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Could all my recent problems be TMJ? (tinnitus, vertigo)

For over a year I have been feeling light-headed and drunk, having neck pain, and not sleeping well. Doctors couldn't find anything wrong (brain scan, numerous blood tests and specialists). 5 weeks ago I got really bad ringing in my ears and was told I had a middle ear infection, I took antibiotics and the infection cleared up, but the ringing is still really bad. Then I started getting vertigo when I tilted my head certain ways, or it was dark. My ENT did the Epley maneuver and the vertigo got less severe, but more frequent. For the past week I have been totally congested (I have been slightly congested off and on for months) and I feel like everything is plugged, so I can't hear too well. I was reading an article on how it could be TMJ related and thought I should get some advice.

I had my wisdom teeth out 4 months ago and that wasn't a big deal, but I did feel like my jaws were clenched in a vice when I was healing. That was the only thing that hurt was my jaws and it was more pressure than anything. A couple of times in the past 2 months I woke up with a sore jaw that lasted for a week (where I couldn't chew on that side). At that time left jaw felt like it was ripping when I opened my mouth wide. But as I type this, I notice that my jaws still feel like they have a ton of pressure on them and if I touch the are right in front of my earlobes, it's super sensitive and feels full. Also, whenever I open my mouth more thank just a bit, I hear a pop and can sometimes feel it pop behind my ears.

Please excuse my ignorance, but is there any way TMJ could be causing the ear problems and vertigo/lightheadedness? How would I get this evaluated, can my orthodontist check it out? My quality of life hasn't been to great with the dizzy symptoms and now I have hearing problems and vertigo on top of it. Can someone please advise me?
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replied August 23rd, 2013
Update: The doctors checked my hearing today and it was good. I asked, "It's good for my age?" and she replied, "That's good for ANY age!" I have a follow-up call with the ENT on Tuesday.

I am going to the dentist on Monday and will ask about TMJ and see if maybe that's a road to go down. Either way, I may try acupuncture for the tinnitus (and TMJ if I have that). Has anyone had any experience with acupuncture and tinnitus/TMJ?
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replied September 10th, 2013
I have had neck/jaw/temple/upper back pain as well. I've also had some lower back and sciatica pain on my right side at times which flares up. So, a person can have muscle pain without it being a jaw thing.

In the past I had extremely painful dizziness and then some balance disturbance that lasted for a few months. I was also getting bad electric shock pains in the side of my head around the ear. Then I felt like I was moving under water when I moved my head for a couple months. It was like a delayed sensation of movement. That went away, but I still had muscle pain.

I eventually found a TMJ dysfunction dentist from searching online after no doctors could tell me anything and decided to pay the whopping dollar amount of $13k to get the splints and treatment (phase 1). After getting it done I found I could not eat without the appliance because my jaw was so far forward, but I couldn't eat with the appliance in because it wasn't made for that.

I then learned about trigger points more and about the neck and upper back and suspected the problem may not be with the jaw itself. I suspected the pain was not being referred from the jaw to the neck, but rather from the neck to the jaw. In that case the dentist was not the right practitioner. I found that trigger points in the trapezius can refer pain to the jaw and temples. Also that trigger points in the neck can cause dizziness. I also have constantant tinnitus on the right side, which is the only side where it actually still hurts in the jaw. Both sides hurt on the temporalis and around the ears.

I've been thinking I would go to a certified trigger point therapist (CMTPT), but haven't gotten back to one of them since I wasn't sure it was working.

I also had invisilign and my neck pain started within a year of that I think. That was about 10 years ago. I've had the worst symptoms for about 7 years.

Sometimes I wonder if it was from the invisilign because my jaw is too far back now. I don't know. Look up trigger points and a CMTPT. Be careful of the dentists. Mine told me my insurance would reimburse me but they didn't pay for any of it. When that happened and I realized he was doing stuff that was not necessary even for a TMJ dysfunction treatment like his I felt scammed out of extra money. So, I still have the problem of the pain and I paid the money too.

Maybe if I stuck with it longer it would have worked, but I decided I already paid enough and it wasn't working or wasn't explained right. The dentist also did things which cost a lot of money and were definitely not part of a proven treatment like expensive topical anti-inflammatory and other therapies when there was no inflammation; I now realize.
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