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    Old 01-17-2004, 01:52 AM   #1
    stellinator
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    Unhappy Could this have anything to do w/my ears? Please help.

    Hi, new here. I'll try to make this short. I've had these symptoms that come and go; intense pressure in head/ears/cheeks/temples. When they're here, they stay a few weeks to a few months. The pressure is so intense it's scary. I can hear my pulse in my ears along with some ringing. I get headaches behind my eyes, at my temples and it continues up from my eyes to the middle of forehead. My jaw feels very tense (I don't know if it's the tension of the situation or it's medically related) I've seen these "floaters" before but I only get them perhaps 2-3 times a year and I don't get headaches after/before them. I've had nasal surgery 2 years ago for this. (I think I got jipped) I've seen numberous ENT's w/MRI's. 2 weeks ago my MD gave me Zyrtec. Huh? Anyway, I can see that the docs have no freakin idea what's up so I'm turning to you. I'm thinking, allergies?, migraines?, long lasting tension headaches?, or just plain old anxiety symptoms. I've see a psych over this and they still are at a loss. They say it sounds like axiety, but they want me to take xanax all the time. I don't want to have to do that. I'm sorry, I tried to make this short. PLEASE, any insights/suggestions/words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Anything please! TIA

     
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    Old 01-17-2004, 02:58 AM   #2
    hbep
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    Re: Could this have anything to do w/my ears? Please help.

    Hello there,

    So sorry you're experiencing all these horrible symptoms - and also that you have an all too familiar story of not knowing what's causing them and having docs who don't know what's causing them. I went down this road myself - I have two conditions - one which it doesn't sound like you have (an inner ear disorder) I would expect you to be dizzy - the other it does - tempero mandibular joint disorder, or to be exact myofascial pain. When you say -

    My jaw feels very tense (I don't know if it's the tension of the situation or it's medically related)

    right there is very possibly the key to what is causing this. TMJD as it's also known, is a condition often caused by clenching or grinding of the teeth, over prolonged 'abuse' of the neck muscles - hanging over a computer in the wrong position - sometimes previous trauma - whiplash type injuries - there are many causes. The name is misleading as often it doesn't involve the jaw joint itself, but rather it's the muscles around the jaw that become aggravated and inflamed, referring pressure and pain typically to the eyes, ears, neck, face, sinus area, forehead. It causes a multitude of symptoms - I will give you a list at the end of this post. People also often go from pillar to post trying to get a diagnosis (they are also often fobbed off as simply suffering from anxiety) The reason is because the condition falls between 2 medical stools - dentistry and medicine. I had a year long bout of this a number of years ago - an ENT had no idea, as I had nasal problems - vasomotor rhinitis - he assumed the dreadful facial pain I was experiencing was a) to do with that and b) me exaggerating it. It was only in the last year that a good dentist picked it up and referred me to a dental hospital.


    Obviously I can't say for sure that you have this, but you certainly sound very typical. I suggest you read up on this condition - a brilliant place to start is with a book by Robert O. Uppgaard called 'Taking Control of TMJ.' It will describe what tmjd is and also what you can do about it. There is also a tmjd board on this healthboard. The only other suggestion I have, you have already mentioned. This is migraine - migraine and tmjd can mimic each other - migraine can also cause jaw pain and the symptoms you describe. Another brilliant book is Heal Your Headache by David Bucholz - he was a big cheese at John Hopkins and has written a self help plan for migraine, that some people swear by. It also gives an excellent description of the way migraine can manifest itself. The only problem I had with this book is that he seems to attribute migraine as a possible cause for too many things. If you read it you sort of end up thinking , for example, that no one has tempero mandibular joint disorder - it's all migraine, obviously this simply isn't true. Then again, it is a very good book. I would read both. Both will be a real eye opener as to what could be causing your symptoms.

