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  • For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

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    Old 02-06-2011, 12:49 PM   #16
    MountainReader
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    Re: For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

    You said you have had MRI's. Did any of your TMJ dentists have you do them for your Jaw or were they just for your ears?

    The radiologist read my jaw MRI as normal. My TMJ dentist didn't just rely on the report though. He showed me on the MRI where my discs had slipped forward and my jaw was being pushed back towards my ear. I was lucky he was thorough like that. If he had just gone by what radiology, I could have missed my tmj diagnosis.

    What other kinds of tests did your TMJ dentist do?

    If you do have TMJ there are other treatment approaches that your dentists haven't covered with you. Right now, I'm wearing a mandibular repositioning splint on my lower teeth. With the splint, when I bite down I have pull my jaw forward and a bit to the right. This is pulling my jaw forward and away from my ear. I'm a bruxer (grinder) when I sleep also. Because of this, I wear a custom splint at night. This one is different than the ones that just protect the teeth at night. The one I'm wearing to sleep in now has a wedge that comes down in front and settles behind my lower teeth. It holds my jaw in a forward position. Typically when we lay down, the jaw naturally falls back. By wearing the special night appliance, it has helped keep my TMJ from getting worse.

    I urge you to find a neuromuscular dentist in your area who specializes in functional orthodontics as well. Use others on this board as a resource.

    Trigger point releases of the masseter and pterygoid areas help greatly. You need to find someone trained to help. In my case, I found a specially trained PT. Some massage therapists also do these trainings. You should call around and ask. These releases are done with the therapist putting their hand in your mouth to do them and many aren't trained to do them. When my pain was at its worst, these releases really really hurt. I won't kid you. The more I had them done though, the less they hurt. There is a good trigger point workbook by Clair Davies. It shows you how to do the trigger point releases yourself. It also has a very good explaination of the trigger points, where they are located and what types of pain they cause. I couldn't do them on myself though when I was at my worst. I have more success now.

    If it really is tmj, and your symptoms are classic, most of the pain you are feeling is from muscle spasms. The muscles around the jaw are compensating for things being out of whack. It will extend from your jaw down into your neck and shoulder. It would also be the cause of your other facial pain as well. In order to help your symptoms, you really do need to get your muscles relaxed. It might be worth trying the muscle relaxers temporarily. I have used Flexeril when my pain is bad. Anti-inflammatories are also worth trying temporarily while your symptoms are so bad.

    I wish you well.
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    Last edited by MountainReader; 02-06-2011 at 04:13 PM.

     
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    Old 02-06-2011, 05:18 PM   #17
    jenni9033
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    Re: For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

    Hi rlat45,

    Yes, I know what you mean about the humming tinnitus being scary. My anxiety level shoots way up when I experience bad spells of it. Not to mention, anxiety seems to make it get louder. I've had weeping spells from the tinnitus/buzzing head pressure, because it can be so bad that no amount of masking noise or distraction can take my mind from it. Who wants a diesel engine running in their ear and skull all night?

    Apparently mine is caused by eustachian tube dysfunction that developed from a series of middle ear infections suffered over the past couple of years (I never had ear problems as a child or in my 20s). 3 out of 4 doctors/ENTs I've seen say I've got ETD, so I've focused on that treatment protocol with what I would call very encouraging results. Recently had a run of 4-5 days straight with NO ringing/pressure...then I thought I was better and stopped doing the saline rinse I've been prescribed. Big no-no. Ringing came back and stayed with me for two evening in a row. I really think the saline rinse may be the biggest help of all, because after I started it up, the ringing again quieted down to the point where I have to strain to notice it. I went to a party last night after weeks and weeks of avoiding social events, and felt great.

    Anyhow, the point of my long post is...have you ever been told you might have ETD? If you search for my other posts, you can read more about what I was prescribed and the things I've done lately to get mine to a level where I am healing and almost feel back to normal.

    The way you described your tinnitus sounds exactly the same as mine, and I believe you can get better and beat yours into submission, too. And I met another person on a different board who ALSO had the diesel engine hum tinnitus, and his eventually faded out, as well.

    Also, this is not to rule out TMJ...as *something* is causing my eustachian tubes to become dysfunctional after a lifetime of functioning just fine...so I wonder if TMJ is the underlying root culprit? I had an MRI done of my head about a month ago and a CT-scan...the CT-scan revealed swollen upper sinuses, the MRI was "normal" with one sinus cyst noted...would TMJ be something they would automatically find and note during MRI/CT scan?

