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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18462
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I have pain in my jaw, around my ear and just above my cheekbone.

Resolved Question:

I have pain in my jaw, around my ear and just above my cheekbone. I also have pain in my head just above and around my ear. I am experiencing and off balance feeling as well and is amplified when I chew. I notice tightness and pain where my SCM connect just behind and below the ear. Is it TMJ or SCM syndrome or is my anxiety making it worse?I'm am pretty sure I am not teeth grinding in my sleep. No pain in my teeth, or my gums.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 6 years ago.

How long has this been bothering you?

Is there tenderness when you press in a particular location?

What dose of ibuprofen are you taking?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It just started within the last two weeks. I have felt tightness in my jaw and SCM before it became this painful and causing dizziness. It became more painful after my anxiety about it started to grow and felt more tension. It is tender just above my cheek bone near the ear and behind the ear. Also tenderness on my jaw below the ear as well. I am taking 800mg or Ibuprofen. It barely helps temporarily. thanks you.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 6 years ago.

How often are you taking the ibuprofen?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Once a day. I'm not a very huge fan of taking medicine or any type of pill for that matter. Also my jaw does click and crack, but I'm almost positive I'm not teeth grinding. I sleep fine and right now its my only relief from the tension.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information.


Both TMJ and SCM can cause pain around the ear, headache, and symptoms of imbalance. Although the perception of pain can be diffuse, the area of tenderness will tend to better suggest the underlying problem. The TMJ is situated just in front of the ear canal, so would have tenderness in front of the ear or while pressing forward on the ear canal, and the tenderness would be exacerbated during range of motion of the jaw. The tenderness associated with SCM is along the muscle, which lies beneath and behind the ear. Another possibility is inflammation or infection within a sinus that exists in the bony prominence to which the muscle attaches, which would have tenderness along the bone. The tenderness above the cheek bone may also be due to inflammation of infection in a different sinus. Stress is non-specific, and can make any of these conditions worse. Indeed, stress has been demonstrated to make virtually every disease worse, so does not help narrow down the possibilities. Ultimately, it would require an appropriate medical evaluation to determine the exact cause, but the use of ibuprofen is reasonable to try to relieve inflammation to see of the problem improves, although it may need to be taken at a higher dose. Like all anti-inflammatory medicines, lower doses may help ease pain, but higher doses are frequently necessary to relieve inflammation. For ibuprofen, it generally requires 1600-2400 mg per day to relieve inflammation. An over the counter antihistamine to try to relieve inflammation in the sinuses also would be reasonable to try. If these interventions are not successful, then it would be appropriate to seek further evaluation.


Dr. D. Love and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Can massage therapy injure the muscles associated? or cause more inflammation? Also I have pain down my neck into my shoulders and upper back. Is that also consistent with a sinus infection?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 6 years ago.

Neck pain would be more consistent with a musculoskeletal cause. Sinus infection would not directly cause pain down the neck, but there can be reactive enlargement of lymph nodes that can cause neck pain. Massage therapy is a double-edged sword. During an acute exacerbation, it may make symptoms worse, but in the long run, it does tend to help.