Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

lump in front of ear

Hi Guys,

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me ...

I've had intermittent headaches in the right-side of my head for going on a year now. Never particularly painful, but it's been peculiar as I never normally suffer from headaches, and they're always in the same area. My head also gets sensitive at the same time, i.e. if I touch it in that area it can hurt some.

A couple of months ago, I found a lump in front of my ear, sitting more or less exactly on the hinge of my jaw. It's not painful at all, but it's a lump. At first I thought it was a swollen gland, but it hasn't gone away.

I'm also feeling a kind of pressure sensation in my ear from time to time, and a generally kind of stuffy sensation as though there's something covering my ear, although my hearing isn't impaired.

Reading up on the symptoms of TMJ, they seemed to make a lot of sense. My bite is all over the place, really, and my teeth could benefit from some orthodontics. My jaw does click from time to time, and I have had a history of grinding my teeth at night, although my girlfriend tells me I don't do that any more (so either I don't or she sleeps right through it now!).

So, I just wondered if you thought any of the above fits? The obvious thing to do would be to go to the doctor, but I'm out of the country at the moment, and have been ever since I found this lump. And it would be stretching my grasp of the language a bit (to say the least!) to go and try and get it looked at here. But I'm not due back any time soon and I'm getting a bit anxious about the whole thing ...

Any help you can give me would be super-appreciated! Thanks a lot.
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replied March 4th, 2008
Experienced User
Could be TMJ
I have suffered with this problem for 30 years. Mine was due to the trauma of being hit by a car as a pedestrian. I don't know about the lump you have found. That sounds like an MD issue (i know you can't go now) As far as your grinding, you can go to any department store and purchase a bite gard. You will find this in the oral hygiene section. They run about $15.00. Small medium or large, depending on how big your mouth is. (sorry, that wasn't an insult) This prevents you from grinding, and it keeps your jaw relaxed thru the nite.
When i am in the throws of a headache, my head hurts to the touch as well. I practically live on Advil, and it really helps. Ibuprofen (advil) is an anti inflammatory which reduces the pain and swelling in the jaw. I also have problems with my left ear as well. Clicking and popping is surely a sign of TMJ. Don't chew gum at all. Try to chew meat on the other side. Seriously, do try the ibuprofen. I take 2 in the morning regardless of pain at that time or not, i try to head it off before it starts.
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replied March 4th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
this could very well be tmd. i suggest that you find a chiropractor. use heat and ice

Id like to express concern abut the department store splints---these cause a world of damage. they are one size fits all and every jaw and condition is different. it says right on the box. DO NOT USE IF YOU HAVW TMJ. you should go to a tmj specialist or an oralmaxillofacial surgeon and have them make you a splint. it is made for you and will help you rather than be a detriment to your jaw.

if you need help finding a good doctor let me know. that is sort of my specialty.
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replied March 4th, 2008
Experienced User
My dentist made a splint for me that hinged on my two front teeth. Very uncomfortable at night. It prevented me from nashing my teeth together. I picked up the store bought and it's works okay for me. I don't wake up in the morning with headaches anymore.
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replied March 4th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
yes but in the long run or somewhere down the line it will cause you problems. what you should do is take it back to the dentist and have him adjust it so that it is comfortable.
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replied March 6th, 2008
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies. Do you think an orthodontist would be of any use in investigating this? Just from the whole jaw / teeth point of view they would seem to be well placed, and luckily I do know a good one locally. Failing that a doctor that I actually understand is going to be a difficult call! I guess I would have to start with a GP/standard family doctor?
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replied March 6th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
actually an orthodontist would probably want to do braces. I think that you should see a neuromuscular dentist. i can help you find one if you want. Ive found taht all the gps that ive gone to have no clue what im talking of or dont want to deal with it or they have no idea what to do . but definately tell them about it
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replied March 6th, 2008
I'm heading to the dentist next week, and they're a pretty big outfit, so fingers crossed they'll either have or know the right person to look into it for me. That's if I manage to make sense of the language enough! Thanks a lot for your help. When I'm back in the country, I may take you up on the offer of helping find one. Thanks again!
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replied March 7th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
excellent. Ill look forward to hearing from you. if you dont mind my asking--where are you? i had a similiar experience when i was in france. i went to doctors had no idea what was said and had to wait till i got here any way.
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replied March 9th, 2008
In Sardinia, Italy. I can "get by", but that definitely doesn't cover going to doctors. I'll probably understand about 95% of what they tell me, but you can bet that what I'm actually saying is about 5% similar to what I meant to say! That and the fact that I'll probably keep referring to them informally, which will only get them offended ... gah!
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replied March 10th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
oh gee i know exactly what you mean! being over seas is frustrating fun and exciting all at the same time. not to mention the social snaffus that you make with the language lol
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replied March 11th, 2008
... like the time when I first met my girlfriend's Italian parents and managed to call her Mom just about the worst word in the English language! In my defense it's only one letter different to the word for fig which is what we were talking about at the time! Unfortunately I didn't really understand the actual mistake and in my panic ended up saying it over and over again. They've never let me forget that one!

