet, it's done nothing to change the feeling in my ears and in fact, the sinus infection I got last week was the worse one I had all year.
I do take Grapefruit Seed Extract, Oregano Oil and NAC regularly as natural supplements in hopes I am thinning mucous membranes.
So, that's where I am at.
I think my next moves are to get into another good, recommended ENT doc for a thorough opinion on the CT Scan and MRI and then a good (and sober) neurologist for the endoscopy I have been reading about on these boards.. Any other ideas or feedback?
Should I see a TMJ specialist even though I have absolutely NO jaw pain or dysfunction and it's going to cost me out of pocket?
The only other thing I can add is that I do often times feel run down
(especially when the sinus infections come on) and that I DO get these sinus infections every couple weeks to a month or two.
I have had a couple bouts of feeling "foggy" in the head
and even times of disorientation
. In fact, I even had headache, disorientation and nausea out of nowhere 3 weeks ago, but then it was gone.
Again, let me reiterate. Coincidence or not, I never had any of theses symptoms until after my bottom wisdom teeth were removed.
What I will say is this. This is starting to really affect my mental health and my overall happiness and even my relationship with my girlfriend. I know many of you out there can sympathize. Some days it can weigh on you like a ton of bricks and it's hard to keep on a game face. I want to be back to my old self again, but it's so difficult when you always feel crummy and defeated.