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Karin & David Henderson

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The Meniere's disease symptoms of Ear Pain (especially in the left ear) and Inner Ear Pressure are Almost Impossible to Escape From

Can you imagine having so much inner ear pressure and ear pain that it feels like your head is going to explode? Can you imagine this feeling or congestion with your other Meniere's disease symptoms that are also relentlessly going on and on and you cannot escape any of this? And there is no one who can tell you why this is happening to you?

Not only are you experiencing physical pain, you are also under a huge amount of stress, which can also be contributing to your attacks.  We get a lot of questions from people suffering from Meniere's disease that are about experiencing the sometimes debilitating pain in their left ear and inner ear pressure, or fullness in their ears.

With this article I hope to be able to explain why this could be happening to you.  I have included real world examples that will give you an idea of what a Meniere's Disease sufferer has to live with. And never does each sufferer experience the same intensity of these symptoms: they are all different in some way.

Does Meniere's disease cause pain or is it one of the underlying symptoms that is causing the pain?

To help you understand what is going on, I wanted to bring you an awareness of where the ear is located in your body and why you might have this pressure or pain in just the left ear, which is sometimes described as a left earache.  Or maybe you just feel congested.

This makes a huge difference in how you look at the rest of the balance and hearing (Meniere's disease) symptoms. When you realize that other structures could have an impact on the inner ear, it may change your perspective. This leads to obvious other possible causes for the symptoms.

 But let’s look at the ear for our discussion.

The ear is an organ of the body. Its purpose is to take the "message" of sound from a person's environment and allow the person to hear. A normal body has two ears. (We will discuss one.) It has 3 distinct sections or parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.

The outer ear catches the sound and carries it into the middle ear to the tympanic membrane (eardrum).  This membrane is like a "curtain" or filter and separates the outer ear from the middle ear. The sound waves make the eardrum vibrate.  This "translates" the sounds into vibrations.

The middle ear has three bones that stretch from the tympanic membrane (curtain) to the start of the inner ear (oval window). These bones are all connected from the tympanic membrane to the oval window. Their function is to transmit the vibrations into the cochlea and the fluid found in the inner ear (endolymph).

The inner ear has several parts. Some of its more prominent parts are the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibulo-cochlear nerve and its branches. (vestibular/balance and acoustic/hearing nerves).

Deep in the cochlea are special hearing receivers. These receivers are stimulated by this vibrating fluid, and their message of sound is transmitted to the hearing/balance nerves, as electrical impulses. These impulses are then relayed to the brain (brain stem) for interpretation.

Two main functions of the inner ear have to do with hearing ("acoustic" or "auditory") and balance ("vestibular"). These nerves communicate with the brain (cerebellum).

The appropriate part of the brain will then interpret the message and give commands back to the ear. These commands will relate to hearing and balance.  The "Classic" Meniere's disease symptoms include: hearing fluctuation, ear pain or pressure, tinnitus (a variety of sounds or ear noises), vertigo, and/or dizziness.

As you read the comments from the people that have sent us questions about their Meniere's disease symptoms, remember that although the two structures, the hearing nerve and the balance nerve reside in the same general area of your ear, the testing to come up with a Meniere's disease diagnosis is very separate and definitive for each.

Readers wrote:

  • I Started Having Terrible Pain In My Left Ear That Was So Bad It Made Me Cry.
  • “After a sleepless night of agony (pain, extreme pressure/fullness) I went to the emergency room the next day. I don't have much money so I have been unable to go to a physician. I am going to try to get help at the sliding-fee scale clinic Monday here in town. The hospital provided me with numbing drops, anti-biotic drops (these antibiotic drops cost $70) and some ultram pain pills, which I consumed after 4 days. Here it is seven days later and although the intense pain has abated, I can not hear out of my left ear, the roaring frequently, and extreme fullness. Can you give me any comments and/or advice? I've read your site and sure sounds like me.
  • I have had dizziness and some ear pain and tinnitus for about 9 months. It's is not as bad as some have it, but it has severely impacted my life. I was very active, pursuing a graduate degree and making plans for marriage - now I barely can leave the house. Any information on strategies you seen success with is much appreciated.”

I want to describe congestion and why it does what it does. But first of all you I would like to refresh your knowledge on what a nerve is. Without a nerve, you won’t have any feeling: good or bad ones. Nerves allow us to “feel”.

When a pain nerve is stimulated, it is telling your body something is not right. Nerves are everywhere and they work every second of the day and night. They let us know that pain or congestion is present. Sometimes, it can be so unpleasant that most people simply can’t sleep! Obviously any inner ear pain has to be connected to the overall ear and its function.

