Ear, Nose & Throat Community
13.3k Members
Avatar universal

Ear pain and fullness with headaches and neck pain

I was wondering, does anyone have ear pain without any ear problems?
I have been checked out by Neuro, ENT and GP and NOTHING. I'm wondering if I have TMJ but I don't know.
Here are my symptoms...
Right ear pain
Right ear fullness/ringing
Pain behind right eye
spot headaches on right side
grinding teeth at night
stiff neck - going into my shoulders

I had an MRI/MRA back in Oct and all it showed was chronic sinusitis which I am being treated for by my ENT however he knows the pain is not coming from my ear. I am worried. Could this be an aneursym? I know a tumor or something like that would have showed on MRI. I've heard horror stories about aneurysms in carotid arteries and next to ear. I'm terrified of dying from one. Does this sound like that? Should I have another test? I am going to see a TMJ specialist in March but I feel I can't wait that long and sadly my birthday is tomorrow and I just want to know what is wrong with me! If anyone could help I would be more than greatful. Does anyone know about TMJ or aneurysms?
I would appreciate it...THANKS and good luck to all of you!
187 Responses
Avatar universal
HI it sounds just like tmj...been there, also I'm in the Dental field.  Your regular Dentist should be able to tell you without going to a specialist.  You also can tell by looking at the tops of your teeth and seen if the cusps are getting worn down.  They will have no points and smooth. it sounds like when you sleep your jaw is resting on the right side more, so that is why you have more presure on that side.  all you'll need is a fitted night splint, and you should feel better right away. ear pain is usually associated with tmj. good luck.
Avatar universal
im sorry in your first post i did not read you already had an mri/mra done. mra images internal carotid arteries in the brain, that would have definitely showed an brain aneurysm. mri would have showed, avm,tumor,cyst,cancer,
meningiomas,etc..., if all that is worrying you really is dying from an aneurysm, relax you dont have it, yes i agree on horror stories, but youve tested. so relax enjoy life
Avatar universal
Hi, do many people with tmj have localized headaches on one side?  Do they also have ear pain and pain behind the eye?  I find these symptoms weird for tmj.  It worries me.  I just want to make sure it is nothing serious.  do you think it is?  Also I always have a stiff neck.
Thank you!
Avatar universal
Hi and thanks for your response!  Do you think though that an aneurysm could have developed in the last 3 months?  Or some other thing like an AVM?  Or could it have been missed on the test?  I'm just so scared cause the localized headaches, pain behind eyes, pulsatile tinnitus, and all that sounds like an aneursym or something bad doesn't it?  Do you think it could just be TMJ?  Its been 15 days now and I dont know what to do.  Please help and THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have all those symptoms but I also have a swollen nose would that be tmj
Avatar universal
HI Yes TMJ on one side is very common. you may have this condition due to many reasons:
Your jaw may rest to the right when you sleep and cluching or grinding will make that side worse.
you may be a heavier chewer on the one side.
Or if you were ever in a accident and at any time hit your head or jaw, you can start to experience symptoms yrs later.
If you think you grind you must get a night guard asap before you wear down any tooth enamel....then you got big problems. good luck

