Jaw or Ear Problem?

It has happened twice to me so far and I’m curious if anyone thinks it is paddle/water related: after paddling and rolling in the Potomac (warm, relatively clean), I get acute pain in the jaw, about a day later (over night). On both days I also drank a lot of cold (from the fridge, no ice) liquids fast, as I was also doing some yard work on a hot day and sweated tons.

I am not sure if I can attribute this to some infection from the river or to the cold. It might even be an irritation of the ear canal when I dry it after a shower with Q-tips: I’ve noticed mine has narrowed over the years and too much “massaging” it seems to result in a mechanical irritation of the tissue around the canal, not inside, presumably from mechanical pressure and stretching it to get the q-tip far enough inside.

Anyone else with something similar? It is quite annoying as it lasts several days and gives me a problem chewing food as it hurts as I open/close my mouth, but it also is so close to the ear canal that I can’t pinpoint if it s a jaw issue or something with the ear or throat…


Ear plugs…

– Last Updated: Sep-01-13 6:42 PM EST –

I started to wear ear plugs if I know I'm going to be upside down or have water splashing in my ears. I almost always use them when I paddle my surf kayak, because I know there is a good possibility I'll be rolling or getting waves in my face. Helps to prevent that water logged feeling after a long session, even though I don't wear nose plugs, everything dries out faster. Without ear plugs, it seems to take days to clear out, with water rattling around in my head and ears. Good luck.

you might google tmj disorder
as another possibility, as far as the ears go sometimes I put a drop of alcohol in each ear after I’m off the water to help dry out the ear canal

Swimmer’s Ear?
Unless your jaw is “popping” TMJ? it sounds like it could be “Swimmer’s Ear”, an infection from water left in your ear canal. When really bad it hurts to talk or sleep on the affected side and can be extremely painful. One test for this is if you tug on your ear lobe and it causes pain.

Prevention is easier than cure – I keep a small bottle mixed with 1/2 alcohol and 1/2 vinegar and give my ears a squirt after being underwater. Curiously I only have trouble with only one ear, probably due to some aspect of the ear canal that traps water.


I suspect an inner ear infection. I had one that was evident only by water in my ear while rolling. Otherwise, no other symptoms until I got water in the ear. I will bet you lunch.

My theory is cold beverage…
I think I’m just sensitive to cold beverages in large quantities… My mom and grandma used to warn us kids not to drink cold and we almost never did. But lately i have developed a “taste” for cold water or milk and i think this might be indeed doing something to contribute or cause it…

No infection in the ear canal (at least not that is seen with an otoscope) and i don’t think the canal is sensitive to touch the way it is when irritated by infection. The water this time of year is warm so I don’t wear ear plugs until it gets below 70 F or so, but maybe I should, just to keep the ears dry…

I probably have a mild case of swimmer’s ear with the ear canal (especially the right one) having narrowed noticeably compared to how it was 20 years ago, but it is still fairly open and no hearing issues as far as I can tell. But I’ve started to wear plugs when the water is cold, so hopefully it does not progress much further.

Check back with your physician
As The Affordable Care Act expands and gets implemented, eventually you’ll be covered.

Hummm. Sounds like…
Dear Mrs. Kocho, in compliance with your request, I am sending this report by messenger rather than mail, because you said you didn’t want your husband to see it. I’m afraid it’s bad news. A condition of arterial monochromia exists. This is a rare disease that usually affects only boxers. The first visible signs of the disease will be a falling out of the hair and irritability. There is a tendency for the tongue to turn blue, and he’ll tire easily. This will be accompanied by chills and he’ll spend most of his time near the stove. I have enclosed some pills. Give him one a day in a saucer of warm milk. Be affectionate. Make him comfortable, and he may live for as long as six months."

Dr. Ed Norton