    Obviously it's impossible for me to say for sure whether it's either of these, or something else, but like I said, your story sounds both all too familiar to me and probably to many on the tmjd board. it also sounds a big possible from the migraine histories I've read. In your shoes I would start with a dentist qualified to diagnose tmjd (make sure they have a thorough knowledge in this area - dentists aren't required to do any further training in it - it's up to them if they do.) People sometimes see inexperience dentists and are told they don't have it when they do. If it turns out you do have it, the most important piece of advice I would give you is never ever agree to any surgery for it - most people now understand that surgery for tmjd is a hit and miss affair - mostly a miss - that leaves people in far more of a mess than they started. This doesn't stop a few trigger happy surgeons still making the suggestion that it's done. There are a number of conservative roots for treatment - a splint (mouthguard) to stop clenching or grinding if this is your problem, before that extensive stretching exercises to loosen up the muscles in the area - Uppgaard's book is excellent on this. The types of splint therapy available also create controversy, you would need to read about these and make your own decision as to what you think.

    If a good dentist doesn't think you have it, I'd seek out a neurologist to discuss the migraine possibility. Beyond that I don't know - if you were complaining of dizziness, or had lost some hearing, a condition called menieres - an inner ear disorder, can create an intense feeling of pressure in the ears, but the way you describe your symptoms makes me think this is pretty unlikely.

    I'm no doc, but did read extensively when I was trying to get to the bottom of my aches and pains - I have labyrinthitis and tmjd - and from all the reading I've done, those 2 things jumped out at me as I read your post. Below is the list of tmjd symptoms

    The Kinnie-Funt Visual Index of Head, Neck and Facial Pain and TMJ Dysfuction:
    Eye Pain and Eye Problems:
    - eye pain above, below, behind
    - bloodshot eyes
    - blurring of vision
    - bulging appearance
    - pressure behind the eyes
    - light sensitivity
    - watering of the eyes
    - drooping of the eye lid
    Head Pain, Headache Problems, Facial Pain:
    - forehead pain
    - temporal pain
    - "migraine" type headache
    - "cluster-type" headache
    - sinus headache under the eyes
    - posterior headaches, back of head, with or without shooting pains
    - hair and/or scalp painful to touch
    Mouth, Face, Cheek, and Chin Problems:
    - discomfort or pain to any of these areas
    - limited opening
    - inability to open the jaw smoothly or evenly
    - jaw deviates to one side when opening
    - inability to "find bite" with teeth
    Teeth and Gum Problems:
    - clenching or grinding at night
    - looseness and or soreness of back teeth
    - tooth pain
    Jaw and Jaw Joint Problems:
    - clicking, popping jaw joints
    - grating sounds
    - jaw locking opened or closed
    - pain in cheek muscles
    - uncontrollable jaw or tongue movements
    Ear Pain, Ear Problems, and Postural Imbalances:
    - hissing, buzzing, ringing, or roaring sounds
    - diminished hearing
    - ear pain - without infection
    - clogged, stuffy, "itchy" ears, feeling of fullness
    - balance problems, "vertigo", dizziness, or disequilibrium
    Throat Problems:
    - swallowing difficulties
    - tightness of throat
    - sore throat without infection
    - voice fluctuations
    - laryngitis
    - frequent coughing or constant clearing of throat
    - feeling of foreign object in throat
    - tongue pain
    - salivation (intense)
    - pain of the hard palate in the mouth
    Neck and Shoulder Problems:
    - lack of mobility - reduced range of movement
    - stiffness
    - neck pain
    - tired, sore neck muscles
    - shoulder aches
    - back pain upper and lower
    - arm and finger tingling, numbness and or pain

    While many of these symptoms have been connected with TMJ Dysfunction, there is no true "classic" picture of a person that suffers from TMJ Dysfunction.

    I forgot to mention that ironically enough the xanax your doc is pushing at you could actually help. The reason being because benzos - xanax, valium etc... act as muscle relaxants. As I have an inner ear disorder I try and avoid using then - if you're dizzy they can interfere with recovery. BUT, on occasions when I've had very severe tmjd syptoms an extremely low dose of valium -2mg - can really help. I wouldn't suggest long term use of these drugs to anyone, but occasionally - if it is tmjd - a small burst of them for a few days at v.v. low dose can break the cycle of muscular spasm. I also use a splint called an NTI, and do the stretching - when I cheat on the stretching - get stressed etc... I still get flare ups but there is no question these things have helped.


    Hope this helps,

    best,

    hbep.
    __________________
    hbep

    Last edited by hbep; 01-17-2004 at 04:38 AM.

