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atstanley

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 #1 
Hi. I am a 37 year old female with recent tinnitus. When I say recent, it has been about a year. I also have 2 herniated discs in my neck(c3c4 and c5c6) and another bulge. I have degenerative disc disease. I wondered if this could cause T. I have gone to PT and done traction and soft tissue massage and I swear it helped. But, my doctor bluntly told me my neck issues had nothing to do with my tinnitus, while my PT said it absolutely could cause ringing in the ears. I do not have any hearing loss and often experience fullness in my ears. I have also had a few epidurals in my neck to relieve pain but it did not relieve the tinnitus. I also feel like masking devices sometimes make it worse as it is such a high pitched hissing. Either way it is driving me to the point of insanity. I am trying to manage my anxiety as I know it makes it worse, but it's been tough. Any thoughts on this?
Dr. Nagler

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 #2 
Hello atstanley ... and welcome.

Please clarify something for me. You wrote [in part]:

"I have gone to PT and done traction and soft tissue massage and I swear it helped."

In what way did the traction and soft tissue massage help, and how long did the help last? I'd appreciate it if you would explain that a bit so I will be able to better address your concerns.

Thank you.

Dr. Stephen Nagler
Atlanta Tinnitus Consultants, LLC

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The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
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No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
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atstanley

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 #3 
Hi. I feel like I have two different types of ringing in my ears. One is high pitched hissing and the other is a lower pitch that I hear more when my ears are ecluded. The high pitch is what bothers me the most. It is a combo of hissing and the sound of changes jingling. WHen I went to Physical Therapy, I think the intensity improved as in it lessened. I went about a month where I didnt hear it unless I was in a completely silent room and only heard it when I slept on my ear. I am a side sleeper. I hear the hissing and jingling ALL the time now.
Dr. Nagler

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 #4 
I understand now. Thank you for clarifying.

I have one more question, and then I think I'll be able to answer yours and point you in the right direction ...

So as it stands now you hear the hissing and jingling all the time. What I want to know is on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is "I'd prefer not to have tinnitus but in the grand scheme of things I do not care because even though I hear it all the time my tinnitus does not bother me all that much" and 10 is "My tinnitus has totally and irrevocably destroyed my life," where you you fall overall these days?

stephen nagler

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
atstanley

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 #5 
I am at about a 5 or 6. I try not to think about it but it gets so loud sometimes it makes me crazy. I think I get more anxious and upset thinking that it will never go away which I am sure makes it worse. But I definitely am having a very hard time with it.
Dr. Nagler

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 #6 
Thank you for responding.

So yours is the sort of terrific question that really deserves a whole book to address adequately. An Internet post can at best scratch the surface, but I'll give it a go.

First of all, head and neck musculoskeletal problems are very common in the general population, which means that they are very common in the tinnitus population. Importantly, there are no studies suggesting that they are more common in the tinnitus population than in the general population. And even more importantly, I am unaware of a single tinnitus sufferer who has achieved meaningful lasting relief solely as the result of a course of physical therapy or cervical spine surgery. That concept - meaningful lasting relief - is crucial, because when you get right down to it, that is what every single tinnitus sufferer seeks. True, there are many ways to look at "relief," but however you define it, that's where just about everybody who visits this board wants to go. Bottom line: just because you have hissing and jingling tinnitus, that does not mean you have to suffer from your hissing and jingling tinnitus.

