December 4th, 2017

green leaves

Tinnitus-- a thing that works well for me + a generalized ramble

I have some tinnitus in my right ear, and I also have a way of shutting it down, generally for months at a time.

The method is to run my attention down a muscle on the side of my neck. I think it's the sternocleidomastoid-- it starts at the back of my ear and runs diagonally down the front of my neck. It sticks out if I turn my head towards the center.

Minor evidence of involvement of neck muscles-- I've felt that turning my head included a sensation of pulling on my eardrum a couple of times.

I'm not sure how long I need to keep running my attention down the muscle, but I think it's in the range of a few minutes.

I've tried stroking the muscle instead, but that doesn't seem to work-- I may not have kept it going long enough.

I've tried paying attention to the tinnitus while I do this-- I wanted to see if I could catch the moment when tinnitus went away-- and that definitely doesn't work.

The idea for doing this just came into my head, apparently from nowhere. It seemed like it was worth trying and I was surprised at how well it worked.

There's a technique at the bottom which helps some people and makes things worse for others. While I think my technique is so gentle it's likely to be harmless, I also believe that anything which is strong enough to do good is strong enough to do harm, so it's a gamble.

And that's the specifics about my technique, the rest is a ramble about various things from the net about tinnitus.

I had the impression that doctors said there was nothing to be done for tinnitus, but apparently they do have some methods. Informal survey-- what have you heard about treatment for tinnitus?

There are different sorts of tinnitus. Mine has some correlation with worrying. It isn't the result of exposure to loud noise. I avoid loud noise because I find it painful-- no rock concerts for me. I've had the good fortune to not be exposed to loud noise involuntarily.

I get a wooshing noise in my right ear-- it ranges from just barely there to moderately annoying.

I haven't seen any evidence people are looking into the possibility that loud noise might cause muscle tension which would lead to tinnitus. However, some drugs cause tinnitus, so presumably it isn't all about muscle tension.

This article has what seems to be a thorough overview of tinnitus, including methods for managing it.

This article offers an intriguing idea of neurological treatment for (some types of?) tinnitus, but is much weaker about existing treatments.

Tinnitus and trigger points:

"Tinnitus is a multifaceted symptom that may have many causes (otologic, neurological, metabolic, pharmacological, vascular, musculoskeletal and psychological) several of which often occur in the same patient. Tinnitus can often be modulated by different kinds of stimuli. In this chapter we describe the results of a study of modulation of tinnitus from stimulation of myofascial trigger points (MTPs). MTPs are small hypersensitive areas in palpable taut bands of skeletal muscles found in patients with the myofascial pain syndrome where stimulation of MTPs causes local and referred pain. We found a strong correlation between tinnitus and the presence of MTPs in head, neck and shoulder girdle (p<0.001). In 56% of patients with tinnitus and MTPs, the tinnitus could be modulated by applying digital compression of such points, mainly those of the masseter muscle. The worst tinnitus was referred to the side that had the most MTPs (p<0.001); Compression of the trigger point on the same side as the tinnitus was significantly more effective than the opposite side in six out of nine of the studied muscles. Compression of MTPs was most effective in patients who have had chronic pain earlier in the examined areas."

20 minutes of pressing on muscles to see which ones might be involved in a person's tinnitus. This is something you can do for yourself. I've never followed the video when I have tinnitus, but I can testify that it's a pretty good head, neck, and shoulder massage.

I like that anatomical charts are superimposed on the man demonstrating the trigger point exploration, but if you don't like that sort of thing, you've been warned.

This one offers hope that magnesium might help tinnitus, but leaves out any connection to muscle tension.

Meditation on the tinnitus sound was very good for this man.

Tapping on the back of the head works well for some people with tinnitus, causes temporary relief (sometimes a good bit better than nothing) for others, has no effect for some, and makes tinnitus worse for others. I don't have a feeling for the proportions.

One person has told me that she has narrow eustachian tubes, and decongestants solved her tinnitus. This entry was posted at Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.