I can constantly hear music in my head. It can be when I wake up, when I walk the dogs or in the car. It really brings me down. What is wrong with me?
Strange as it may sound, it’s not uncommon to hear sounds that aren’t there. There are several causes, but most often this type of symptom is due to a condition called tinnitus.
It’s not entirely clear what causes this, but we know it’s often linked to hearing loss. It can also be a side effect of medication.
Usually patients describe hearing a constant or intermittent high-pitched ringing, but others say it’s more like a buzzing or whistling sound. Some describe a buzzing or beeping sound.
Today’s reader asks DR ELLIE CANNON about the constant sound of music they can hear – which is often a symptom of tinnitus, although it can be an incredibly rare auditory hallucination
The ‘noises’ plague people, causing a tremendous amount of stress and often stopping them from sleeping. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for people to hear more complex sounds, such as music, simple melodies and familiar songs.
More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…
Hearing music can also be an auditory hallucination, although this is much less likely than tinnitus.
Usually it is about voices rather than music.
Hallucinations are a sign of the mental illness schizophrenia, but they can also occur with substance abuse and are caused by sadness and confusion.
In any case, it is important to see a doctor who can make a diagnosis. It is vital to report it to a doctor if any other new symptoms are present, such as changes in vision, dizziness, headache or movement problems.
They should be able to perform an ear exam and hearing tests. Other tests, including a brain scan, may be needed to rule out serious illness. Once a diagnosis is made, patients should expect to be referred to a specialist clinic for treatment.
Three months ago I had a total knee replacement. Since then I have suffered from tightness, stiffness, intermittent numbness and some throbbing knee surgery. The doctor says this kind of discomfort is normal. Am I right to be concerned?
The recovery time after a major surgery like this can vary quite a bit. Factors that dictate this include a person’s general health and fitness prior to surgery and whether there were any complications. In joint replacement, physiotherapy can also play a major role during recovery.
After a knee replacement, it can take up to three months for the pain and swelling to disappear, but it can take up to a year for the leg swelling to completely disappear.
You could be looking at a year or two before things are completely “back to normal.” Of course, if you feel uncomfortable, this can seem endless. Swelling is often described as a feeling of tightness, stiffness, or throbbing.
Another reader wants to know when their knee will return to normal after replacement surgery
Follow-up appointments – with a doctor or other specialist – after a knee replacement are very important.
Patients should have sessions with a physical therapist, but much of the rehabilitation work should be done by the patient on their own time. The patients who are most diligent about sticking to their exercises and making sure they stay as healthy as possible have the best results.
I would also say that people know their own bodies, and if recovery from surgery doesn’t feel right, especially with significant pain, then it’s definitely worth a discussion.
Pain may be related to an infection, or there may be transient nerve or muscle damage. Excess scar tissue may also form, which could explain a slow recovery. Numbness is considered a recognized complication of knee replacement surgery.
For the past 13 years I have been taking Oxycodone and Duloxetine tablets for the pain in my neck and lower back. I try to keep myself active and healthy, but I’ve put on weight every year since taking these drugs. Can you give any advice?
Unfortunately, both prolonged pain and taking pain medications can result in weight gain that is very difficult to move. Part of the reason is that it is often difficult to pinpoint the cause.
Do you have a question for Dr. Ellie?
Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.
dr. Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases or provide personal answers. Always consult your own doctor in case of health problems.
For example, chronic pain can lead to a bad mood and loneliness, which can lead to overeating even when we think we are healthy.
Likewise, chronic pain naturally leads to limited mobility and decreased exercise, which no doubt also affects weight.
Oxycodone is a strong prescription-only pain reliever related to morphine – these are known as opioids and can be highly addictive.
Duloxetine is an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication used in both conditions. It is also used in chronic pain and can be prescribed in combination with standard pain relievers by pain clinics.
This drug often causes weight changes, as well as intestinal upset and appetite problems.
Unexplained weight gain, weight loss, or possible side effects of medications should always be discussed with a primary care physician or pain specialist. Weight gain can also increase your risk of other health problems, and these should be monitored.
Youngsters deserved some fun…and didn’t break the rules
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve put my nightclub days behind me. As a mother of two and GP in my 40s, I wasn’t one of the revelers dancing all night last week after clubs were allowed to reopen.
If I was 21 again, would I have been there?
Maybe. Do I think maybe it wasn’t the wisest thing to do now? Could be.
Young people dance on July 19, 2021 following the reopening of The Piano Works in London’s Farringdon to kick off ‘Freedom Day’ once lockdown restrictions were lifted
But I certainly wasn’t going to get involved in the tinkering and judging that seemed to go on endlessly on social media.
In fact, I found it rather sad, and a reflection of the vicious, curtain-pulling attitude that seems to have become alarmingly common in the past year.
Young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Their education is hampered.
They have lost their jobs and see their finances decimated.
They have also chosen, in their millions, to be vaccinated against a virus that is unlikely to harm them.
And once the vaccine passports go into effect, anyone who wants to go out must have had a shot.
To be clear, they didn’t break any rules last week.
They cannot be blamed for living their lives, or for the pandemic.
Baffled by a barrage of experts
We are in the midst of an epidemic – of experts.
They are day in, day out on TV and radio, in the newspapers and online – for the past year and a half we have been bombarded with often conflicting scientific opinions.
Even I, as a doctor, find it baffling, I search it all – mainly because it often contradicts and, I would say, sometimes even undermines official guidelines.
I’ve lost count of the times a patient has been to my clinic saying they just didn’t know what to think or do anymore because they seem to be reading different things all the time.
These experts undoubtedly have good intentions, and I wouldn’t want to censor anyone, but scientists would do well to remember that keeping these debates so public could also create mistrust.