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Old 01-22-2013, 08:01 AM   #1
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Ear pressure- help!

Hi guys,
Never have posted on the tmj board before but I'm desperately seeking answers. Last year I suffered forever with Eustachian tube problems which I resolved through having surgery(or thought I resolved). The surgery was in June and the ear pressure returned in September. This time though, I could easily pop my ears, pressures were good, etc. My ent got me started on allergy shots and though it took about 2 months, the pressure went away. I attributed it the shots helping me, though now for all I know it might have just been a coincidence.
Two weeks ago today I woke normally and was eating my cereal when I felt a strange sensation in what I think is my left jaw area. It felt kind of sore. I took some ibuprofen but it didn't do much. By the next day my ear (left) felt clogged. I panicked and quickly attempted to pop the ear. It popped as normal, but there was no pressure relief. It was like I never popped it. I scheduled a dr visit and they thought maybe sinuses/allergies and prescribed prednisone 40 mg for 5 days. That didn't do much. I when to an audiologist for Eustachian tube function testing, and that came back normal. I didn't believe it so I had it tested again. Nothing. Since I've had 2 tests done in October that will be 4 normal tests within 3 months. My husband says it can't be the ears since I've passed 4 tests. The only other symptom I've noticed is this weird feeling in what I feel is my jaw area. I've never had any jaw issues before though. This ear episode came on randomly just as it did to me last September. I've bee taking my regular allergy meds/ ibuprofen. Some days in the past 2 weeks I've gotten these horrific headaches that start from the left side and aren't actual pain, but pressure and numbness. I'm getting more concerned by the day and pretty disheartened they no one can find anything so far. Have any of you experienced tmj like this? I'm hesitant to believe its tmj but I'm not getting anywhere with ent.

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:09 AM   #2
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

Dear jen, Have you been checked for sinusitis? Xrays? Sinusitis is when the mucous membranes inside each sinus swell & become inflamed from an irritant such as an allergy or infection. The membrane swells over the meatus or opening in the skull that drains fluid & controls air pressure inside the sinus,obstructing drainage,making pressure build b/c the sinus cannot drain causing pressure in face, headache & pressure behind eardrum. Most drs tap on your face over the sinuses to check for soreness, order sinus xrays, give antihistamine/decongestamts & antibiotics, if no improvement may do endoscopic surgery to remove the membrane off of the sinus opening to alleviate pressure & allow fluid to drain. I hope that you find relief, it was miserable for me until the allergy shots worked about 2 years later.God bless you.

Last edited by gmak; 01-22-2013 at 10:19 AM. Reason: typos

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

I have actually thought sinus issues, it was sinusitis that caused my Eustachian tube issues last year actually. I just saw a general ent and will be seeing a sinus specialist on Monday. I saw the regular ent yesterday and he said its not sinusitis, but I haven't had a ct scan in a year, so hopefully the sinus guy will order some imaging. I can't believe I'm doing fine on the ear tests honestly it feels like its coming from my left ear... The only other clue is that weird sensation in the jaw area on the left side. I guess it could be some kind of sinus thing that only a ct scan can see. I guess I think it's weird that this jaw ( I think) tightness or tingling or whatever it is is going on at the same time.

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:27 AM   #4
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JenPlus2 View Post
I have actually thought sinus issues, it was sinusitis that caused my Eustachian tube issues last year actually. I just saw a general ent and will be seeing a sinus specialist on Monday. I saw the regular ent yesterday and he said its not sinusitis, but I haven't had a ct scan in a year, so hopefully the sinus guy will order some imaging. I can't believe I'm doing fine on the ear tests honestly it feels like its coming from my left ear... The only other clue is that weird sensation in the jaw area on the left side. I guess it could be some kind of sinus thing that only a ct scan can see. I guess I think it's weird that this jaw ( I think) tightness or tingling or whatever it is is going on at the same time.
Hi jen, My best friend had this surgery on both sinuses last summer & continued with symptoms like you describe, she had to go to ER & CT showed large retention cysts that were not removed when she had surgery, That ENT & 4 others dont think the cysts should be removed if not blocking meatus so she continues with the symptoms today.Believe it or not b/c i think it is uncommon her
dentist checked her for TMJ & ruled it out but she keeps a watch on
the retention cysts for her with the panoramic xray, she continues her search for an ENT that will remove the cysts.

Last edited by gmak; 01-22-2013 at 10:32 AM. Reason: info

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:43 AM   #5
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

So your friend had ear pressure but tests showed her ears were ok? I didn't have sinus surgery because my ct scan last year didn't show the need. I was told to get on allergy shots and to aggressively control my allergies. I can pop my ears like crazy, but it does absolutely nothing for the pressure feeling I can't believe that your friend's dr wouldn't do anything to help her! I feel for her. I feel worried that I can't figure out what's wrong either. Drs so far probably think I'm nuts that I'm still complaining over this after 4 ear tests being ok. It's depressing not knowing what's going on with your own body!

