What is Causing Your TMJ Ear Pain? – Diagnose and Treat – Ear Problems


– How do you know if
that pain you’re having is coming from your ear or your TMJ? Well in this video, I’m
gonna discuss the potential causes of that pain and
what you can do about it. Coming up. Hi guys, Cliff Olsen. Doctor of audiology and founder of applied hearing solutions
in Anthem, Arizona. And on this channel, I cover a bunch of hearing
related information to help make you a
better informed consumer. So if you’re into that, consider hitting the subscribe button. One thing you probably
don’t know about me is that I actually used to be a massage therapist. When I was going through
my undergraduate studies at Lindenwood University,
I actually got my massage license beforehand and started up my own massage clinic
so I had something to do while going through school. And I actually ended up
building up a pretty decent size clinic, and I would
focus mostly on medical or sports related issues. One thing people would often come in with would be jaw pain or TMJ dysfunction. And massage therapy is
actually a really effective method of treatment for TMJ dysfunction. But, one thing I noticed
a lot was people would come in for this jaw pain,
and it actually ended up not being jaw pain at all. And so I would end up
referring them to an ear, nose, and throat specialist
in order to identify if it’s actually an ear
problem or a jaw problem. Now obviously the ear and
the tempura mandibular joint are closely located, so
it’s really hard to identify which one is actually causing the pain. Problems with any one of
them can actually refer pain to the other area, so
identifying this pain can be very difficult. Now often if this is a TMJ
issue, it’s likely caused by the masseter muscle
being too tight on the particular side that
you’re having the pain on. And this masseter muscle
can become tight for a variety of different reasons. Maybe you’re clenching
your jaw, maybe you’re chewing on gum on that side exclusively. Or maybe you have a dental
misalignment problem. And in some cases, it can
even be arthritis, which can accentuate the problems as well. Now if this pain is coming
from the ear, it can actually be a little bit more serious. Things like impacted ear
wax, or negative middle ear pressure from an ear
infection, or swimmers ear. Which is also known as otitis externa. But even more seriously, you
could have cholesteatoma, which is actually the
growth of epithelial cells in your ear canal or your
middle ear space that can actually really
wreak havoc on your ear. And all of these situations
can cause pain that you might associate to jaw pain. Now if the cause of this
pain is actually your ear, it can actually lead to
issues like tinnitus, which is that ringing and buzzing
sound that you might hear. And the stress associated
with either the TMJ pain or the ear pain can actually
make tinnitus worse. Or make you perceive it
worse than it actually is. And so until you get the
problem corrected, it’s likely that this tinnitus issue,
if you’re having it, will be perceived as more severe. Now pain is pain. So how do you actually
identify if this pain is being caused by your ear,
or being caused by your TMJ? Well the first step that
you should really be taking is going in to see an ear,
nose, and throat specialist otherwise known as an
otorhinolaryngologist. Together with an audiologist,
they can test your hearing and use observation to
identify if it’s actually an ear problem or not. If it is an ear problem,
they’ll be able to start on the treatment, the
appropriate treatment sooner. In some of the more
serious cases, like if it’s cholesteatoma, that
cholesteatoma surgery can be scheduled sooner rather than later. Now if ear related issues are ruled out, that’s really good news. That means it’s likely TMJ dysfunction. And like I said before, as
a massage therapist, the majority of causes of
TMJ dysfunction is an imbalance in the masseter
muscles with one being too tight, and the other side
being a little too loose. I’m gonna give you a simple
little self massage technique that you can use to help
relieve some of that jaw pain. What you’ll do is you’ll
take your thumbs, push in on your masseter muscles,
and push them down. What this does is it
stretches out both sides and actually aligns it a little bit better. If the side that you’re
having the pain on has a knot in there or you feel like
it’s excessively tight, you can actually take and do what’s called cross fiber friction and
go back and forth sideways on the muscle, and then
when you’re done doing that, you’re gonna wanna push in
and stretch it down again. You always wanna make sure
that you’re keeping both of those muscles the same length. And so you do wanna treat
both sides, not just the side that you’re having pain on. Another thing that you can
do is actually push in on that masseter muscle while
you’re clenching your jaw. That helps loosen the muscle
up and then again, when you’re done doing that,
you wanna let your jaw go relaxed and stretch those
muscles down on both sides. Now self massage is great,
but often going to a licensed massage therapist is even better. They have more techniques
that they can use, and they can do it much better
likely than you can yourself. But if you end up going
to a massage therapist and you’re doing self massage,
and you’re not seeing any improvement after a
month or two, then it’s probably time to go see
your dentist and see if there’s some kind of dental issue there. And to see if there needs to
be some kind of realignment done with that. I wanna make sure that you
understand that the first thing you should be doing
is getting any kind of ear problems ruled out. And this means going to an ear,
nose, and throat specialist that has an audiologist
so they can rule out any kind of ear related issue. Once that’s ruled out, then
you can focus primarily on the TMJ, which is the
likely cause if it’s not being caused by the ear. And this would include going
to a massage therapist, and doing the self massage
technique that I taught you a little bit earlier. If that’s not helping after
a month of two, then you should really be going in
to see your dentist to see if it’s an actual dental issue
that’s causing the problem. That’s it for this video. If you have any questions,
leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, go
ahead and give it a thumbs up. And if you wanna see more
videos just like this one, go ahead and hit the subscribe button. We’ll see ya next time.