Discussions that mention valium

Inner Ear Disorders board

Hi Jill,

The teeth grinding and some earlier posts of yours I've had a quick look at have given me a bit more insight. Jill, I really think the teeth grinding is almost certainly playing a big role in this. I used to spend a fair amount of time reading up on tmj and people's experiences of this and the type of ear problems you have can definitely occur due to a long term grinding problem. The muscles around the ear get tired and hurt due to the constant grinding, this affects the eustachian tube, there is one specific muscle that is responsible for closing and opening it, and that can shut, leaving people with the sensation that their ear is full of fluid. Many people who have this type of muscular tmj type issue think they have eustachian tube dysfunction and get a tube put in but it doesn't help as the problem is muscular. Also, tmj problems like this can definitely be worsened by the change in air pressure on landing in a plane. This is a list of the ear symptoms often seen with tmj

hissing, buzzing, ringing, or roaring sounds
- diminished hearing
- ear pain - without infection
- clogged, stuffy, "itchy" ears, feeling of fullness

I don't think that tmj would explain the constant dizziness, it's entirely possible that you have two problems going on - migraine and tmj - or VN and tmj - the two problems often interact, and one may have triggered the other.

But whatever, it's absolutely imperative that you use a mouthguard to try and get the grinding under control. If you keep grinding, you will keep putting pressure on the muscles in and around the afflicted ear. The muscles never have a chance to rest and so the problem goes on. I would also strongly recommend a book by Robert O Uppguaard called Taking Control of TMJ. Another critical thing you can do is daily stretching exercises for your neck and face. Stretching helps massively in healing the muscles, although you need to be consistent. The book I mentioned tells you which very simple stretching exercises to do.

I noticed that you have been tested for menieres but the test was negative for the affected ear. That's the other thing that keeps occuring to me, but they've already checked you out for that. Regular hearing tests for that ear would be a good idea, just in case your hearing changes and it doesn turn out to be menieres. As you are a grinder, tmj would be the next thing on the list. Unfortunately doctors (who aren't dentists) often miss this as a diagnosis.

TMJ is a difficult field as there are a billion different splints and theories on how to treat it. I use an NTI mouthguard, but as I think I said, this gave me an open bite, (only my back teeth now touch, this happens to 5% of people who use it) although the up side was it also helped the problem. Another thing that helped me was very occasional use of valium at a low dose which stopped a horrible vibration I had in my ears on and off for a while. I also stretched daily whilst it was bad. But I think the NTI which entirely stopped me clenching at night was a big part of the solution. If you don't like the mouthguard you have and find it uncomfortable, then maybe you should revisit your dentist and get fitted with a different one. Or try a different dentist.

I have seen people with the sort of ear problem - pain, pressure, tinnitus etc. over and over on the tmj boards. Even if it isn't the whole problem, I think it is almost certainly part of is at you do grind your teeth. Left untreated grinding nearly always leads to problems and stress worsens grinding, so it's a viscious cycle until it's treated.

The other thing they use for tmj are nortiptyline and amitriptyline - how long did you stay on the nortriptyline Jill? It can take a while to work. Unfortunately I can't tolerate it as it treats both tmj and migraine. It messes up my stomach (I have reflux) but it can be a really good thing.

I forgot, the other thing I would recommend is magnesium - 400mg daily. Magnesium has been shown to help with both migraine and tmj - the former because there are suggestions (I've read neurologists telling this to people) that people with migraine are low in magnesium, the latter because magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. Another route people can take with this problem is an oestopath who can work on the muscles around the neck and jaw.

By the way, it is possible to only experience ear problems not jaw problems with tmj - it depends which muscles are affected. My problems were predominantly in my ears.


You asked about the type of specialist who treats tmj. Dentists sometimes choose to specialise in this area. The only problem is it's a money spinner and there are some real sharks out there who will charge through the nose for a mouthguard etc... There are also different types of splints and different theories on which one you should wear. The only sound advice I can give is never agree to surgery on your jaw - some dentists are gung ho about recommending that but in looking at people's experience of this it is often a disaster. Conservative approaches - mouthguards (called splints) are the way to go. Along with daily stretching. If either of you want to look in to this I suggest you check out some of the tmj boards, read up on it a bit. Obviously Gloria, it's impossible for me to say if this is a problem in your case. I am so confident in telling Jill it's definitely a problem as her dentist spotted the grinding a while back.

One thing I would say is that if you start to use a mouthguard consistently, stretch etc.. it will help, but it takes time. It takes a long time for muscles to develop a problem in this area and it can take a while to undo the problem. Don't expect miracles, you need to be consistent and it's a slow recovery, but if tmj is the problem, treating it will help.

Anyway, I've rambled on. Hope some of this helps,