I’ve started wearing my new mouthguard, and it’s making a big difference. I think it’s helping with the TMJ disorder, though I don’t know for sure, but much more obviously, it’s helping me to sleep. I’m not certain how to explain this, but my best guess is that I’ve apparently been holding my jaw clenched at night, which makes it more difficult for me to relax and sleep. With the mouthguard in, I have to put my lower jaw in an unfamiliar position, much further forward. At first, I thought this was going to be unpleasant, but before I got much of a chance to worry about it, I was asleep. And my jaw does feel a bit better, though there are so many things still going on in the area, it’s hard to know for sure. The ear itself still feels clogged, and sometimes it hurts. But the discomfort is lessening and becoming more localized. The hearing is still pretty limited and there’s still a pretty constant ringing in that ear. There also still seems to be some congestion on that side of my head, but it’s minor.
The last piece of the puzzle to try to solve is the eczema that has consistently disrupted the healing of the ear. The ear doctor has explained eczema as a systemic immunity problem that manifests locally. According to him, medicine is only able to treat those local manifestations where and when they occur–it’s unable to do anything about the broader systemic problem–and any success in treating it locally will be temporary (and, in the case of my ear, impossible because of everything else going on there at the moment). I brought this to my acupuncturist, and he suggested a naturopathic remedy of sulphur, which I started yesterday in incredibly tiny doses. It would be really nice if it worked, but I have trouble believing it will.