For the past year, I've been plagued with a chronic ear fullness/stuffiness in both ears.
When I try to yawn, I feel my ears pop and crackle. There is no popping or clicking when I open or close my mouth, a completely wide range of motion in my jaw, and absolutely no pain in the jawjoint itself.
However, when I yawned, it hurt on the ride side of my face.... it feels like a searing lightning bolt shock of pain stetching from just under the tip of my ear lobe to somehwere near the bottom of my lower jaw.
When I went to the dentist, he felt around my face for pain sites and was shocked at how pain-free I was at the TMJ site.... that is, until he placed his two index fingers on my stylomandibular ligament. It felt like a hotknife. The pain was so excruciating on the site he was placing pressure on, that my eyes teared up.
I do have a weird bite (malocclusion), but i've had it my whole life. I don't see how it woudl cause problems all of a sudden, although I did have fillings done about a year pior to when teh ear stuffiness began.
Can this ligament pain cause the clogged ear sensation?
Ear pain and pressure can be caused by issues with the stylomandibular ligament. To find out if you have Ernest Syndrome - ask your specialist to do a test (place 1/2 cc of local anesthetic (like in numbing a tooth) into the attachment of the ligament. If the painful condition stops when anesthetic is deposited, then the source of the pain is likely the ligament).
Your pain also sounds like Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is also associated with ear pain and stuffiness.
By the way, my malocclusion didn't bother me at all most of my life and then TMJ hit me like a ton of bricks out of the blue. It was also in the months after some serious dental work, so that may have helped ignite it.
The TMJ dentist that treated me said he doesn't treat Ernest Syndrome in his office.. instead he referred me to a physiotherapist who specializes in TMJ disorders. When I went there to get treatment, I had to explain to HER what ernest syndrome was, since she had no idea!
Who is the right specialist to see to treat this?
What kind of dental work did you get done? Like I said, I had fillings done in all four corners of my mouth. It is my theory that this caused by bite to be uneven, and hence, the clogged ears. It's weird becaise I have no pain in the face or TMJ's, ecept for the ligament pain directly under my ear lobe.
Gosh you are really getting the run around! How frustrating...It's amazing how uninformed health care professionals are about TMJ and other related issues, like Ernest Syndrome.
You know, I'm not sure where to suggest turning. I have an idea for you, but we'd need to do it though PM. If you are interested, send me line.
I had a very long and tricky (botched) root canal during which my mouth was cranked open a very long time. Apparently it's often the fact of having your mouth cracked wide open for extended periods that causes problems such as TMJ. (Of course, if your dentist ruins your bite, that would be an exception!) That led to infection and more work to fix the original root canal. Prior to this work, I'd started having pretty bad headaches but the full blown TMJ picture didn't show up until after this. My bite was off (bottom jaw too low and trapped too far back by top teeth) - not due to dental work - so I went into a repositional splint for almost a year and now I'm in braces to move my jaw permanently in a healthy position. I finally had a reduction in symptoms after about 5 months in the splint.
I know it's hard when you are in pain, but don't give up on finding answers and someone who can help you. It's really hard to find the right treatment in a field where there are no standards, no best practices and a general lack of knowledge by healthcare professionals. You can get there - you just need to keep researching until you find answers and someone who can give you the correct treatment.
That is very frustrating indeed! But this goes hand in hand with what you were saying about how uneducated health care professionals are in this matter. Even dentists and oral surgeons who do oral work, do it based on actual teeth and gum pathology, but NOT taking the TM joints into consideration when doing it. I don't know why it's like that, or why there's no training. I'm so lucky that my symptoms are JUST clogged ears and nothing worse. I feel sorry for you if you have headaches all the time because of it.
I'm glad you found relief though. Did you get your repositional splint through a Neuromuscular dentist? I went to one last summer (the only one in my city, in fact!) and he didn't help. He made me a splint that HURT when I wore it, and eventually told me that my ear problems aren't jaw-related and i should investigate other causes with my GP. So then I start running around again!!
I will send you a PM, cuz i'm really interested in your idea! Thank you so much
First post...just had to reply. I'm supposed to be studying tonight and thought I'd take a break. On a whim I googled my father's name and research. Hence, my reply on your thread.
From personal experience (as in this week) my ear stuffiness and excruciating temporal pain was relieved with a correctly applied appliance. I had taken a hit to the jaw at the gym that I ignored. Following this I was in my surgery rotations at med school, always hunched over in the OR with my shorter cohorts. These events culminated in pain that I've never experienced previously.
Having now experienced what patients are going through, I don't mind risking decorum, looking like a salesman, and recommending you visit the site of the discoverer of Ernest Syndrome, Dr Edwin Ernest, my father. (Selfpromotion or not, I don't want to sit back and let you hurt if it is anything like what I went through this last week.) Since, Ernest Clinic isn't currently a sponsor, I won't hyperlink the address. But, honestly, google the site, read the points that describe your pain. If it helps, great. It may give you the info you need to talk with a professional in your area.
Re: Ernest Syndrome...it is correct to state that the diagnosis is pretty straightforward and can be accomplished by a medical professional who is familiar with the condition. The tragedy is that this is such a simple diagnosis to uncover, yet so many are hurting and have no idea why. God bless. Hope you're well soon.
P.S. I hope my post doesn't offend. But, really, life is too short to live in misery.