I think one of the most frustrating situations people can have is to have a body or health situation that doesn’t give you some sort of control. We like to be in control, at least of ourselves. The following comments come from people with Meniere's disease who can’t see into their inner ear. They have huge discomfort and need relief.

Most people will have their inner ear problems treated with antibiotics, antihistamines, or anti-inflammatories. And low salt diets. And they will be told it takes time to heal. So they wait, hoping relief is close at hand. But few will ever be told to look past the possible infections.

I have saved all the emails we have ever received and we have received thousands!  Here are a few more comments from some of our readers that had Meniere's disease questions for us. I am including them so you can appreciate how others might feel.

  • She is suffering from Vertigo from 2 years and usually experiences all the symptoms such as pain in the ear, dizziness, loss of energy
  • I am having pressure on top of my head and at the back of my head, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, fullness in the ear, mild ear pain, of late nasal congestion
  • I had swelling in my lymph nodes under my left jaw, this is the "bad" side, I had pain in the jaw and sinuses as well during that time.
  • Last bout involved the left ear and seems to be more discomfort in inner ear and had pain sinus & eye area on left side of face.
  • facial pain around forehead/eyes
  • I do still have the dizziness come and go, and the feeling of having a "sloshing fish bowl" inside my head comes and goes, and I now have a constant pain in my right ear”

Every single person who has come to our Meniere's disease website has had one such episode or has had a loved one with one. (Unless they are a student in a medical facility and are searching for project answers.) If it turns out to be not an infection, then more time is lost in resolving the issue.

If the cause has been an infection, the antibiotic will have done its job. And all is well, UNTIL it can happen again. Most people will have eventually been told there is little to be done about their Meniere's disease symptoms. The cause is unknown and they will have to live with this uncertainly.

As you know, I do not see “Meniere's disease” as being a disease. This is all about “cause and effect”. Nothing ever happens in your body without a cause. Each symptom of Meniere's disease has to have an underlying cause. It’s why we collected many possible causes and put them into an email named “observations”. They give you a really good point to start a discussion or your own exploration.

When you read these readers' phrases (above and later on) one after another, (typos included), you really have to admire such courage and fortitude! I know I am continually grateful that I am healthy!

In this age of turning to the Internet for further knowledge, people have been trained to look for other information. No longer is one undesirable point of view acceptable or enough. General access to more information has changed many industries. And so it is with the medical community’s influence.

Now there is a way to get millions of points of view. You have choice. People also don’t want to wait weeks before realizing that one Meniere's disease treatment isn’t working as hoped. So they continue to look by day and by night (truly) until they find some other ideas. Thus they find our Meniere's disease website and include these phrases in the “comment section”.

In order to understand what goes on in the inner ear section, you also need to know where it is located in relation to all surrounding structures. You then realize one area can easily influence the adjoining area.

Let’s look at two different pictures of the anatomy of your ear

http://www.ghorayeb.com/EarAnatomyDiagram.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/1092.htm

 

Here is a link to the overall head.  This is a long URL, so please use this link.

 

http://www.netterimages.com/product/9781929007714/8-528.htm

 

Picture of sinuses (in relation to ear structures)

http://www.ghorayeb.com/AnatomySinuses.html

Time and time again, I hear from people with Meniere's disease who have balance and hearing symptoms, plus eye involvement, yet no one connects all these together for you. Here you can see all these parts or components of your head. See how they fill the available space, either with structures or with fluid (or air to equalize pressure).

See how close they all are. I frequently hear from Meniere's disease sufferers whose specialist says there is no connection from one area of the head to another: that your sinus situation may not have an influence on your inner ear problem. I am amazed but as I hear it often enough, I know people are told this.

See for yourself how they fit together and obviously must also interact. Can one part really function in isolated from any other part? We’ll discuss fluid in a minute, but does it not make sense that if fluid produced by the body to heal one problem, it could well spread to another area?

Here is another view - This is another long URL, please use this link.

Next you may want to understand why you feel anything. That feeling comes from a nerve. I found this most interesting website! It really helps you understand anyone’s body and the nerves and their function. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but please do spend a little time understanding (again) how your every single part of your body is connected to its “whole”.

Biology Mad - Nervous Impulses

Biology Mad - Nervous System

So now we have an idea of what structures are in the head: eyes, nose, sinuses, throat, eustachian tubes, etc. and what connects them.

There is one piece missing to this overall explanation. And that is WHY you FEEL anything, or more to the point, how your body reacts to anything. Keep in mind that this article is about inner ear pain, pressure, and congestion. But from now on, you can use this knowledge anywhere in any part of your body.

