Clogged Ears -
Just Colds and Allergies
Most people are aware that
you can have plugged ears associated with colds, allergies, and sinus
infections. However, we have found in my family that muscular tightness
in the neck and shoulders pulling on ears can actually cause ears
to plug up. When our ears get plugged from muscular tension, it can
prevent them from draining properly, and be a contributing factor
in the development of sinus and ear infections (as opposed to sinus
infections causing plugged ears).
I've noticed that plugged
ears are common problems for the people in my family with muscular
imbalances around the head, neck and chest area - especially those
with uneven shoulders, scoliosis, neck pain and TMJ.
Some activities that I've
noticed precipitated clogged up ears for us include:
games like Nintendo and Xbox. When our kids play Xbox and
Nintendo too much, they tighten up the muscles in their neck and
arms. This seems to cause a set of "muscular chain reactions",
causing repetitive strain injuries in their hands and locking up
the muscles from their hands to their shoulders, and on through
their heads and necks. As a result, their ears will often get closed
up from muscular tension pulling the ear canal out of alignment.
kids have gotten close ears from muscle tightness from playing
too many hours of video games.
with a lot of writing sometimes will cause my children clogged
ears and/or ear pain.
riding on bikes where we brake by squeezing a lever on the handle
- I've had my ears plug from
lifting weights, and have gotten a number of emails from people
who have had the same experience.
- Some yoga poses.
I love doing yoga and overall it has been great for my body and health.
But I have to pick and choose what poses I do, as some will open up
my ears and some will close them up, depending on which muscles get
strengthened and which get released during the particular pose.
- For me, embroidery work
seems to have a negative impact on my head and neck muscles and contributes
to my ears closing up.
- High blood pressure.
We've noticed our ears get plugged from eating certain foods and supplements
that are known to increase blood pressure. Foods that we have noticed
that tend to increase our blood pressure include anything with a lot
of B vitamins (fortified cereals, multivitamins, liver), red meat, foods
high in saturated fat, foods high in salt, acidic
foods, and foods with helpful bacteria like
cultured yogurt and acidophilus supplements (helpful bacteria aid
in the synthesis of B vitamins).
for Plugged Ears
Obviously, the remedy for plugged
ears depends a lot on the initial cause. If our kids ears plug up from
muscular tension from playing too much Xbox, then we have them stop playing
for a week or two and have them do a lot of yoga and trigger point
therapy to relax their muscles in the meantime.
Trigger point therapy is a
form of self massage that is great for loosening up tight muscles. It
works well on its own, but combined with yoga we've found it has been
a very effective and low cost way of eliminating pain and relaxing muscular
tension. By relaxing muscles that may be tight and pulling downward on
the ears, for us trigger point therapy helps our ears to open up and drain
better, reducing the possibility of trapped bacteria causing sinus infections
and eliminating a feeling of fullness and pressure in the ears.
We initially started doing
trigger point therapy for conditions such as fibromyalgia and neck pain,
but as a pleasant side effect I began to notice that sometimes my nose
and ears would suddenly unclog as I was doing the treatments. I tried
it on my kids and found that the trigger point therapy also helped them
to open up their ears and noses, thus helping them to get over sinus and
ear infections relatively quicker than they had in the past.
The yoga positions from the
book Back Care Basics by Mary Schatz that seem to open up my ears
the most are:
- Supine Knee-Chest Twist
- Crocodile Twist
When I do these poses and twist
with my knees to the left, I can often feel my right ear and right nostril
in my nose open up. The reverse is also true. When I twist with my knees
to the right, I can often feel my left ear and left nostril pop open.
The poses that seem to cause
my ears to close up are the standing poses with outstretched arms, such
as the revolved triangle pose and the warrior pose. Most of the other
poses are neutral - meaning they neither close nor open up my ears.
One stretch that also seemed
to work was to just lie on one side and stretch my top arm up over my
ear and then just rest like that for a few minutes. It doesn't always
work, but sometimes I'll notice either my ear or nose kind of pop open
as the tension gets released from under my shoulder.