     
    Old 01-20-2004, 06:50 PM   #3
    slpagirl
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    Re: Could this have anything to do w/my ears? Please help.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stellinator
    Hi, new here. I'll try to make this short. I've had these symptoms that come and go; intense pressure in head/ears/cheeks/temples. When they're here, they stay a few weeks to a few months. The pressure is so intense it's scary. I can hear my pulse in my ears along with some ringing. I get headaches behind my eyes, at my temples and it continues up from my eyes to the middle of forehead. My jaw feels very tense (I don't know if it's the tension of the situation or it's medically related) I've seen these "floaters" before but I only get them perhaps 2-3 times a year and I don't get headaches after/before them. I've had nasal surgery 2 years ago for this. (I think I got jipped) I've seen numberous ENT's w/MRI's. 2 weeks ago my MD gave me Zyrtec. Huh? Anyway, I can see that the docs have no freakin idea what's up so I'm turning to you. I'm thinking, allergies?, migraines?, long lasting tension headaches?, or just plain old anxiety symptoms. I've see a psych over this and they still are at a loss. They say it sounds like axiety, but they want me to take xanax all the time. I don't want to have to do that. I'm sorry, I tried to make this short. PLEASE, any insights/suggestions/words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Anything please! TIA
    Hello,
    Your symptoms sound so very similar to what I had not long ago.
    I am so happy to say the word "had" because most of the symptoms have disappeared. Mine started with a stuffy feeling in my ears, then a few weeks later went to a migraine. Then, I felt terrible pressure behind my nose, then by my eyes... it got progressively worse, the pressure that is. Then, I started hearing pulsating in my ears every night. I also felt the pressure in the back of my head. After a while, I felt that I would have to live like this forever, because the doctor visits seemed endless and didn't offered much help.
    I was on the Internet every night, researching, and on websites such as this... probing and asking questions. Finally, someone wrote me and said that I was probably having a terrible allergic reaction to my environment. That somehow my system could no longer fight all the allergens, thus causing all the inflammation in my sinus cavities. From then on, I started treating my sickness as an allergy. I got serious. I stayed on the Flonase Nasal Spray as my doctor presribed and also continued the allergy medicine (Claritin or Allegra). But, the biggest impact was that I kept my air purifier on constantly. Also, I had my house cleaned from top to bottom of the dust. Getting rid of the allergens in my environment helped me tremendously! In 3 weeks, I felt 90% better.
    I still have slight feelings of sinus pressure, but it's much, much better.
    I never thought allergies/sinus problems could be this serious, until it happened to me. Good Luck!

     
    Old 01-20-2004, 06:56 PM   #4
    slpagirl
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    Re: Could this have anything to do w/my ears? Please help.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stellinator
    Hi, new here. I'll try to make this short. I've had these symptoms that come and go; intense pressure in head/ears/cheeks/temples. When they're here, they stay a few weeks to a few months. The pressure is so intense it's scary. I can hear my pulse in my ears along with some ringing. I get headaches behind my eyes, at my temples and it continues up from my eyes to the middle of forehead. My jaw feels very tense (I don't know if it's the tension of the situation or it's medically related) I've seen these "floaters" before but I only get them perhaps 2-3 times a year and I don't get headaches after/before them. I've had nasal surgery 2 years ago for this. (I think I got jipped) I've seen numberous ENT's w/MRI's. 2 weeks ago my MD gave me Zyrtec. Huh? Anyway, I can see that the docs have no freakin idea what's up so I'm turning to you. I'm thinking, allergies?, migraines?, long lasting tension headaches?, or just plain old anxiety symptoms. I've see a psych over this and they still are at a loss. They say it sounds like axiety, but they want me to take xanax all the time. I don't want to have to do that. I'm sorry, I tried to make this short. PLEASE, any insights/suggestions/words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Anything please! TIA

    Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you that the doctors told me it was stress too.
    But, I told them I was not stressed, when this all happened. In fact, prior to the sinus nightmare, I took myself off of my blood pressure medicine (that's how fine I was). Of course, the sinus nightmare stressed me out, and I became stressed, because it was such a scary, painful and mysterious thing to go through. Anyone would be stressed from it.

     
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