Monday, January 17, 2005

Tight muscles and...plugged ears?

Here's a physiological oddity that has me thoroughly curious, even though, had I thought about it for longer than a minute or two myself, I might've figured this out on my own.

Wait, wait. Let me back up. There's some backstory here...

I have noticed, over the past few months, that my ears are regularly kind of "plugged." Not to the point of causing earaches or other discomfort, but I do sometimes feel like I've got a bunch of wax in my ear, and that my hearing is kind of diminished from time to time. Not problematic, per se, but quite annoying. I have noticed it most frequently while I am exercising, and I get to the point where I can hear my own breathing inside my head. Sort of like I'm placing a crank call to myself, except I can't hang up.

Often times, the workouts in which my ears get plugged up are also the ones that are followed by one of my lovely exertion/tension headaches. If you haven't previously been acquainted with an exertion headache, you're not missing anything. They hurt. My head throbs, I feel like I'm about to have an aneurysm and I feel like splitting my own head open to relieve the pressure. Thankfully, they do go away within 2-4 hours, but I'm pretty miserable until then.

Anyway, one of the things that happens to your body when you get an exertional headache is that the blood vessels in your head, face and neck constrict, which is what in part causes your headache. What I found out today, that was so interesting, is that tension in your neck and shoulders can cause your ears to plug up! Voila! A possible connection!

So, my solution? Well, it's sort of a multi-pronged approach:
  1. Do longer workouts, at slightly less intensity.
  2. Take an aspirin prior to my workouts.
  3. Ensure that I've had at least 32 oz. of water in the hour prior to my workout.
  4. Quit falling asleep on the couch watching TV at night, with my head propped awkwardly up on those throw pillows.
  5. Do more self-massage on my neck during the day.

As a nationally certified massage therapist, you would think I would've had this epiphany a while back, but I guess sometimes even a "professional" needs some help jumping on the clue train.


Post a Comment

<< Home