Somatosensory Tinnitus

What is Somatosensory Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the phantom sensation of sound in the absence of overt acoustic stimulation. Tinnitus is mostly subjective, as only the patient experiences it, and it is generally described as whistling, hissing, sizzling, or ringing. It can be frustrating and distracting from your everyday activities, including concentration, sleep and work.

Tinnitus can be related to hearing loss or a noise trauma, where cochlear abnormalities are the initial source. However, somatosensory tinnitus is a subtype of subjective tinnitus, where cervical spine (neck) or temporomandibular (TMJ) area causes or changes a patient’s tinnitus perception. Even though it is rare to have just somatosensory tinnitus, a large percentage of patients can have secondary influence from the neck and jaw region.

Therefore, somatic tinnitus is related to the somatosensory system of the cervical spine and temporomandibular joint.  It is associated with activation of the somatosensory, somatomotor, and visual motor systems.  The loudness or intensity of this type of tinnitus can be changed by sensory or motor stimuli such as muscle contractions, eye movements, mechanical pressure on myofascial trigger points, or joint movements.

Dry Needling

Dry needling targeted to myofascial trigger points can decrease muscle tone and normalize the neurochemical pathways of muscles.

Myofascial Release

Hands on treatment of muscle and myofascial structures can increase the compliance and extensibility of the fascia in craniocervical structures.

Comprehensive Methods

Our approach and time with you allows for treatment of the cranial, cervical and orofacial structures all in one so we do not leave any crumbs behind.

What are treatment options for Somatosensory Tinnitus?

Treatment of somatosensory tinnitus is a condition that is commonly overlooked and generally not comprehensively managed. This is due to a lack of awareness that very specific physical therapy exists which can be extremely effective. As physical therapists with special interest in the cervical spine and TMJ related conditions, vestibular rehabilitation (dizziness/vertigo) and headaches, we understand that an effective approach to improve somatosensory tinnitus must include a multi-faceted approach including:

  • Treating the structures of the jaw and neck responsible for symptom production

  • Prescription of specific exercises to stretch tight muscles and strengthen others to help normalise TMJ and neck function.

  • Addressing lifestyle postures and other factors that may be placing strain on these injured structures resulting in symptoms persisting or recurring episodically.

  • Assisting to reduce fascial and nervous system involvement through manual therapies to the cranio-fascial and cervical spine.

  • Working in conjunction with your dentist, audiologist or specialist to coordinate any other treatment you may be receiving such as the use of hearing aids.

  • Referral to other specialists with a special interest in tinnitus for further assessment / investigation and treatment where necessary.

Treatment is personalized to each person’s unique needs and focuses on the use of manual therapy techniques that restore optimal function while relieving pain and symptoms as quickly as possible. Our goal is to maximize each individual’s progress toward an active pain-free lifestyle.

Discover how PhysioFit of NC can help you with your tinnitus and get back to feeling better and living better.

Call us today at 919-728-0335 for more information or to schedule an appointment online.

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