Avatar universal
well, the mri/mra would have shown a developing aneurysm, or avm. an arterial vein malformation gives off symptoms like a cva. so does an aneurysm, in any case the mri scan would have definitely picked it up. an aneurysm is a balooning of an artery in many levels, there can be a dissecting, that is whenit forms a pseudolumen,which fills with blood. in an mra, a intrinsic scan ,detailed, is taken of your artery and the fill of blood in the vessel, if any mentioned above would be the culprit, it would appear. the mri scan looks at the brain in detail, csf,sulcus, deviation any masses,changes,edema,fluid, old vs new cva, its amazingly detailed.  if you had a mass,bleed, a developing aneurysm it would have picked it up.  so iwouldnt worry about that.
Avatar universal
My ear ringing / stiff neck / headaches started Christmas Day. I've been to my family MD 3 times. He says nothing is wrong with my ears and the pressure is OK. The ringing is unbelievable. A loud tea kettle sound  and is 100 % worse at night.I can only sleep with the TV on to help muffle the sound ) My headache has almost gone but the ears and neck are worse . As of 2/8/07 the pain is starting in the ears, was all on right, now equal. I'm still over a week away from my Eye/Ear/ Nose Dr. appt.
I've had relief from a bi-weekly Chiropractor ( headaches 95% and neck will improve for 2 to 4 days ).I had had a flu type problem  right before this occured. ( 57 yr. old female in good health )
Can anyone help?
Avatar universal
Well Barb, I wish I had a solution for you.
You are not alone... I too came down with the same symptoms as you after what started like a flu type illness, turning into a migraine... I've had headaches/head pains, ear fullness, stiff neck as well continuing for the past 2 months.  CT Scan, MRI and allergy tests have shown nothing.  I asked my doctor if it could be a virus going around, and he says no.  Asprins, allergy meds and antibiotics have not helped.  When and if I find something that helps, I will post.
Meanwhile, my thoughts are with all of us who have these crazy symptoms with no answers.  Hang in there.
Avatar universal
I to am having the same symptoms.  Going back to the doc again today.  I did feel fluish befor all this came one 3 weeks ago.  but then again, this ear pain comes and goes when it wants to .  Someone told me that it is associated with my jaw not lining up right. I will most definetly talk to the doc on that one.  Good luck, will post something if it works!
Avatar universal
It was interesting that I am not suffering these symptoms alone. I have been running and chasing for an answer to no such avail. I am currently suffering ear fullness and pain. My sinuses are somewhat better after 875mg Amox. I encountered a severe sinus infection 2 years ago.(CT scan finally confirmed that). Then still had ear troubles and the Ketek antibiotic didn't help ENT then gave me Levaquin and more steroids(pill & injection) At same time places a vent tube in my left ear. I immediately felt a horrible pressure in my right ear but strangly enough it would sometimes feel like my left ear was full. Then I get right ear tubed. So, for almost 2 years with the tubes and able to fly. Since this episode hit me 2 years ago the right ear always felt off, kind of full. About two months ago my left ear felt horrible when I awoke one morning. Bubbling in left ear. Something wasn't right. ENT wasn't sure if the tube was still there. The audiologist said sure it's there and there is some crusting. ENT gave me Ciprodex? ear drops and said call if not feeling better. I am so bummed because the same fullness that hit me 2 years earlier is now really bad again. I kept going to this ENT clinic, now next ENT at this clinic removes crusting and tube is out. Then he removes right tube and I have hole in ear that may or may not heal. The pressure is unbearable. Over 1 + 1/2 mos. and still fullness/pain in my right ear and sinus mostly but sometimes goes to left side. Not as bad since the antibiotic but very bothersome. It took 3 ENT's and a CT scan to tell me nothing is wrong and I still feel horrible. GPrac gave me the antibiotic. This has helped all of the horrible sinus pain and pressure significantly. I am still chasing for an answer about the right ear & neck pressure and worry to about something majorly wrong. I am receiving a splint this week and hope this will be it. I still have this horrible lightheadedness when I inhale through my nose. I go to allergist this weeek too. I am a little worried tho because it seems many other folks here have not found anything conclusive with an Allergist or TMJ and still have ear pressure issues. Oh I hope this will be the answer with the splint. I will let you know as I want to be able to feel normal again. Good luck to all and it's really helpful to communicate with other folks experiencing the same bothersome symptoms. P.S. Has anyone found a connection with Desert Storm? I was there and always wonder about the Gulf War causing any of this or was it the horrible reaction to Levaquin(antibiotic)?
Avatar universal
I have sleepiness; fullness mainly in the right ear, but also some in the left ear;
constant and loud tinnitus; fog brain; lightheadedness, dizziness, and swooning; headaches; and an overall pressure or tight feeling in my head.  I feel depressed and only want to sit when having these symptoms.  I look forward to going to bed at night to escape living with this.  Recently, I've begun to get up with a stiff neck.  Some days it will wear off and some days it stays with me.  I started these symptoms when I was in my mid 40's.  It started with dizziness.  I was sent to several doctors (GP, ENT, etc.) and then to Duke for tests of all kinds.  NO ONE was able to diagnose my problem.  They just told me to come back the next time I had a "spell."  For years, I have had "spells" that have varying symptoms from the above list.  Those symptoms used to last 10 minutes and go away.  Then they started lasting for an hour.  Then for 3 hours and continued to build until they now last for days (2 or 3 weeks).  All will go away except the tinnitus, which is 24/7, for awhile, but I live in fear of when the symptoms will return.  I have tried everything offered.  I have tried journaling to see if anything is consistent.  I have been to numerous doctors and dentists over the years (I'm now in my mid 50's.) and NOTHING helps.  It's been suggested that I may have Minere's Disease, vertigo, chronic sinusitis, eustachion tube problems, TMJ, allergies, middle ear problems, stress, menopause, etc.  Yet, when treated for any of these conditions, NOTHING has helped.  In fact, some meds have made it worse.  I have been doing extensive reading and found that increasing serotonin levels might relieve ear problems.  Since I knew that I tend to have low serotonin, I bought 5-HTP at the health food store and take one nightly.  That has held off the spells for awhile; however, I am suffering as I write.  With so many people having these symptoms, I think it must be something the doctors are unaware of at this point.  I wonder if there is a doctor out there reading our miseries.  
You should think about getting checked for Lyme disease. Very similar symptoms
Avatar universal
HOPE - I am having the same type symptoms as you have described - I have just returned from a follow-up appointment with an ENT who specializes in hearing loss and balance disorders - they have done many tests--- he says that nothing is wrong with my ears although I have pain in and behind my right ear and thought I had an ear infection.
My next step is to go back to my GP because my potassium was low and see if I need to have my BP meds changed and take potassium. Also, the ENT mentioned that it may be a pinched nerve, nerve damage, or even that all the symptoms I have could be menopause related...and that the face, neck and ear pain could be an atypical migraine. So I do understand how you feel. Maybe some of this info might help you, too.  
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
Discover the common causes of and treatments for a sore throat.
Learn about what actually causes your temperature to spike.
Find out which foods you should watch out for.
Family medicine doctor Enoch Choi, MD helps differentiate between the common cold and more threatening (bacterial) infections
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life