Hi Guys, New Here, Tinnitus in Left Ear

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Ally Sado, Oct 10, 2019.

    1. Ally Sado
      Scared

      Ally Sado Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/24/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      So first off let me start by saying I'm sorry this is a long post but I just want to be thorough and provide as many details as possible - also, I am acknowledging that many people on this forum have suffered with tinnitus for months and some even years, decades even, and I am so, so incredibly sorry from the bottom of my heart to those that have been suffering so long. I've had it in my left ear for almost 3 weeks now and after experiencing it first hand I am going out of my mind. I am really, really desperate to find an answer and fix what is causing this. For reference I am not a concert goer and haven't had any exposure to loud noise so I am fairly positive inner hair cell damage is not the issue (unless that can be caused by other things I am not aware of)

      A bit of a backstory....
      I've been into working out for quite a few years. I focus more on my lower body than upper, but I did workout my upper body/back 1-2 times per week. Well early in 2019 I started to get this pain in my right upper back/shoulder blade. (probably from working out) I have a desk job and so I would really notice the pain a lot more when I would be sitting there in my work chair. I began trying to roll out the pain with massage, tennis balls, etc. The pain would subside momentarily sometimes for a few days but would always return! I then began this ritual of trying to*crack*/stretch out those muscles in my right back/shoulder/neck area by turning my head as hard as I could to the left until I felt a good stretch and heard my back/shoulder pop/crack. I eventually was doing this awkward twisting motion multiple times a day, sometimes really forcing myself into very unnatural positions to get that ONE crack because my shoulder was just in so much pain, and popping it out provided (although minimal) some temporary relief from the pain when I wasn't eating handfuls of over the counter pain relievers. I also stopped working out when this pain started and haven't been to the gym in about 6 months.

      So fast forward to late August 2019. I am in my room one night sitting on my bed, doing that awkward twisting motion to the left trying to crack my shoulder/back. I had been doing it a lot that day and it wasn't cracking this particular time so I was holding my head cocked to the left very strenuously (I was holding my breath without realizing) when I began to feel this unnatural rush of pressure come from the base of my neck up through my ear. It felt very very weird although not painful at all, but I knew it didn't feel right.

      However, stupid me didn't stop there, and after several minutes had passed I started doing that twisting motion again. Well, again, I felt the unnatural rush of pressure come from my neck up through the left side to my ear except this time when I released the tension of the hold, I felt a very weird clogged/full feeling in my left ear. The full feeling came and went for a few days until one night when it was gone... (I was also getting over a cold at this time) and then all of a sudden I coughed, and it was like me coughing shot something up into my ear and plugged it for good. The plugged feeling never went away and it was like when I would shake my head I could feel almost like fluid/movement in my ear...

      Nothing I did helped. I tried all sorts of decongestants and nothing helped so I just kinda got used to the fullness feeling... I was freaked out so I stopped cracking my back even though the pain was still there.

      THEN, one month later TO THE DAY of the fullness starting is when my T started...
      (for reference, I had resumed cracking my back the day prior due to pain intensity although I was being VERY gentle... I.E not putting unnatural strain on my neck at all ((or atleast I didn't think that I was)) )

      So the next morning is when it started....
      Tuesday September 24th I woke up at my usual time 8 AM to get ready for work. I was out of bed for approximately 10 minutes, doing my usual stuff, I'll never forget that moment... all of sudden I was standing there in my room and this LOUD ringing/beeping appeared suddenly in my left ear and didn't go away. I started to panic and cry. It's been there ever since.

      It's going on 3 weeks now and the beeping at times will change to a very very faint background static almost like it's going away....
      However I was cracking my back again yesterday and today the T has been wicked loud again since about 10 minutes since I woke up this morning

      I went to the ER 2 days ago because it was so loud and I was so scared. The doctor told me he thinks I possibly strained a neck muscle that's putting pressure on my ear....
      I also have noticed that sometimes when the T is REALLY loud, I don't feel the full feeling in my ear, and other times when the T is really soft, my ear feels really full. I have also noticed that the muscles on the left side of my neck are REALLY sore when pressed on, and my right neck feels totally fine...

