Chronic Ear Pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pearls, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. pearls

    pearls New Member

    Ever since my fibromyalgia started my right ear has bothered me. It just aches every time there is exposure to moving air, especially cold air. The first winter I'd bundle up in two head scarves which looked like a babushka. I had trouble - still have to some extent - convincing those around me that I really had pain! The pain is just a dull ache, but even dull aches get old.

    I've mentioned this to my doctors repeatedly and it would not be addressed. When I told my ENT I had ringing in my ears along with the ache, he ordered an audiologist's test. I had the test and the ENT blew off my complaints with the comment that my hearing was like that of a bat! Lot of good that did me!

    In the three years since the pain started, I've also tried several types of ear plugs. Of course it cuts off half of my hearing, but I generally only need them in the car and while I'm in the living room. The best kind I've found is a transluscent whitish, maleable substance called Mack's Earplugs. You simply mold them to the outside of your ear. They don't look nearly so bad as sitting in your own living room wearing two head scarves! I keep one in a dose cup on the table beside my chair, and one in a sandwhich bag in my purse.

    This is only one of the many irritating things brought to us by FMS or CFS. We find ways to adapt.

  2. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    I had to laugh at the 'two scarf' to do. I have the same problem with a draft or in the car. I can't allow any wind to get to my ears.

    I seem to be alright as long as I can avoid the drafts, have not got to ear plugs yet, but I can yell real loud and my husband or daughter is very glad to roll up the window!!

    Yes, we do have some out landish things go wrong with us.

    Do your ears itch for no reason too? Mine itch so bad sometimes they almost drive me crazy, but my hearing is like an Eagle's, I really think I can hear the grass grow! My sense of smell is the same way.

    Shalom, Shirl
  3. pearls

    pearls New Member

    No, my ears don't itch, thank goodness. It's bad enough that they bother me all the time. Too bad yours itch. By the way, I drive with the windows up, but when I need air conditioning or just the vent, that's when I get the draft and when my ears hurt.

  4. jpswife_4boys

    jpswife_4boys New Member

    I too have terrible ear pain. My right is hurts the worst. Some times I have sharp stabbing pain in my ear lobe that comes and goes. Before I new I had fms I experienced a flutter in my ear. I woke one night with the sensation of fluttering and buzzing in my ear. I freaked out because I though I had a bug in my ear. (That happened to my sister once she had to go to the hospital to get it I kept telling my husband to look and make sure he didn't see any thing. I kept trying to get the bug out. I went to the doctor the next day and he said there was nothing in my ear. The only explaination he had was that it was a nerve in my ear going crazy. This has happened a few times since then. It's enough to drive a person insane. My ears hurt when I wash my hair. I can't stand to have any cold air hit my ears either. Hopefully with spring comming up we will all get a little relief.
    Soft hugs,
  5. pearls

    pearls New Member

    Okay, here's what I found in "Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myosafcial Pain," by Devin Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland, second edition, 2001. (By the way, I highly recommend this book and Dr. Starlanyl's companion book, "The Fibromyalgia Advocate.")

    She says that deep masseter trigger points may cause ringing, low roaring, crackling noises and the like. They may even cause itchiness. (Shirl, are you reading this?! If you are, please respond. Otherwise, I'll send you a separate message. Actually, everyone who responded: I'll look to see if you respond again and write separate messages to each one of you if you don't. I'm overwhelmed at work, so I'd appreciate it if you will respond.)

    She says the itch CAN BE RELIEVED by acupressure on the trigger points or by cold compresses on these trigger points. Her book has three separate illustrations showing exactly where the trigger points are. This is on page 80 in the second edition.

    On page 81 she goes on to say that some researchers have had success in relief of ear noises with intravenous lidocaine (Simpson, J.J., and W.E. Davies, 1999. Recent advances in pharmalogical treatment of tinnitis. "Trends Pharmacol Sci" 20(1):12-18).

    I included the reference because in one of the two books written by Dr. Starlanyl, she emphasizes the importance of giving your doctor references when you bring up a possible treatment with him. In fact, the suggestions she gives for talking with doctors alone makes these books worth every penny. I think most of these suggestions are in "The Fibromyalgia Advocate."

    The other reference to ear noises, or tinnitis, involves the ability of the sufferer to change the loudness by moving facial muscles. This has been associated with neural plasticity. The reference for this is Lockwood, A.H., R. J. Salvi, M. L. Coad, M. L. Towsley, D.S. Wack, and B. W. Murphy. 1998. The functional neuroanatomy of tinnitus: evidencefor limbic system links and neural plasticity. "Neurology" 50(1): 114-120.

    AS to ear pain and or stuffiness, Dr. Starlanyl says on page 80 of the same book that medial pterygoid trigger points can cause either. These trigger points are illustrated with three drawings on the same page. These trigger points can refer pain to deep in the ear and several other places in the head. If the pain increases whenever you open your mouth wide, clench your teeth, or chew food, or have soreness inside your throat and painful swallowing, these trigger points may be the cause. She says the sternal portion trigger points of the sternocleidomastoid muscle group can also cause deep ear pain. These are illustrated with two additional drawings on page 79.

    From my reading, both of these trigger points are activated by a forward-head posture. Clenching or grinding your jaw, anxiety, gum chewing, and emotional tension are also factor in the activation of these trigger points. Infection in the area can actifate the trigger points, as well. The reference for all of this is Timmons, Travel, Simmons. 1999. "Op cit., p. 369.

    (By the way, Travel - in the reference above - is Dr. Janet Travel, better known as the chief physician to John F. Kennedy. She was more importantly to us, along with David Simmons, the person who mapped out and founded myofascial medicine. According to Dr. Starlanyl, everyone associated with taking care of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain should be very familiar with her work.

    Dr. Starlanyl says she went through medical school without once being told about Travel's work. When she did find out about it while researching for her own fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome, she cried. Here was the beginning of help for her and for her patients. Some of this story is available on the Internet. Just use a good search engine and put in Devin Starlanyl's name.)

    Dr. Starlanyl's section on ear pain also mentions a bitter, metallic taste that can be caused by lingual nerve entrapment. This entrapment may be caused by the medial pterygoing trigger points. These trigger points can often be worked on inside your mouth, behind the last molar. If you have pain in the throat deep behind the angle of the jaw, a trigger point in the back of the tongue can be the cause.

    The whole books deals a lot with trigger points, which are not the same as the tender points by which FMS is diagnosed. If my perfunctory reading to date is correct, these trigger points are associated with myofascial pain, which is not present in all people who have FMS. I don't remember if I've seen any possible association with CFS and the trigger points. Also, I believe it said that most people with fibromyalgia do also have myofascial pain syndrome. She says the are separate conditions, but that together - as I recall - they cause more problems, or at least more severe problems - than the sum of both of these conditions separately.

    Well, there it is. I hope I didn't wear you out.

    Soft hugs,