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tjk

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 

Hi,

 

About 1 1/2 years ago I started experiencing a twitch inside my left ear, which gradually increased in frequency and intensity. A couple of months ago I started searching around the internet for answers and came across this website. From what I learned on the site, it's pretty clear to me I developed tensor tympani syndrome and/or stapedial mycolonus in my left ear. I wasn't happy to hear from people posting that surgery was the only option.

 

I had a serious neck and shoulder injury for which I have done an extensive amount of physical therapy, and one thing I have learned is that muscles that have grown weak have a tendency to twitch, and so I deduced that there must be some weakness in the muscles and tendons in my ear and the result is the twitching. The big question though is how in the world do you exercise the muscles in your ear to strengthen them?

 

Well, I thought let me try and see what happens, and I'm happy to report that I have had good success with the exercises I've been doing. There are two exercises, one that I came up with myself, and the other I took from a book on yoga type exercises.

 

The exercise I came up with myself is simply repeatedly squeezing the eyes tightly shut for 3-4 seconds (which causes the muscles in the ear to contract) and then relaxing them. I started this exercise by doing a set of 20 repetitions once or twice a day and now do close to 40 repetitions. In the beginning, after doing the exercise you might notice a slight tickling sensation, a sensation of warmth, or a slight sharp pain which comes and goes briefly inside the ear (all signs that the muscles/tendons are improving in strength and flexibility). I noticed that in the beginning doing the exercise would actually cause my ear to twitch briefly just after having performed the exercise, although in time this stopped happening. Also, whenever my ear would begin to twitch as it did on a random basis, I would do the exercise and hold the contraction of muscles (squeezing the eyes tightly shut) for a slightly longer time (like 5-6 seconds) for a number of repetitions and this would actually cause the ear twitching to subside. When I do the exercise now, I do notice that the muscles in the left ear feel weaker than those of the right ear, although stronger since having started doing the above exercise. The twitching now rarely happens and only very briefly and I suspect over time with regular exercise the condition will be completely healed.

 

The second exercise goes like this:

Place the index fingers of each hand on the outside of the ears and fold over the outside flaps of skin which lie next to the opening of the inner ear canal, so that you seal off the ear from the outside. Using the tips of your middle fingers, tap gently on the fingernails of your index fingers. When done properly, you will hear a metallic sound much like the beating of a drum. Tap a regular rhythm, slowly, twelve to thirty six times. Pause. Then repeat for a total of three times.

 

These exercises have brought me great relief and I hope that those of you who try them also find success. I would be happy to know that these exercises have prevented sufferers of this annoying condition from having to go through a surgery that could be costly and unnecessary. Of course, the exercises may not prove successful for all those that attempt them, and some may find surgery the only option, but I would be willing to bet that anyone who practices these exercises regularly, on a daily basis will find some relief if not complete recovery. And remember to be patient and persistent. I think most people should notice some improvement within a couple of weeks to a month. Good luck!
 
tjk

tjk

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tjk

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #2 
Hello,

I've been reviewing the exercise that I have come up with myself for the ears, and I've found that the first explanation that I gave is really not correct. Just squeezing the eyes tightly shut does not necessarily cause the muscles in/around the ear to contract, although when I'm performing the exercise the muscles around the eyes do slightly contract, though it's not necessary to squeeze the eyes tightly shut, and actually I would now recommend against this. I'm sorry for this conflicting description, but I've found this exercise very difficult to explain. I was a little to eager to explain this exercise and should have thought about it more thoroughly before posting.

I can actually do the exercise with my eyes open, although it is slightly more difficult.

Maybe the best description I can give is this: Imagine if you were exposed to an extremely loud sound, your natural reaction would be to squint or close your eyes and "close" your ears inwardly by pushing outwardly from inside the ear. There is a slight movement in the ear and almost a slight scrunching sound and your ability to hear is slightly muffled. When doing the exercise, it feels as though I'm pushing the inner part of my ear outwards (I know it sounds strange, but I'm having a hard time finding any other way of describing this) and my ears are moving slightly back (what might be referred to as wiggling the ears).  Also, the neck muscles are also contracting, more so the muscles on the back of the neck (which is what is causing the ear wiggling) and slightly the muscles on the front of the neck.

When you do the exercise you should feel a slight movement in the ear and hear something like a slight scrunching sound. Remember, you do not have to squeeze your eyes tightly shut, and as I said I would now recommend against this.

tjk
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Debbie

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 1,512
Reply with quote  #3 
tjk, thanks so much for this.
I think that sm may be a component of the many strange ear things I've been experiencing and will do your exercises.
Just a couple of clarifications:
How important do you think the back of the neck muscles are to this?
Seems with me that front muscles are tightening much more.
What are your toungue/throat/jaw muscles doing?
Thanks, Debbie


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tjk

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #4 
Debbie,

The neck muscles, both front and back I would say play minor role in the exercise. The key is the "pushing the inside of the ear outward", and in doing so the neck muscles also contract, but I can contract the neck muscles without anything happening in the ear, so don't think you just have to contract the neck muscles and therefore you will achieve "pushing the inside of the ear outward".

The tongue/jaw/throat muscles should be relaxed. I hope that helps.

Also note, that in conjunction with the tapping ear exercise, there is another exercise for the kidneys which should also be done (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine). Contact me and I will be happy to send you that exercise.

I would be happy to hear of peoples results with these exercises, by posting after you've been practicing them for some time. Good luck.

tjk
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Debbie

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 1,512
Reply with quote  #5 
tdk, I noticed that also the exercise strengthens under the eyes, and area which when toned reflects K chi. : )
About the toungue position again: do you think allowing the middle/back region of toungue to rise/semi press to the roof of mouth intensifies this exercise? I'm asking to make sure I understand this ex, this happens naturally when I do it.

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tjk

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #6 
Debbie,

Please note that the exercise I came up with myself does not come from TCM, and so I can't really say whether placement of the tongue on the roof of the mouth would be of any benefit.

tjk
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Debbie

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 1,512
Reply with quote  #7 
This Q was not having to do with TCM : ), only how to get the ear muscles physically moving.
Seems like such an exercise, when working the muscles would bring circulation to areas around eardrum & possibly through ear canal.
Even w/nerve damage exercises help stim related nerves (this is how healthy fitness strength training works also.)
Thanks tjk, it helps to know that at least in your case physical exercises seem to have helped your sm/tts.
I acknowledged an interplay between Western anatomy & Eatern chi approach/observations because I'm sure there is one.


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