Physical Therapy for Tinnitus Due to Injury

Discussion in 'Support' started by MikeS, Jan 28, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      I was in a car accident a couple of months ago. My head was turned to the left while I waited for cross traffic to clear. While waiting, I was rear ended at the stop sign. My head was really rattled. Just after impact, I started hearing persistent static in my head and experienced a headache. I never had tinnitus prior to this accident.

      I also had aches and pains in my neck and body. There was soreness in the right side of my neck, up and down (vertically) along the interior of my neck. This soreness cleared up after a week, but the tinnitus has not let up.

      I went to an ENT, and have not experienced any hearing loss from the accident. Just so happens that I had a hearing test earlier in the year, and my results after the accident were the same. No hearing loss due to accident. No ear wax. No damage to ear drums. No dizziness, nausea, or loss of balance. He refered me to a neurologist.

      I talked to the neurologist about somatic tinnitus which is related to head and neck injuries. I suspect it's related to my neck because my tinnitus speeds up when I turn my head to the right (espeically), the left, or tilt back. My tinnitus also fluctuates in loudness. I perceive it differently -- sometimes in my brain, sometimes in my left ear. Sleep resets it in no particular direction -- it may spike for days (static in my brain), and then settle into my left ear (buzzing, static) on other days. Exercise exacerbates it. Showers seem to relieve it temporarily -- is it the heat on my neck that relieves it? Or the sound of the shower? My tinnitus is quite loud.

      I read that some people have been cured or helped by a TENS unit along their neck (google articles). I was also going to try physical therapy.

      Questions:
      Has anyone used a physical therapist to treat somatic tinnitus? My neck is not sore at the moment, but the tinnitus occurred after my neck was injured.

      How do I seek out a physical therapist for tinnitus? Is this something that physcial therapist are familiar with treating?

      Has anyone had any luck with physical therapy in treating tinnitus? Or used a TENS unit? Recent studies mention that using a TENS unit for 2 hours a day for 2 weeks on neck may cure or relieve tinnitus significantly when it's related to the neck.
       
    2. Ricky81
      Worried

      Ricky81 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 14, 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Assault/Contusion/Ear Infection
      Sorry about your accident. Everyday is a risk out there. After how many days since the accident did your T start?
      It sucks there is no cure for T yet.
      TRT is the only option if your T is high.

      I only hear my T at night so during the day I try not to think about T.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    3. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      For me, the T started right after impact -- at the scene of the accident. My head was rattled, and I heard this persistent "shhhhhhhh" sound. I also had a headache right away, so I thought my bell had been rung from being whipped. I was hoping that it would go away with a few days sleep, but it persisted.

      My tinnitus is loud, because I hear it all the time, even when I'm in the middle of a conversation. I'm not able to mask it with music, because I would have to turn the volumne up too high.

      I read that somatic tinnitus is caused by head & neck injuries, and people with this type of tinnitus tend to rate it as more severe / louder. They also say it fluctuates in loudness, and that it is perceived differently. This sounds like me. I saw this government article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17956803

      Has anyone with tinnitus caused by a head or neck injury tried physical therapy and/or a TENS unit?

      If so, what was the outcome?
       
    4. Asian

      Asian Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      4 weeks
      Very very likely its due to your neck.I have read that the upper neck soft tissue injury(C1,C2) js the main culprit in most cases for numerous concussion and whiplash symptoms. Unfortunately our neuros chalk it off as PCS and the neck injury is never ever addressed or given a thought in most cases. I think your going in the right direction by suspecting problem with your neck. And as you had whiplash kind of injury and aches and pains in your neck then its certainly your neck i bet! Have you had any neck scans ? Right posture while sleeping and icing your upper neck few times a day should work. Also avoid rapid head movements and let your neck heal for a few months. Discuss massage treatments with your PT.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. Ricky81
      Worried

      Ricky81 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 14, 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Assault/Contusion/Ear Infection
      I think a brian, neck and ear MRI should help find the suspect. Look into getting one if your insurance covers it.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    6. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      My neurologist prescribed MRI & MRA for me. He included brain and neck scans, so I am moving in that direction. I am a computer programmer, and am at a desk, looking at a computer all day. Maybe that has affected my recovery from the accident. I also started looking into how I sleep and watch television. Using thinner pillow, changing sleep position to put less strain on neck. Also, watching TV more straight-on, instead of from a side angle. Maybe I should give up use of all electronic devices / television for awhile as an experiment. At least, outside of work, to see if it reduces strain on neck. I'm going to give that a try.