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JenPlus2 View Post
So your friend had ear pressure but tests showed her ears were ok? I didn't have sinus surgery because my ct scan last year didn't show the need. I was told to get on allergy shots and to aggressively control my allergies. I can pop my ears like crazy, but it does absolutely nothing for the pressure feeling I can't believe that your friend's dr wouldn't do anything to help her! I feel for her. I feel worried that I can't figure out what's wrong either. Drs so far probably think I'm nuts that I'm still complaining over this after 4 ear tests being ok. It's depressing not knowing what's going on with your own body!
Yes, it is jen i have chronic back pain for 30 years! Its confusing, i have a spine condition that drs dont know about & only say that i have it thats all no treatment, but allergy shots worked for me & we are so blessed to have family, drs medicine... right? None of the ENTs even told her, my friend that she had the retention cysts at first, she sees the allergist in february. I wanted to help you not make you feel worse!!

Last edited by gmak; 01-22-2013 at 11:12 AM. Reason: wording

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #7
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

It is certainly worth checking out the sinus possibility. I've dealt with sinus problems for years and they can be complex. Especially if you have allergies involved.

With regards to the TMJ possibility, it was actually a "stuffy" ear that was my first symptom. It took me a year to get my ear to pop. My ENT and Audiology exams came back "normal" aside from some new hearing loss. When I finally got to a good TMJ specialist and had testing done, it showed that my discs had slipped forward which resulted in my lower jaw being pushed back towards my ear. After wearing a repositioning splint for a while and getting my lower jaw back into "normal" positioning, my ear popped and hasn't been stuffy since.

When you had your surgery, did they intubate you? My orthodontist did a thorough health history and thinks that intubation I'd had just months before my problems started was what triggered my TMJD issues. I hadn't even given that a thought before then.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

Mountain reader,
I had Eustachian tube dilation. They reopened my blocked Eustachian tube from the inside with a tiny catheter up my nose into the Eustachian tube. It's newer, not many ENTs offer this. After the initial swelling wore off I could pop my ears like a pro. Still could even when I had ear 'flare ups'. I had the surgery in June '12 and the ear 're clogged' over night in September. I say 'clogged' because it wasn't clogged. It worked just fine according to testing. It just felt clogged. It persisted like that for 2 mos, gradually disappearing in November. I was fine by thanksgiving. I thought perhaps it was due to allergies and that allergy shots which I began in October were helping. This might have been a coincidence though.
This is the strange part of my story- I had to miss allergy shots due to a throat infection in December and when I received my next shot on January 7th I got this ear pressure feeling the very next morning.

I did notice a strange sensation in what I'd say was my jaw while eating breakfast the morning that this occurred. Almost like a pain when I chewed. I didn't think anything of it though and honestly still don't know. The ear pressure became pretty severe after that day.

I've been reexamined by my ent who thinks I'm a wacko because every hearing and pressure test is normal. He says this will pass like it did before.
These are my feelings if they make any sense:
- pressure in left ear only
-weird tingling/ numbness on left side of head by jaw that can intensify to include my whole head
-slight tightness in jaw in front of ear but no cracking, creaking, etc.

I'm obviously continuing my allergy shots because I do have allergies. Maybe it's the mold doing me in lately, because I was god awfully allergic to
mold. I mean, we are cooped up in the house more (gotta love Chicago weather). I'm also seeing a sinus specialist on Monday, so ill hear what he has to say.
Jen

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:19 PM   #9
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Re: Ear pressure- help!

With regards to the possibility of tmjd:

Most people with TMJD issues have muscles that are in a constant state of spasm. That "tightness" you feel could very well be that. Until I got my diagnosis and started PT, I hadn't even realized how "tight" I had actually become.

I only had the ear pressure in one ear as well. All my symptoms are right sided. Ironically, my tests showed my left condyle was much worse.

Ironically, the ends of my ears went numb for a while during that period. I even had an MRI of my brain because of that. Ultimately it turned out to be the TMJ though.

The allergy shot connection seems odd. I'm 5 1/2 years into my second go-round of immunotherapy and still on weekly shots. I've never had any symptoms from having or not having the shot other than occassional redness at the site of the injection. I have seen major improvement in my allergy symptoms though.

Good luck with your sinus issus. I've had a significant reduction in my sinus problems after my years on the shots. I hope they work well for you.

If you are interested in learning more about TMJ issues, there is a good book called The TMJ Healing Plan by Cynthia Peterson, PT. It has lots of useful information on TMJD and treatment options you might want to consider.
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