      I haven't really been able to find anyone with a similar experience to mine so I'm just hoping somebody reads this and possibly has some insight... needless to say I am not cracking my back again for any reason and please if any of you guys do stop now it's not worth it :(
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Warm welcome to the forum. I don't know why cracking your back can cause tinnitus. Passengers in long flights often have to rotate their shoulders and exercise the stiff neck and shoulder muscle at times to relax. So it is quite a normal way to relax the neck and shoulder. Saying that it is possible neck muscle or misalignment can cause tinnitus for some people. Some chiropractors specialize in such treatment. Ear fullness can come from infection or liquid build up. Also check if you have ETD. If there is blockage, you can try draining the tube by doing a manoeuvre following YouTube videos that explain how to do it. Also if there is not enough response here in the Introduction, you can try repost it in the main support forum. Good luck. God bless.
       
    3. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Hi @Ally Sado - Sorry to hear about your recent experiences with T and welcome to the forum. Your background and story sound similar to mine. I started college 6'2, 155 lbs then started to lift weights and join the Power Lifting Team and graduated college 6'2", 220 lbs. Did more upper body than lower body and preferred clean-and-jerks and cardio over squats. Since college, work and graduate school in Chemistry, Oceanography, and Geophysics has eroded my workout routine and destroyed my posture from constantly sitting over a computer at a desk and long-hours spent in the lab or at-sea on research vessels hunched over various equipment and analyzers. The pathology of my T mirrors yours quite well too, but the final nail in the coffin for me was most likely a night guard for bruxism that misaligned my jaw and caused a cascading top-down misalignment of my neck, shoulders, and maybe my hips as well.

      In my response below, I have added a few comments based on the information you provided, provide my opinion of what you may be experiencing, and steps to be taken to evaluate your situation.

      Most people are as well. I was in the beginning and stress and anxiety only make it worse especially if the cause of the cause of your tinnitus is mechanical/muscloskeletal. I ended up being hospitalized for a TIA because I was losing it and could not cope. Take steps to relax and chill. Meditation and gentle stretching helped me eventually. You need to take steps to ensure you get a good night's sleep as well. Regenerative rest and sleep will be paramount in helping you not only deal with your tinnitus, but also controlling and hopefully curing it in the future.

      Still recommend seeing your GP to get a referral to an ENT and Audiologist for a general checkup and to check your hearing as well. What you outline can still cause hearing loss and/or damage to the ear; albeit, any potential problems would probably be temporary.

      I would not rule out a potential rotator cuff injury yet as far as shoulder pain goes. Leading up to my T and after onset, I had frequent pain in my left shoulder and shoulder blade, left intercostal area around floating ribs, in my traps, between the shoulder blades in my rhomboids, SCMs, suboccipital muscles, and around my thoracic spine (so probably the extensors and flexors as well).

      I recommend getting a standing desk ASAP. Take 10-15 minute breaks after sitting every two hours to walk around and stretch. When sitting, take steps to ensure good posture (e.g., https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321863.php)

      From the muscle pain you outline, I would wager you are probably experiencing muscle tension or tightness in and around these areas as well. Muscle tension for me manifests itself in bands of tension that encompass the length, width, or height of the muscle in question, and bands in one muscle usually leads to bands in those muscles that are above, below, and/or adjacent as well. In the beginning, I only had temporary relief (<24 hours) from even 90-min professional massages as well, but most of my muscle tension and pain has disappeared since I started treating the root causes of my muscloskeletal issues. Something called the Thera Cane has come in handy for me with self-care at home - https://www.amazon.com/Thera-Cane-No-Model-Massager/dp/B00NH0XG7E. Something similar may help you as well. Also, whenever you massage or stretch your muscles, be sure to stay hydrated and apply heat to increase blood to the muscles to flush out any lactic acid that may have built up over time.

      Besides gentle stretching and massaging of tight/tensed/sore muscles, I would avoid self-treatment that consists of cracking or popping your bones, ligaments, or muscles in anyway especially those around any part of your neck/upper cervical spine. If you what you outline is not working in the long-term and only provides short-term relief, you are definitely not adequately treating the underlying cause of problem and could be, in fact, worsening things in ways you might not understand. It always surprises me how connected the muscloskeletal and nervous systems in the human body, and how issues with one has detrimental downstream effects on other parts of the body. From what you describe, it sounds some sort of hyper-extension or other action that takes your body outside of its normal range of motion is occurring. If for example, something is wrong with part of your spine (e.g. vertebral subluxation, lordosis, forward head posture, etc...), what you are doing could very well be making it worse (assuming your background is not exercise physiology or sports medicine). Things like this never did me any good and often testing the range of motion in my cervical or thoracic spine often made the pain/tension worse for me. As a formal personal trainer as well, this type of thing was never something I never recommended my clients do on their own before consulting a physical therapist or similar specialist. Also, take it easy on the OTC painkillers, meds like Ibuprofen are actually ototoxic when taken in extremely high doses meaning they can damage the ear and cause or worsen tinnitus. Be sure to stay within the maximum allowable doses for whatever you are taking.