    Cheers,
    Jenni

     
    Old 02-07-2011, 05:10 AM   #18
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    Re: For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

    Hi Jenni,

    Thanks so much for your post. After crying all last night because I was so overwhelmed by anxiety and this humming in my ear, it was good to see your comments. The ENT's told me that I have e-tube disfunction from the TMJ, but they never prescribed anything for it. I have constant popping in both ears and can never seem to equalize the pressure. My left ear used to be the worse one, but I find that my ears are taking turns being the more problematic ear. I read that estachian tube disfunction can cause the popping and pressure and also a low grade fever. It's strange because I've been running at about 100 for months now. Did you have a temp at all?
    I have to believe that this will go away. I can't live with this and the anxiety is soo bad right now. I'm just so afraid that it will get so loud that I won't be able to hear over the humming or that I'm losing my hearing.
    I will look up your old posts to see what they prescribed for your treatment. I can't believe my doctors didn't offer me anything. It's like they said , "yeah , you have TMJ and your ears are fine" and sent me on my way.
    Thanks again, Jenni, you made me feel a lot better this morning.

     
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    Old 02-07-2011, 05:20 AM   #19
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    Re: For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

    Oh, I forgot to answer your question about the MRI's. Last year, when this all started, I had a head MRI to rule out any tumors or other problems. I also had an upper cervical MRI about 5 mos after that to look for any neurological problems. They never did an MRI on the TMJ joints. It's my understanding that a regular MRI or CT scan won't check for the TMJ. I think MountainReader stated previously that you have to see someone who specializes in doing MRI's for the TMJ. The only test I had for the TMJ (other than them sticking their finger in my mouth to watch me wince in pain) was an X-ray of the jaw. My X-ray didn't show any problems with the joints themselves and I was told that it was muscular.

     
    Old 02-07-2011, 11:43 AM   #20
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    Re: For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rlat45 View Post
    Hi Jenni,

    Thanks so much for your post. After crying all last night because I was so overwhelmed by anxiety and this humming in my ear, it was good to see your comments. The ENT's told me that I have e-tube disfunction from the TMJ, but they never prescribed anything for it. I have constant popping in both ears and can never seem to equalize the pressure. My left ear used to be the worse one, but I find that my ears are taking turns being the more problematic ear. I read that estachian tube disfunction can cause the popping and pressure and also a low grade fever. It's strange because I've been running at about 100 for months now. Did you have a temp at all?
    I have to believe that this will go away. I can't live with this and the anxiety is soo bad right now. I'm just so afraid that it will get so loud that I won't be able to hear over the humming or that I'm losing my hearing.
    I will look up your old posts to see what they prescribed for your treatment. I can't believe my doctors didn't offer me anything. It's like they said , "yeah , you have TMJ and your ears are fine" and sent me on my way.
    Thanks again, Jenni, you made me feel a lot better this morning.
    Ah, I feel for you so much...the crying spells, the terrible anxiety.

    My humming is focused on one ear, as well, but like yours the popping/clogging/pressure is sometimes in both ears, sometimes only in one, totally switching back and forth at random. What I was told is that this is normal during the recovery process, which I was told could take a very long time. My ears initially plugged on Dec 17th, but the humming started farther back, sometime in October 2010, so yeah. It's a long, stubborn health condition that I'm only now starting to beat.

    At one point during this whole thing, I was running a low-grade temp like you...100 or so. I had lots of pressure but very little pain. It turned out that I had a middle ear infection on both sides. So there's a chance you might also have an active infection? If so, you need antibiotics like amoxicillin. It won't get rid of ETD, but it will help some of the symptoms.

    Also, I was prescribed a small dose of ativan specifically for ETD. Critical emotional breaking points worsen the problem because a) anxiety makes the tinnitus louder and b) crying makes your sinuses swollen, which contributes to the plugging/pressure/blocking.

    When you see your doctor, take in a list with everything you have told us and just be adamant...they are supposed to provide best practices care to you, their patient, or they aren't doing their job. First ENT I saw wanted to write this off as an inner ear condition and gave me a low sodium diet and a total brush-off, which put me on the wrong track and led to countless hours of research and freak-out on my part. Low sodium did not do anything but help me lose a few pounds, lol.

    I can't believe you were told you had ETD and TMJ and were just shrugged off! There are definitely many things you can do to treat both conditions and feel better and heal.

    I'm going to research my own potential TMJ/e-tube connection more. My MRI was looking at the head/ears for acoustic neuroma which I don't have.

     
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    Old 02-07-2011, 01:15 PM   #21
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    Re: For those with ear problems, what exactly does it feel like?

    rlat45,

    I want to try to put your mind a ease and let you know I have the same symptoms as you do. The humming and buzzing in my ear has settled down a lot but it took a long time. I think it's because I was so stressed out thinking the Dr. was missing something and the stress makes it much worse.

    I still have terrible face pain and ear pressure at times but not as severe as when this first started. I am seeing a chiropractor who works on my upper neck and neck stretches called chin tucks that seem to help. I did have an MRI of my jaw that showed that I have a disc on the right side that isn't working properly but the TMJ Doctor said there was nothing he could do for it and surgery could make it much worse.

    For now I am seeing the chiropractor a couple times a week, doing the neck stretches he prescribed and trying not to stress out and I know it's hard and you will have bad days but try as hard as you can to relax and take care of yourself.

    I just wanted to let you know you are not alone and I hope you feel better real soon!

    Jill

     
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