      If it's my neck (which I suspect), it would explain why sleep resets it -- sometimes making it better or worse, because of shifting positions of my head during the night. Also, maybe that is why showers help, because the shower may relax my neck muscles. It also would explain why turning my head speeds up the sound and increases the pitch. I'm not sure why exercise exacerbates it, even something as simple as a brisk walk; maybe increased blood flow to my muscles or brain is a factor.

      I tried a heating pad on neck (not much help), but did not try ice. That may be worth a try.
       
    7. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      Finding lots of good stuff that gives me hope:

      This doctor wrote a paper about somatic tinnitus due to muscle tension in neck. He recommends neck stretches:

      http://www.tinnitusresearch.org/en/meetings/files2006/Bjorne-Treatment_of_Somatic_Tinnitus.pdf

      This paper says: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686891/

      Massage and stretching
      Massage and stretching of the neck and masticatory muscles have been associated with significant improvement in tinnitus.59 Patients with somatic tinnitus can have symptoms of cervical spine disorders, including head, neck, and shoulder pain as well as limitations in sideways bending and rotation. Treating jaw and neck disorders has beneficial effects on tinnitus. Injecting lidocaine into jaw muscles, such as the lateral pterygoid, also reduces tinnitus.76

      I plan on using these stretches, starting tonight. I also took a 600mg Ibuprofen.

      http://www.spine-health.com/blog/10-tips-prevent-neck-pain
      http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/neck-stretches

      I will let you know how things work out. Another clue that points to muscle tension as part of my problem: I rarely drink alcohol, but the few times that I did (New Years being one), I felt better the next day. I think the alcohol may have relaxed my muscles, and relieved my tinnitus.

      I also plan to diet. I was active and healthy before my whiplash, but I gained weight while dealing with this tinnitus. Now that I suspect muscle injury in neck as the cause of my tinnitus, I plan on losing weight to reduce strain on my neck.
       
    8. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      Breakthrough: I really feel like I'm on the right path by focusing on muscle tension in neck towards recovery.

      Last night, I walked the dogs for an hour.

      Then I took a 600mg Ibuprofen, and performed the above mentioned neck stretches and neck strenghting for pain exercises.

      I also applied ice on my neck for over 20 minutes.

      I stayed away from television and computers; anything that would add tension to neck.

      I went to bed early, and tried to sleep on my back which is the recommended sleep position for spine and neck. However, it is hard for me to sleep on my back, because I am not used to it.

      During the night, I rolled over onto my stomach, which adds tension to spine and neck. My tinnitus started to pick up, and it woke me up. I noticed that I was on my stomach, so I changed to my side -- which is not as good as back, but better than stomach.

      Sleeping on my side, my tinnitus stopped almost completely. It was fairly quiet for an hour. Maybe a very low hiss.

      Then this morning, I woke up and took a warm shower to relax my neck muscles.

      I then did my neck stretches and neck strengtening exercises for pain. And took a 600mg Ibuprofen.

      In my vanpool, I was careful not to sleep with my neck bent.

      So far, very good. Right now, my tinnitus is just a low hiss in my left ear. Much better than the intense noise that I was hearing last week. And I do not have a headache.

      I plan on continuing this routine, and I will keep you updated if my tinnitus spikes again. I am going to follow up with PT as well.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    9. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      Nevermind: I'm not sure what I'm doing anymore. My T has really spiked today. All I know is that I was rear-ended by another driver, and right after impact, I started hearing this static in my head. I'm confident that it is related to my head or neck.

      Other than that -- I don't know what to do for it. I tried reading the success stories, and frankly, I have not found them that helpful. I'm still looking for the story where someone had T from whiplash, and now they are cured. I'd love to hear from that person, and understand what it took for them to get better.

      I know the medical journals talk about T caused from head or neck trauma, but I really don't understand how that happens. How does neck trauma have an effect on the auditory system? What can be done to get better, and is it curable? I know my symptoms are somatic. I guess I need the dummy-down version of what's happening.