      There are plenty of stretches you should be able to do to at least stretch out and lengthen your taut and tense muscles. A few searches on Google or Youtube should lead you to what you need before you see your GP based on muscles that are being affected. A referral to a physical therapist will also help in this respect as well as they can provide a more targeted set of exercises to help you after they perform a thorough examination.

      Completely understandable. I did the same thing as well. As soon as you start to treat your underlying problems, I would recommend starting to do light cardio. I run for at least 30 min outside if the weather is good or do 30 min on a low impact machine like an elliptical nowadays daily. This may help reduce stress and anxiety as well which may help dealing with your tinnitus.

      Against resist the urge to do these type of things moving forward, and "strenuously" makes it sound like you are forcing it - also never a good thing. I did not quite have this happen to me, but ear fullness and the feeling of pressure coming from behind the ear drum were both hallmarks of my T when I first developed it. This on its own warrants a visit to a chiropractor at least for imaging and an examination. Maintaining poor posture or poor alignment between the skull and neck for even 20 minutes can result in changes in spinal alignment and lead to problems that will continue to get worse the longer things go untreated and/or the longer habits persist.

      A useful read for the connection between neck/cervical spine misalignments and tinnitus - https://www.caringmedical.com/prolotherapy-news/tinnitus/.

      All this is probably related to your fight or flight response relative to your T. There are plenty of example posts on the forum that outline "I should have stopped ...but didn't" situations, so you are not alone in this.

      I developed T in July 2019 which was preceded by Walking Pneumonia in May 2019 and an Upper Respiratory Infection in June 2019. I have been using Mucinex D, Flonase, and Zyrtec daily ever since my T started in July 2019. From what you outline it sounds like you have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) as @billie48 suggested and maybe some inflammation as well. The Eustachian Tubes and sinuses both drain into the throat, and if the sinuses are clogged and cannot drain, then the Eustachian Tubes cannot drain as well which could lead to the plugged feeling you allude to. In this case, you will want to try to figure out the modality behind any ETD and/or inflammation. This post has invaluable to me for this - https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/here-is-how-i-solved-my-tinnitus-—-new-protocols-and-supplements-to-try.6514/. An MRI or CT Scan of the sinuses may be in order for you as to look for sinus inflammation, blockage, or other issues. I had a Cone Beam CT Scan during my T diagnostic process which revealed a minor deviated septum which helps explain transient breathing issues when sleeping, sinusitis, post-nasal drip, and sinus congestion I experience. Breathe Right Nasal Strips (https://www.cvs.com/shop/breathe-ri...oring-drug-free-extra-tan-26-ct-prodid-706470) have helped me get this under control. If you experience of any that, they may hold some potential utility for you as well.

      A few helpful ways to drain your Eustachian Tubes and Sinuses:

      20 Second Miracle Technique for Instant...


      MASSAGE HERE FOR SINUS DRAINAGE & UNCLOG...


      My T follows the same MO. Do not get discouraged.

      The right side of my neck is generally tighter/more sore than the left side of the neck especially in the SCM muscle and T is always worse in my right ear which seems to match what you experience as well but worse on your left and better on your right.

      Based on the information you provided and how well the pathology of your T matches mine, I believe your T is conservatively a secondary effect of a misaligned upper cervical spine. I would say you definitely tweaked something in your upper cervical spine with all of the pain you have been feeling and your unilateral T that is worse on the same side where neck feels tighter and more sore, but further exploratory actions with doctors to ascertain the exact cause and the extent of the misalignment will be required. T is not a condition itself, but always caused by an underlying condition or problem which if treated can reduce or eliminate the T altogether. Since your T is most likely due to some mechanical or musculoskeletal issues like mine, identifying and treating those issues will probably provide some sort of resolution for you as it is starting to for me.