You're right though ... frustrating fun covers it perfectly!
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replied March 11th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
lol--it started raining in france and i told every one it was crying. the 2 words arent that different.
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replied March 11th, 2008
Lol, I've done exactly that one too (Italian can be pretty similar to French at times)! Great minds think alike!
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replied March 18th, 2009
Another TMJ?
I've got a similar thing. Headaches every evening, lump in front of left ear, and loss of hearing at certain frequencies (my hearing test graph plot looked like a series of waves as my hearing dropped in and out through different frequencies in my left ear). Having a MRI scan at the end of the month, just to check its nothing more serious. My hearing is sensitive to noisy environments, and it grates me to be in a room with too many people talking at once. I did have some work done on my teeth recently but this hearing problem kicked in before it. Due back to the dentist at the end of the week. Think I do grind my teeth when I'm stressed. Will let you know what the prognosis is!
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replied March 23rd, 2009
TMJ
I just found out i have tmj, and I have had headaches from time to time. My ear is very stiff. My jaw does not click though. The lump you say you have is a sign of tmj. I have a lump infront of my ear, and 2 behind my ear. I know it is common to have one lump right at you're jaw joint. You should get pain medicine and medicine to help you sleep. I have heard the medicine soon becomes immune to you're body, and they will no longer help. My doctor insists that I apply heat to the side of my jaw that has the lumps, it soothes you're jaw, and makes you feel confortable. The tmj disorder will not go away anytime soon.Tmj is most likely genetic, my greatgrandmother currently has tmj. My mother has had tmj aswell. I do not think tmj will go away anytime soon in my teenage years. I suggest you're doctor tells you more, I do not think I have given you as much information as a doctor could. I hope i have helped you. Thankyou for your time.
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replied May 27th, 2011
Lump in Front of Right Ear...TMJ...What is it?
I just found a lump in front of my left ear...have had TMJ for years and now my jaw is locked so it only opens half way. I now have a squeaking sound coming from my right ear when I open my jaw. I am due for an MRI in 4 days, but I have been looking over the anatomy of TMJ and can't figure out exactly what the lump is. Can you advise?
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replied December 9th, 2011
it could be a mass i have the same thing get a cat scan it will actually tell you what it is . go to dr asap thanks
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replied June 5th, 2011
Get any lumps that persist for a few weeks checked out
Lumps could be harmless, or they could be tumours. The only way to know is to get them checked out- ultrasound, biopsy, MRI, I'd ask for as many scans as possible.

I'm a 28 yr old female and was told for a year my lump in front of my ear was a hypertrophic masseter muscle from grinding my jaw, or related to a fall. It turned out to be salivary gland cancer and I needed two surgeries and am undergoing radiation.

I hope yours turns out to be nothing (as I wish mine had), but I went on sites like this and self-diagnosed with TMJ, and wish I'd seen more posts suggesting the contrary. Maybe I'd have needed less invasive surgery. It's better to be safe than sorry.
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