The body always reacts the same way, UNLESS SOME OF ITS FEATURES ARE SHUT DOWN ON PURPOSE! And most often that will happen via drugs and that is often the case as in the recommendation of an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine.

The bodies “weapon” is inflammation. Inflammation created by the body is healthy and healing. But it is not always seen in this light.

As this information is specifically about a Meniere's Disease diagnostic resource, I would encourage you to read up on the inflammatory process when you have time. Here is a link to more detailed information on our Meniere's disease website.

http://www.menieres-disease.ca/menieres-inflammatory-process.htm

So let’s go back now to the ear. When your body's healing process (the inflammatory process) begins you can tell that there will not be a lot of room for the healing fluid to spread out in inside the ear.  So the resulting fluid will take up space in a very confined area. This will result in congestion and if increased in intensity, it will result in pain. But I suggest the congestion comes first, and If this persists (not removed), pain is often the next step.

Many, many people complain of congestion. Not as many people complain of pain. So why pain? The pain nerves are in this area as well. Also one of the ways to measure sound is in decibels and higher decibels emit pain. This area is also extremely sensitive. Any irritation or pressure would lead to pain or great discomfort known as pain.

Here are a few more direct phrases, or comments, from our readers explaining how they feel.

  • “I also feel pain in my jaw area of the side of my ear that’s bothering me it almost feels numb, my ear as well feels numb at times. At times I feel like I don’t have one
  • Standard vertigo, vomiting, nausea, balance problems, extremely loud tinnitus, and pain /fullness in the ears running down the neck.
  • When we talked bout sinuses I didn't mention that the winter after I started to experience pain under my nose that moved into my teeth
  • On Feb. 3, I woke up and could not breathe, my left sinus was totally congested and I couldn't hear out of my left ear and the pain was almost unbearable
  • but have severe congestion in the left ear, sinus and my nose and of course the noise in my ear and pain.
  • vertigo. Major sinus pain and pressure/eye pain

Just reading these phrases made me want to hold these Meniere's disease sufferers and tell them they don’t have to live this way if only they would find the inner courage to search for their underlying cause. But we are NOT “trained” to look for cause, nor are we encouraged to think for ourselves. So we continue to suffer and feel hopeless. I constantly ask myself how a person is supposed to cope with feelings so unbearable and debilitating.

I hope I have given you some insight and ideas of what to look for and what to consider. Maybe you can help yourself by looking for the cause of this inner ear pressure, this congestion, this ear pain. As you know, “ear pain” is not one of the symptoms listed in the classic symptoms to come up with a Meniere's Disease diagnosis. Could it be that the term “inner ear pressure” covers all the congestion and pain “feelings”?

You may have noticed that I haven’t discussed cilia or endolymph, or any such anatomical medical details people are told. My purpose is to keep this information easy to understand and practical to use. There is an expression that says “the way you do anything, is how you do everything”. This to me explains how the body functions all day, every day.

Realistically, can you now understand why this is NOT a disease? That “something” has to cause this inner ear pressure? This ear pain? This congestion? This earache?

As you begin to feel more confident in your own knowledge and understanding through the use of medical resources and practical explanations, you may now come up with some different conclusions. Can you now see that this so all about a cause and its effect? “Cause and effect” is a natural and scientific law. Just because people do not believe it exists in this instance, does not mean it is not in effect.

It “happens” all day, every day. Sometimes we get stuck in other people’s opinions. Having these very debilitating Meniere's disease symptoms and knowing each must have a cause, may encourage you to think a little differently.

I hope that this article has opened a tiny window of awareness about inner ear pressure, Meniere's disease and ear pain and I hope it leads you to further questions about your symptoms and more research and study.

 

Related Articles:

Meniere's Disease Symptoms: Hearing Loss

 

 

By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.

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If you would like to have a copy of the Observations email we send out many times a day, please use this link. http://www.menieres-disease.ca/contact_us.htm

 

One of the more painful Meniere's disease symptoms is ear pain.  The system that we talk about on the website has helped numerous people get relief from their symptoms. If you would like to know more about what we found that finally worked, please use this link; How David finally got relief from his Meniere’s disease symptoms

 

The article on ear pain was inspired by many of our readers sending in questions about their different symptoms.  When we write these articles, we send them out to our newsletter subscribers before we post them to the website.  If you have not signed up for our Meniere's Disease Health Information Newsletter you can learn more about it, or sign up for it, by Clicking Here.
 
We hope you found the information here helpful.  Thank you for visiting our website.

 


 

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