      The C1-C3 vertebrae all come into play when considering connections between the base of the skull, brain, and ear (bones, ligaments, and nerves). The C1 or Atlas is top most vertebrae in the entire spine, and I would wager that yours is most likely misaligned. When the Atlas is misaligned, this leads to top-down misalignment of the body from the Atlas to the Sacrum (bottom of Lumbar Spine). Some good reads on this - http://www.chiropracticanchorage.com/703-2/ and http://www.tmjcleveland.com/tmj-symptoms-neck-pain/ (pay special attention to the skeletal diagrams that show misalignment for a better idea). The C1-C2 vertebrae are also connected to the temporomandibular joints in the skull and jaw, so a misaligned Atlas may also mean you have a misaligned lower jaw and TMJ which can cause or worsen tinnitus on its own which relates back to the body misalignment. In my case, I had minor lordosis, a spine that way being pulled to the right, forward head posture, and an Atlas that was 7 degrees off to the right when I started. In other words, I had stronger and more frequent muscle contractions on the right side of my body which was pulling my atlas, cervical spine, and much of my thoracic spine along with the associated muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper/middle back down and to the right. This overstretched the muscles on the left side and compressed the muscles on the right side; all of which led to pain and tension in the areas described above. As this happened, my body compensated to keep my eyes looking straight on the horizon. Because of this I had a misaligned lower jaw sloping downward to the left, misaligned shoulders that sloped downward to the right, and I would wager some sort pelvic tilt as well (but I never got that far). First I would:

      1) Sport a toothy smile and look in the mirror. Is your lower jaw misaligned (as your neck soreness is greater on the left, I would wager the left side of your jaw is higher than the right so sloping downward to the right if it is)? When you open your jaw, do you hear a clicking or popping sound? Does your jaw open straight up-and-down or does it curve to the left and/or right when opening?

      2) Alternate between eating soft or hard foods (granola bars/raw carrots) over the course of day. Do you get jaw pain or ear pain/fullness in either ear (mine was always worse on the right where tinnitus and neck soreness was worse) after eating hard food?

      3) Stand-up straight or what seems straight to you and look in the mirror. Is one shoulder higher than the other? Keeping with the information you provided I would guess your right shoulder is higher than your left if they are misaligned.

      4) Stand-up straight or what seems straight to you against a light colored wall in darker clothing and bite down on something straight like a 6-in ruler or tongue depressor. Have someone else take a postural photo of you facing towards and facing away from the wall. Upon examining the photos, do you notice your upper body all leaning in one direction or other (probably left in your case)?

      If you answer YES to any of #1-#2, you have might have a misaligned jaw and/or TMJ; both of which can cause tinnitus. If you answer YES to #3-#4, you have misaligned shoulders, and YES to any of these likely means something else above, below, or in between the lower jaw and shoulders is probably misaligned as well.

      If you had this pain for more than 6 months, you should see your GP immediately and get referrals to an ENT, Chiropractor, and Physical Therapist; all of whom can perform their respective examinations and outline recommended treatments going forward. ENTs are hit and miss based on how much they know about tinnitus and how helpful they can be, but mine was fairly good...others on the forum have not been so lucky. With respect to the chiropractor, avoid any offering free or discounted services beyond consultations and avoid any who do not perform any imaging before starting treatment. Seeing a chiropractor that specializes in the upper cervical spine should be a good place to start. I have read mixed things about this sort of treatment to help with tinnitus on the forum, but small gentle adjustments are usually pretty safe. People like @Lane have had some luck with chiro adjustments and others like @Mattv have not been so lucky. Chiro treatment has been invaluable in eliminating a majority of my muscle tension which I keep under control now with preventive self-care. Physical Therapists can definitely help guide you with what stretches you should be doing once you get a better idea of the root cause of your any misalignment and T. A referral to an Audiologist to test your hearing at all frequencies would be prudent as well. A referral to a neurologist who can order an MRI, MRA, and MRV to check potential neurological causes of tinnitus would be good as well especially in the context of the ear (e.g., acoustic neuromas, vascular or arterial thrombosi, cochlear damage, tumors, etc...). The machine is rather loud, but my T was not affected by having the imaging done, but it has made it worse for others. I have had some luck with targeted acupuncture treatments for my muscoskeletal issues and my T in the past (see - https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...-acupuncture-or-clonazepam.33776/#post-472387).

      A TMJ consultation with a neuromuscular dentist may be in order as well depending on your answers to #1 and 2 above. All that said, I got my best diagnoses from a neuromuscular dentist, chiropractor, and acupuncturists for my T, so cast a wide net when trying to diagnose your T, adopt a systematic and holistic approach for your diagnosis moving forward, and be ready to self-advocate a lot for your health. In my experience, my doctors seemed to be grossly misinformed about T and neglect to view it outside of the narrow dogmatic view of their own specialty.