Atstanley, you did not seek out this site because you have tinnitus. Right now you think you did, but you didn't. No, you sought out this site because you have tinnitus and it makes you feel bad. If your tinnitus did not in some form or fashion make you feel bad, then you would have tinnitus, but you really wouldn't have a problem, right? Now from reading your posts in this thread, it seems to me that you are assuming a perfectly logical strategy for tackling this challenge. You figure that ideally (1) if you could get rid of your tinnitus, then your tinnitus could not possibly make you feel bad, or alternatively (2) if you could lastingly diminish the intensity of your tinnitus, then you would feel less bad. Well going back to your very first post in this thread and in view of the fact that (as I said earlier) I am unaware of a single tinnitus sufferer who has achieved meaningful lasting relief solely as the result of a course of physical therapy or cervical spine surgery, I'm with your doctor in that I do not believe your path to meaningful lasting relief from your tinnitus will involve your neck issues. Could I be wrong about that? Not likely, but anything's possible. That being the case, what would I recommend regarding your neck? I would recommend a very practical approach. Specifically I suggest that you assume that your tinnitus is totally unrelated to your neck problem. Address your neck problem solely from the standpoint of pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, paresthesias, etc. as recommended by your doctor and physical therapist. Take your tinnitus completely out of that equation. Then, if your tinnitus happens to improve (however unlikely that might be), consider it to be a delightful bonus rather than a reason to treat your herniated discs and degenerative disc disease in the first place.

OK. So how let's move on to the rest of the concerns you raised at the outset of this thread.

But in order to do that, I need to ask one final question of my own. It's a serious question. Do you consider yourself to be reasonably well-balanced and mentally sound? Or do you believe you have a serious psychiatric problem like a psychosis of some sort? Please take no offense here. You will see why I asked shortly.

stephen nagler

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
atstanley

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 #7 
I will say. I did traction, soft tissue massage, cupping and stim yesterday and the ringing intensity is less. Just as a follow up!
Dr. Nagler

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 #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atstanley
I will say. I did traction, soft tissue massage, cupping and stim yesterday and the ringing intensity is less. Just as a follow up!

I learned long ago not to dispute another person's perception of his or her tinnitus in an attempt to make a point.

Instead let us assume that you are 100% correct. Let us assume that you had a tinnitus loudness match performed before your PT appointment yesterday and then again after. And let us further assume that your loudness match was indeed significantly lower after the appointment than before. The question is how long will it be before your tinnitus loudness match returns to its previous level and whether or not it is practical to have treatment again and again and again each time that happens with the reasonable expectation that you will achieve the same result.

No need to respond. Just something to think about.

stephen nagler

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
atstanley

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 #9 
I am of a good mental state, yes. I do not have psychosis.
Dr. Nagler

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 #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atstanley
I am of a good mental state, yes. I do not have psychosis.

Excellent. And it certainly sounds like you are well-balanced from your postings.


Except earlier you wrote that your tinnitus "is driving [you] to the point of insanity." Given that you are of a good mental state and devoid of psychosis, would you not agree that your assessment to the effect that your tinnitus is driving you to the point of insanity is coming from a place of frustration and emotion rather than from a place of reality and logic?

Of course you would.

And that being the case, my next question to you is whether or not the type of emotion-based catastrophizing that led you to post that your tinnitus is driving you to the point of insanity is in any way helpful to you. Because if your problem is that you have tinnitus and it makes you feel bad, it seems to me that catastrophizing serves no function other than to reinforce just how bad your tinnitus makes you feel!

More to the point, how you feel falls under the umbrella of reaction to tinnitus. And no matter how loud or pitchy your tinnitus might be at any given time, no matter its timbre, if you do not react to your tinnitus, it cannot possibly make you feel bad. Moreover, the less you react to your tinnitus, the less bad you will feel. (Because, again, feeling bad is a reaction!)

The challenge lies in the fact that you cannot will yourself to react less (or not at all) to your tinnitus; it must be accomplished indirectly. But it can definitely be done.

So whenever you have managed to figure out that tinnitus cannot be figured out at all, then perhaps you can turn to strategies for achieving meaningful lasting relief through the mitigation of your reaction to your tinnitus.

Perhaps start HERE.

All the best with it.

stephen nagler

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
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Dr. Nagler's Tinnitus Corner is provided for education and information only. It is not intended for the purpose of providing medical care and should in no way substitute for appropriate in-person consultations with qualified healthcare professionals. By using this site, participants agree to hold Dr. Nagler and Atlanta Tinnitus Consultants, LLC harmless with respect to any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage arising from following the postings herein.