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Pulsatile Tinnitus

Since I have started my neuromuscular treatment ~1 month ago, I have developed a new symptom. It is a thumping in my right ear. I can feel and hear the sound of my heart beating in the ear. This happens problem 10x per day and lasts about 3 seconds each time.
From the quick search I did, sounds to me like Pulsatile Tinnitus. Anyone else have this? Anyone been cured of this or know why it happens?
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replied March 16th, 2011
I'm just going to paste a response I added to another question since it's really long, but yes it does sound like Pulsatile Tinnitus.

I had Tinnitus (Pulsatile, so I could hear my heartbeat) in my left ear for over 2 years. I had been to 3 separate ENT's, doctors, CT scans, MRIs, hearing tests, etc. Everything came back normal, I was told I would have to "live with it". My dentist one day noticed that I was grinding my teeth (could see some signs of wear on my teeth, but just a little bit) so he suggested I might have TMJ (I was also getting bad headaches, pressure in the head/jaw area, dizziness, feeling of fullness in the ears, etc). So he sent me to a TMJ specialist. WOW was that ever eye opening...

So I underwent about 2.5 hours of testing (it felt GREAT to know that someone was actually looking into this tinnitus thing... for once!). I was diagnosed with level 3 TMJ and he felt almost positive that it was also causing my Tinnitus. I got a night guard as well as a day guard.

On the 3rd day of wearing them, something happened. Apparently the treatment was a bit too aggressive for my weak muscles and they essentially just "snapped". It was my "SCM" muscle that was the problem this whole time. Because of forward head posture, my SCM muscle was going into spasm. I was in tremendous pain and was on bedrest for a week not being able to lift my head. I had to take a total of three weeks off from work. It was the worst thing I've ever been through.

HOWEVER, on that 3rd day when my muscle snapped, the tinnitus was GONE! That's the first thing I noticed. I was crying because of the pain and I was also crying out of joy because the heartbeat in my ear was GONE!

My TMJ specialist referred me to a Chiropractor who changed my life. He's absolutely amazing and because of him I was able to go back to work less than a week after my first treatment.

He explained that basically the SCM muscle is attached behind the ear and when it's too "strained" it pulls and dislocates some of the tiny bones in the ear, causing tinnitus. My muscles also were attached to my top vertebraes (C1-C3) and had pulled them out of place, pinching a nerve. This is why I was getting tingly feelings in my arm and hand, as well as my face.

Anyways, sorry for the novel. I'm just SO amazed that I'm actually better and the tinnitus is GONE.

That being said, I do have it come back once in a while. It's not often, and doesn't last long (like 30 seconds max) but it does come back. I know this will be completely fixed once I continue my treatment and fully release the tension and trigger points in my SCM muscle.

If you google the symptoms of problems with your SCM muscle, you will be amazed!!
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replied March 16th, 2011
Experienced User
Thank you for sharing your story, mambogirl. I am glad to hear you found relief from this. What type of chiropractor did you go see and what did he/she do for you?
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replied March 18th, 2011
I'm not sure what type of chiropractor he is (honestly, I didn't know there were different types?) but he uses the pro-adjuster on me. It feels like nothing is happening at the time, but I feel so much better after my appointments with him. He also does some traction on my neck, but no cracking/popping at all, which is good for me!
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replied May 15th, 2013
Thanks Mambogirl. Since this chiropractor uses the pro-adjuster, I'm wondering if he specializes in Atlas Orthogonal (AO) - a technique that believes that the Atlas or C1 is key. That's not to say that they don't treat other parts of the spine - just that the Atlas is a focal point.

However, I digress. I have pulsatile tinnitus in my right ear and have been seeing a chiropractor as well. She was curious what specific intervention or protocol your chiropractor followed to resolve your PT - e.g., massage, decompression, etc.? Thanks so much and I'm so glad you found the relief that so many of us are seeking.
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replied February 9th, 2012
Experienced User
MamboGirl...

Was the dentist you saw a nueromuscular dentist? Did she or he use myotronics equipment before issuing the mouth guards?

I am asking you this in relation to saltyK9, who is a NM dental patient, and who seems to continue having problems with his treatment.

Of course, I cannot speak for K9 nor any other patient.

I can attest to some of my own severe SCM soreness, recently, almost to the point of complete swelling and heat emanating from the side where the SCM was severely torqued and has been held that way since shortly after birth. That's a long time to under-use one side, especially for about 40 years. My body has shifted, now, which has caused the swelling, which I had to address. It subsided, eventually, and was a strange and amazing thing to experience. Almost as if it had never been used, before...very tender, almost flaccid in certain areas of the neck/SCM area.

I know that getting these adjustments takes some time to recover from/slowly introduce new movements and re-strengthen the areas of the neck.
I realize this and have considered taking one or more years off from work.

I cannot imagine getting this work done on my mouth and continuing the work I do to earn a living.

Recovery would be impossible, in such case.

Salty K9, I am concerned with how your progress is going with the NM dentistry, especially since I am considering it, myself, and have severe SCM issues, similar to what MamboGirl describes.

I also know I'll have some lower left-leg muscle atrophy and weakness that I may have to restrengthen and redevelop, while having appropriate body adjustments at the same time.
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replied March 20th, 2012
Experienced User
As for the pulsatile tinnitus, I no longer have it, luckily.

Still have ear pressure non-stop. I feel about 75% better since starting treatment over a year ago. I think I hit the 75% mark about 6 months ago, however.

Still a piece of the puzzle missing. I am guessing it could have something to do with my nose. I broke it when I was 11 and had to have surgery to fix it since it was really bad. I can't breathe through it that well and think that may have something to do with it... who knows.
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replied March 13th, 2012
Tinnitus/SCM
Hi mambogirl,
Can you please share the name of the Chiropractor. I have an issue with my SCM and I have tinnitus somatic and pulsatile. It has runied my life and ruled over my life. It would be great if you can let me know name of your Chiropractor. Then I can see an equivalent in my area.
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replied March 24th, 2012
Hi there, his name is Dr. James Lamontagne, he's in Hamilton, Ontario. He uses the pro-adjuster machine which allows for very gentle adjustments. You are at least a step ahead of where I was, you at least know that your SCM problem is linked to your tinnitus. I was completely in the dark as to what was caushing my pulsatile tinnitus and it was driving me crazy. I hope you find a cure soon... try finding someone who will do active release therapy on your SCM muscle.. this has helped me tonnes!
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replied April 4th, 2012
Glad I'm not the only one with this problem. My symptoms usually worsen at bed time when laying down.
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replied May 9th, 2012
Hope it's tmj
This just started for me 6 weeks ago. Seeing audiologist and ent next week. If I cover my ear with my hand or lie on my left side (only left ear is affected) I can't hear that rhythmic sound. Reading in bed this morning I turned on the nature sounds on my radio and that blocked it.

I have been suspecting TMJ. Glad to hear that a feeling of fullness in the ear is a symptom.
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replied August 13th, 2012
dear all,
Since i have also pulsatile tinnitus i want to know how it's sounds like. Mine is hight pitched sound only in my right ear. When i change head or push the muscle behind my ear it increase the loudness. Also open my mouth my jaws are doing pain and my tinnitus increase.
I think that his also exist by overstressed muscles.
Can it be caused by SCM ?
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