      Just spent 2.5 weeks at sea. Hopefully the information helps a bit and good luck with the T diagnosis and treatment moving forward. Please follow-up with any questions and I will try to provide some targeted information based on what else you want to know based on the pathology and treatment of my T if it seems like any of what I discuss above applies you. Also, the collective wisdom on the forum has been invaluable for me in dealing with my T and everyone here is very supportive.

      Cheers.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Informative Informative x 1
    4. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Hello Again @Ally Sado -

      Also, adding to the battery of tests in #1-#4:

      5) Does the pitch and/or volume of your tinnitus change when moving your lower jaw forward?

      6) Does the pitch and/or volume of your tinnitus change when performing a chin tuck - move the chin downward to touch your throat without arching your neck?

      If you answer YES to #5 and/or #6, this strengthens the case for TMJ and possible mechanical/musculoskeletal misalignment as at least partly responsible for your T. I forgot to mention I answer YES for all #1-#6. T really differs from person to person, but all this can at least hopefully help with your the diagnosis and treatment of your T moving forward.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. foam

      foam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Welcome to the forward leaning posture too much computer tinnitus club :/... I've been doing exercises to try and stand my neck up straight but after 30 years of heavy computer use it's a long road.. And a very sore neck while doing it also. (My left jaw is whack also)
       
    6. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Hi @foam - Yep, there are a lot of us. I am still hopeful I can resolve my T or at least reduce it in time since it is pretty early on in the process for me, but I have more or less gotten used to it now. Did your T come on gradually? I just woke up with it one day and it has fluctuated but never went away these past 3ish months since onset.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. foam

      foam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Mine started with a little ring in the ear, came and went for a few days/week and then EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, ear/brain/jaw/neck everything..I was in trouble.... terrible. It's improving now (3 months in) but this is a very big battle we are in. I was in loud as a truck territory for a few weeks. PS I totally believe I can get rid of this at least for the most part.. You have to believe that or what's the point of anything..
       
    8. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Yep, sounds very familiar. I have the "EEEEE" sound as well, and it usually sounds like an electrical storm in my head or like continuous crickets chirping. The progression of my T into serious muscle pain/tension, spinal misalignment, and related problems all wanted within two months. Luckily, it is getting for my as well.

      In total agreement here with you. Hope your T gets better moving forward into the future.
       
    9. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Hi @Ally Sado - Found these two videos this morning. These videos are spot with where I felt muscle tension/soreness/pain. Will incorporate the recommended stretches into my daily stretching regiment today and see how it goes. My be useful for you as well.

      Wicked Neck Stretch for Fast Relief of Tight...


      Occipital Trapezius Release Exercise for Neck...
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    10. foam

      foam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'd be interested to know what kind of response you guys have to amitriptyline if you get a chance. 10mg is enough to give me near complete resolution of the brain ring and tinnitus on the first days dose (95%). Tried this a couple times now. Assume it's a nerve problem in the neck since the response is so dramatic I don't think I'd get that kind of response at 10mg if I need more serotonin or dopamine.
       
    11. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Hi @foam - I have never tried amitriptyline, but I take 25 mg of nortriptyline nightly as a migraine preventive before bed. My tinnitus tends to be lower at night, but this hard to attribute the nortriptyline on its own since my neck and jaw are at rest and properly better supported lying in bed compared to sitting at a desk or walking around. Since my tinnitus started after some dental work and getting a night guard for grinding, I am fairly certain that treating my TMJ with orthotics and continuing with chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy should at least reduce it and hopefully eliminate it moving forward.

      Outside of nortriptyline and melatonin for sleep, I do not take any other meds for my tinnitus or related problems.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    12. foam

      foam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Probably both drugs do similar things are far as the nerves go. I'm also taking Melatonin, I don't really need it at this point to sleep but I'm using it in my arsenal of general anti inflammatory's. I like it that your tinnitus gets better over night.. Mine gets worse, but I sleep crooked as.. I need to be tied to the bed I'm sure
       
    13. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Looks like the body converts amitriptyline to nortriptyline, so they probably serve similar purposes. My tinnitus seems to respond most to mechanical and musculoskeletal stimuli, so hopefully PT, chiro, and TMJ treatments will yield some success.

      I try to sleep on my back now, but usually roll over onto my side at night. Changing my sleeping position definitely helped my tinnitus at night.

      I am pounding anti-inflammatory foods in my diet right now and my tinnitus at least is not getting any worse. Plan to continue this as well.
       

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