      Some say it's a matter of habituating. I try to ignore the noise, but the migraines are tough. When it spikes, it's like water coming forcefully out of a faucet. There is pressure to it, and it wears on my brain. Before the accident, I never had headache issues. I was riding my bike, working out, and really in a good place with my life. In a moment, that all flipped on me.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    10. Ricky81
      Worried

      Ricky81 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 14, 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Assault/Contusion/Ear Infection
      Mike.. sorry to hear about your 2nd accident. That's what I'm afraid of.. another head trauma and my T will spike. That's why I stay mostly home on weekends.
      My T has gone down especially after lumbar puncture. I only hear T at night when trying to sleep and in quite rooms... but that could change in a second with another injury.
       
    11. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      Oh, it wasn't a second accident. I was refering to the same one. Just saying that all I know about my T is that it's due to the impact of the accident. But everytime that I think I have it figured out, it spikes again.
       
    12. Help

      Help Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      head/neck trauma
      I got whiplash/neck strain on 1/12/15 due to being punched on the right side of the head at work (long story....) My head was also turned to the left when it happened. My T developed a few weeks later and is horrible right now. Constant loud ringing accompanied by sporatic facial numbness on the right side. It is at times hard to sleep and is hard to focus during the day and I am starting to freak out that it is not getting better. I NEVER had ringing before and was a very healthy person.

      I have been going to physical therapy twice a week. They think the T and numbness are due to inflammation caused by the head/neck injury. They think it is causing my nerves to act up. No hearing loss. I am currently taking tons of Ibuprofen, icing 1-2 times a day, doing neck exercises and trying to sleep as much as possible as being awake is at times unbearable. I am going to start accupuncture next week as accupressure points during PT seem to help although I am miserable right now.

      Please keep me updated on your progress as it seems like our T is caused by the same thing.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    13. martin12

      martin12 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/13/2014
      Hi Mike!

      Try to get your ENT to order a DPOAE. You should be able to find what frequencies were impacted. The standard audiogram is pretty much worthless however DPOAE will find the issue.

      Also i have head injury T which today is about 50% better. Month over month gradual improvement. With Tinnitus from head injury only time is of the essence. It's still very annoying yet not as bad as it was.

      Keep us posted.
       
    14. MikeS
      Mellow

      MikeS Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car accident
      This is my latest update:

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/a-good-nights-sleep-causes-my-tinnitus-to-rage.7536/#post-95537

      Had a fantastic weekend, but T back today. I'm able to modulate my tinnitus by moving my neck. For example, if I slowly turn my head to the right until I feel some tension, the pitch speeds up. Same thing if I tilt my head back.
      Or if I do a chin tuck, it slows down.

      Some people with somatic tinnitus are able to modulate it. Are you able to modulate your tinnitus? Just curious.
       
    15. Help

      Help Member

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      head/neck trauma
      Nope, not able to modulate it. It is constant have found very little that can change it/make it better in the moment.
       
    16. Neil991
      Curious

      Neil991 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2014
      Even I had a swimming pool accident (dont ask why I tried the stupidest stunt of my life) and injured my neck. Couldnt move for a week. My muscles were in shock. Gradually I could move properly again.

      But developed T about 6 weeks after this accident. Since there was a time gap, I do not know where to pin point. My hearing is perfect. Jaw is okay (No TMJ), body is okay (bit of low BP).

      But I believe we all have mild injuries and the brain slowly heals itself. My T is started getting milder every month (its been 7 months now). I can feel the healing.

      But even I was having a sore neck post the accident. I kept putting BALM and started mild weight lifting to strengthen the neck muscles.

      Everyday is an improvement. My sleep is back (sleep for 10 hours again).....But there are spikes every now and then. But I dont get dis heartened.

      Also buddy, we are about 1000 days (3 years) away from a "cure all" medicine for Tinnitus which will cure any and all kind of T by basically working on the Auditory nerve which is the source.

      Hang in there....think of happy thoughts....watch comedy....work your neck with proper guided exercises....we will be 100% cured in 1000 days. Help is on the way.....the best pharma companies are working on this problem.
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    17. Neil991
      Curious

      Neil991 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2014
      The day some pharma company launches a cure all medicine.... I am going to have the party of my life (ofcourse with less noise :p )
       
    18. Thongjy
      Balanced

      Thongjy Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unsure
      What medicine is that?
       

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