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Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Headaches, Jaw Pain, Ear Pain - 21 years old


 toby05 - Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:49 pm

I'm a 21 year old female, and for the past several days I have been having headaches, pain in my jaw, and pain right in front of my ear - not in the ear canal itself. The headaches came first, and I went to my doctor, who said I just had a tension headache and gave me amitriptyline. Shortly after I left the doctor, the pain in my jaw and ear began. The amitriptyline helped, but I tried taking naproxen so I could have pain relief during the day, and the naproxen worked just as well. I have also just gotten over a cold, and I thought that the pain might have been a sinus infection, but now the cold symptoms have gone away, leaving behind the original headache and jaw/ear pain.

What could be causing this pain? Could it be TMJ problems - I have caught myself clenching and grinding my teeth, and I do bite my nails. Or is it something more serious?

Thank you for your time!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:57 am

User avatar Hello -

This definitely sounds like TMJ involvement. The fact that you know you grind your teeth may only be the tip of that particular iceberg, too. The symptoms are classic for TMJ. Amitryptiline won't work better than naproxyn, since this isn't primarily a nerve problem but an orthopedic/orthodontic one. Sometimes a dentist turns out to be best at diagnosing and treating this. At least it's a good starting point.

Not a serious problem, unless, of course, you dislike pain. This can become quite painful in some cases. Bruxism (the grinding of teeth), if it takes place during waking hours, probably also happens when you are asleep, which is why it could be more severe a problem in the long run. Well worth having it checked, as it is often a fairly easy fix.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and please follow up with us as needed.

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