New here: ears popping, dizziness, frequent headaches
Hi! I'm glad to have found this board. Like a lot of people, I worry that that I have something like MS or a brain tumor, so I'm hoping to hear that my symptoms are more in line with something ear-related or possible even TMJ. I have been very healthy my entire life, with only mild hypothyroidism which is treated with Synthroid; I also was diagnosed a year ago with Crohn's disease, but after taking a round of Prednisone last summer I have had no recurrence and I take no medications for it. I apologize for the length of this first post, but I want to give a good "outline" of my symptoms. Thanks so much for listening!
Timeline: I developed a constant headache following a train trip in the first week of January. I figured it was a tension headache from poor sleep posture on the train. This continued daily; just a nuisance, never severe. I was EXTREMELY tired in the afternoons and evenings (and still am--even when I get 9 hours of sleep). I also had a cold in Jan. that lasted for three weeks. After the runny nose and obvious cold symptoms went away, the headache remained; because it was always focused right on top of/behind my eyebrow bone (both sides), I thought it was just lingering sinus inflammation or pressure left over from the cold. If I pressed in the very center of my brow bones on both sides, I could feel a ropy thing (nerve? tendon?) and it felt like a bruise feels when you rub on it. I also thought the fatigue was left over from the cold.
Also in January, I very suddenly noticed a big decrease in the vision of my left eye. Maybe it had been gradually getting bad, but it felt like it happened overnight. Once I started paying attention and covering up one eye at a time both with and without my glasses on, I could see that even with my glasses on (I only wear glasses to drive and watch TV) everything was very blurry with my left eye. So, I also wondered if eye strain contributed to feeling tired and the constant low-grade headache in my eyebrow region. I got a new lens for my left eye; things are still blurry through my left eye in LOW light situations (with glasses), but appear "even" and normal in bright daylight with my glasses on.
Well, the headaches finally started getting much better about a week ago. Now I can still feel pain if I press lightly on my brown bone, and I get very quick "flashes" of pain on different parts of my skull (especially the base, where it meets the spine, and if I rub on the muscles in that part of my head and neck it aches), I often wake up at night with bad pain in a certain part of my forehead or skull, but changing my sleep position makes it instantly go away. I also occasionally wake up with strong pain behind my ears but as soon as I've been awake for a minute or two and "relax" my jaw, this pain goes away.
Finally, about two weeks ago, I also became aware that my ears were popping frequently. It happens mostly when I drive, but sometimes even just walking around the house and going from room to room. While driving, it is almost constant--every time I swallow I can feel my ears pop. THere is never pain and I don't think I have any ringing or tinnitis. In fact, most of the time I'm not even aware of the pressure until I feel the pop.
The most disconcerting part of all this is that for about two weeks, I've noticed a worsening sense of lightheadedness/dizziness. I've experienced vertigo before, and it doesn't totally feel like that; there isn't really a spinning sensation, but when I move my head or talk, I feel "off balance" momentarily. For example, if I've been looking at the computer screen and then I look at an object next to the computer on the floor, I get this sensation that the floor is moving away from me, or shifting. It's just for an instant. It's usually stuff in my periphery; if I'm concentrating on something, like talking, then I feel like things are shifting around me. It's sort of a "falling" sensation. I've never tripped, I have no trouble walking in a straight line, but it's more of a visual sensation which is really disconcerting. It's much like how you feel when you're EXTREMELY tired, and you just feel out of your body and detached and floating. It also occasionally feels like I'm leaning over, or that I want to lean over while sitting, but I'm actually sitting up straight. Sort of a "pulling" sensation. So, I think the lightheadedness has been going on for a long time and I just thought it was tiredness; but now that I'm paying more attention, it happens even when I am feeling more alert. It does get worse on cloudy days and it gets worse as the day goes on, but it's always there, at least to a point. I don't notice it when my eyes are closed or when I'm lying down.
From what I've read, some of this is consistent with TMJD, but I don't ever have pain in my jaw or when I'm chewing. I do experience painless popping in my jaw occasionally. Could I have TMJD without pain in my jaw? Does this sound like any other kind of disorder? The only doctors I have ever seen are my obstetrician and my endocrinologist; what kind of doctor should I see to figure out what's going on? Thanks again!