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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