Tinnitis - neck pain and TMJ

by Lizzie Warren
(Savannah, GA)

I have the clicking of my jaw and uneven opening of my mouth so likely have a TMJ syndrome. I've developed tinnitis and pain in my left ear. The right ear had some tinnitis for about 2 weeks then there was a sudden "pop" in my right ear and that tinnitis immediately resolved.

I also have some neck pain. When I drive long distances I have to use ice packs to manage the pain. After the drive I have sharp neck pains for several days that eventually seem to resolve on their own.

On at least two occasions I have awoken in the middle of the night lying on my left side and the tinnitis is gone. As soon as I move or turn over it immediately returns.

Right before the tinnitis developed in my left ear I had a horrible cold with a terrible cough that lasted for 3 weeks.

I saw an ENT who said I had no fluid behind my ears and my hearing was normal. He prescribed muscle relaxants which have made no difference in the tinnitis.

Also, I am allergic to aspirin and ibuprofen so I cannot take NSAIDS.

Thank you for you feedback.


Hello Sheryl (or is it Lizzie?),

The sensory nucleus of the nerve that supplies the jaw joints lies in the neck, and hence very frequently there is both neck and jaw pain.

That pain could be in your ear, but because the TMJ is located just a few millimetres in front of the ear, they are often confused. Certainly the clicking points towards a TMJ problem, but the bad cold to your inner ear. You may have both.

Try moving your jaw forwards and backwards (protrusion). Does it change the tinnitis?

You have no dizziness? Rolling onto your back would affect the inner ear balance organs.

To be quite honest, I haven't helped many people with tinnitis. A few yes, but not many. But the pain in your neck, face and jaw are very treatable.

Look for a Chiropractor in your area who works with both the neck and jaw. Both must be addressed. Have you had orthodontic work? That may be the cause.

Good luck!

Oh by the way, there are some TMJ exercises at Chiropractic Help. Use the search function.

Dr B

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Feb 07, 2011
moving jaw
by: Sheryl

YES, moving my jaw increases the volume of the tinnitis. Pressing on my forehead increases the volume. Tension increases the volume.

Then it's not unreasonable to conclude that the jaw joint is involved in your tinnitis, Sheryl. Tension of course causes one to clench your teeth. Pressing on your forehead...? Not sure.

Find a chiropractor who works with the TMJ. I do, I know there are others.

Dr B.

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

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6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

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8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

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11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

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And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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