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Old 08-16-2019, 04:05 PM   #1
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Ear pain from TMJ?

The last couple of times I went spearfishing, I had a lot of pain in my ears and jaw area. It wasn't my eardrum that was the problem and I was having no issues clearing. But, when I got out of the water, I felt significant pain in the outer ear canal, outer ear, and jaw area. The last time it happened it really hurt and I had to cup my hands over my ears in the boat ride.

I went to see an ENT and thought for sure he'd tell me my ears are jacked but it was the opposite: He said my ears looked great. He said one possibility is TMJ issues. He asked me if I ever bit through one of my snorkels and I said no - I've bit through 2 of my snorkels... I also called DAN and they say TMJ is a common source of ear pain but they mostly deal with scuba divers. Has anyone ever had something similar? Did it go away? What did you do?

I have a dentist appointment Monday to get a panorama on my face. Assuming that doesn't break the machine, I should have a better idea if it is a jaw issue...
In the meantime, if anyone has had a similar experience and can share your thoughts, I'd appreciate it. I don't have any trips planned soon but I need this to go away so I can get back in the ocean. I need to get this fixed because starting in November, I have about 10 days in the ocean planned out and paid for!
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Old 09-03-2019, 12:57 AM   #2
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Re: Ear pain from TMJ?

Hi Greg,
Too Crazy I have almost the same exact story. I didn't have a ton of pain in my ear but definitely painful clearing and sometimes dizziness when I cleared. I also found that days after I dive I had a little vertigo, nothing bad but moments of it and it seemed to be related to doing something with my jaw, eating etc.
Had my doc check for surfers ear and he said I was fine. Then one time I was having dental work done and the dentist numbed me a little to much and wasn't totally able to control my bite and was breaking through those little things that hold your mouth open, they had to use a special device to hold my mouth open and I darn near bit through that. Anyways I had been told by the dentist I had an extremely strong bite, and very strong bite muscles ( I think it is called maceter ), and probably have some TMJ. I haven't been officially diagnosed with it, but definitely think it is an issue.

I have mainly been doing facial/jaw massage and it helps quite a bit. You just have to stay on the self massage daily to really help. Also supplementing with magnesium in general helps me as it relaxes your muscles
Here are links to a couple of videos that really helped me:
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:37 AM   #3
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Re: Ear pain from TMJ?

Thanks very much for your reply. I'll definitely check out those videos. I have since gone to a TMJ specialist and had a series of xrays and photos taken. So, luckily they are doing a deep dive on what is going on. I was prescribed low dose muscle relaxers which I take only before sleep. I bought a couple heating pads because I hear good things about that and I have instructions for massage so I'm starting that. I guess things feel a little better. My ears used to feel "slightly clogged" but not in pain. They feel clearer now and that may be because the muscles around my jaw are chilling out.

I never really realized how much tension I held in that joint. One kind of dorky thing my doctor recommended is to place yellow stick it notes wherever I frequent to remind myself to relax my face! When I'm conscious of it, I catch myself clinching. So, part of it is behavior and ability to relax the muscles. I won't know if it works until I spend some time in the water with a snorkel in my mouth.

Thanks again! I hope you're doing better
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