Texan ENT Specialists January 2018





Pain caused by TMJ will be centered directly in front of the ear, rather than inside of it. TMJ pain is named for the temporomandibular joint, which is basically a technical term for your jaw joint. To feel the joint, place your fingers right in front of your ears and open and close your mouth widely. TMJ pain often arrives without warning, but it’s normally caused by one of a few common issues. Stress on the joint can come from teeth grinding (usually while you’re asleep), previous trauma, poor teeth alignment, arthritis, frequent gum chewing, or general stress. Most patients with dentures or with many missing teeth will experience TMJ pain from time to time. The pain ranges from sharp pangs that occur after chewing to a constant, pulling pain. Once the cause of pain has been correctly identified as a TMJ issue, an effective course of treatment is fairly simple. I recommend you treat it the same way you would treat pain in other joints. Avoid excessive stress by cutting down on chewy, sticky foods and gum. Massage the painful area several times daily. Use a hot compress at least twice daily to minimize inflammation. And, if necessary, take ibuprofen three times daily until symptoms improve. In severe cases, a dentist or oral surgeon can recommend oral appliances or surgery to combat the issue. If you think you’re suffering from chronic ear infections, ask yourself whether or not it may be TMJ pain in disguise. If you don’t identify the real source of your pain, you’ll never be able to treat it effectively.

Many patients think that they suffer from ear infections when they actually have TMJ pain. Sometimes, once they get around to seeing a specialist, they’ve already been through multiple rounds of failed antibiotics. The reason for the common confusion is that pain caused by these two conditions is localized in the same area. An easy test to determine if you have an ear infection is whether or not you suffer from muffled hearing. If you do, an ear infection is the likely cause. A doctor will confirm by checking for infected fluid in the ear.


Pistachio Goji Berry Granola Want to spruce up your morning yogurt? Top it with this tasty granola. Even better, swap out the dairy for coconut yogurt and enjoy your vegan breakfast.

Recipe inspired by LoveAndLemons.com.


• • • •

1 cup rolled oats 1/2 teaspoon salt

• • • •

1/3 cup pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup coconut flakes 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup goji berries

1 tablespoon coconut oil 3 tablespoons maple syrup


1. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oats in a thin layer and toast for 1–2 minutes. Add coconut oil and salt, then stir. Continue toasting for 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add maple syrup 1

but not burned, for about 5 minutes. 4. Remove from pan and stir in goji berries. 5. Let cool and enjoy as a snack or on top of your yogurt!

tablespoon at a time; stir to coat. 3. Once oats are toasted, add pistachios, coconut

flakes, and cinnamon. Cook slowly until pistachios and coconut flakes are toasted

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