extreme outer ear pain

Posted by ellienewfan @ellienewfan, Feb 4, 2013

Please….someone help me.

I’ve visited my allergist, an ear-nose-throat specialist and my own internist.
None of them have ever heard of my problem and don’t know how to help me.

Started approx 20 yrs ago, Every couple of months I would get an awful pain on one of my ears if I had been laying on it during the night. It would happen to either ear, whichever one I laid on.

To describe the pain. It is so intense that it wakes me. Pain is NOT inside the ear but around the edges of the entrance of it. It is so painful, I can’t touch it. It will be throbbing. It also hurts tremendously behind, towards the bottom back of the ear. Can’t touch that either. The only thing that will make it go away is when I then get up and stand and within approx 30 min it is gone. I even tested it by massaging behind the ear (once I could bear to touch it) and it seemed to make pain go away faster.

The last approx 3 years, I have no longer been able to even lay on either ear when in bed because now the pain will come every time. I have learned to sleep on my back. Sometimes I would still move onto my side during night, and wake up with pain.

For last 6 months, I’ve been having pressure and achy feeling around one of the ears, even while laying on my back. Then I started getting the pain even while sleeping on my back.

I am very much afraid that the day will come when I will no longer be able to lay down in my bed to go to sleep.

I am desperate to get to the bottom of this and perhaps for first time in 20 years be able to comfortably lay on my side in bed.

My ENT doctor said my ears are healthy …. i have no hearing loss.

This ear pain, however, is starting to affect my daily living, since I don’t seem to be able to get the restful sleep I need.

I will be forever grateful if someone could pinpoint this. thanks.

@celesteh77

DId your pillow come from England? Did it cost about $66? There are some pillows out there that claim to be the one to use…Wonder why I get relief and absolutely no discomfort or pain since I fold my own pillow and keep it away from the cartilldge…waiting on the "original" pillow the doctors office told me to buy. If I don't like it, I'll send it back. Please let me know if you bought the one from England. Thanks.

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Yes it was from England

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My left ear has a throbbing sensation only when someone is speaking into my right ear.
If someone is speaking into my left ear, there is no throbbing is either ear.
If someone is speaking into my right ear, there is only a throbbing sound in my left ear.
I have spoken to an ENT about this issue, and have had no luck in gaining an explanation or solution.

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Hi @wmc0002 and welcome to Connect. That must be so confusing. you may have noticed I moved your post to this existing discussion in order for you to Connect with others who have similar experience. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in your email notification to find your post.

How long have you had this throbbing?

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@ethanmcconkey

Hi @wmc0002 and welcome to Connect. That must be so confusing. you may have noticed I moved your post to this existing discussion in order for you to Connect with others who have similar experience. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in your email notification to find your post.

How long have you had this throbbing?

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This issue has been occurring for about the last 3-4 years. I have been advised to take Sudafed or Flonase spray to try and relieve pressure. But those solutions have made no impact.

I should have also stated that this issue doesn’t not occur 100% of the time, but very often.

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I have been searching for someone who has the same explanation as I do with my ears. It almost feels like my ear is trying to remove itself from my head. It is so tender that it is painful to touch, and since I have starter taking adderall, it has started radiating the pain.

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@jamienolson

Hello, @jennyt and @gls58, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! Thank you for participating in our community. Sharing our personal medical stories and learning from each-other is our goal and looks like we are already off to a great start with the discussions you have both posted.

I would like to call back and introduce members @upartist, @ellienewfan, @bearylynn and @jfortinofish1 to reignite this topic of conversation. When this topic started in 2013 the posts that were made by our members have hopefully gotten some answers and relief. Can you all please give us an update? Have any of you had success with a diagnosis or do you have pain management in place that makes it now bearable to sleep at night?

@jennyt, sorry to hear you are having sleepless nights and pain, I bet that is really frustrating. When do you see your physician? Would you mind coming back and letting us know what they say about your condition? Can you also tell me- Do your ears feel hot and or flare up?

@gls58, so glad to hear you have found some pain relief! That is great news. How long did you suffer in pain before trying the calcium/vitamin D regimen? Was the post that you read stating to try the calcium/vitamin combo in Mayo Clinic Connect? If so, I could try and locate it for you. I would just need to know what group it was in.

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I can totally relate to almost everything I am reading. I have this too, but not only when I sleep. My pain has been on and off for over 20 years and can triggered at anytime. I am 48 today, and it has been more frequent and painful then ever.

Last week I resorted to an ENT after seeing a dermatologist. (My primary Dr. thought the symptoms I described could be skin related).

The ENT Dr. said my ears are perfect and he can’t see anything wrong. He had no answers. And dermatologist said the same.

In the beginning, I use to think my sunglasses were pinching a nerve. 20 years later, it can happen anytime to either ear. Sometimes it will swell and become red.

I try to keep track of what is happening before attack’s happen. After all these years, the only similarity I can relate to episodes is that; I am breathing! I doesn’t matter what time of day, mood, health food, climate etc. Most times I can feel when an episode is about to happen to prepare myself. They are intense and sometimes debilitating.

I’ve read most of the posts and I still can’t find an answer/solution as my symptoms worsen.

This is definitely a medical mystery I hope we can find relief for.

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I have been having same issue for last 18 months. Lidocaine helps dull pain but two doctors have no clue. This one suggested Accpuncture has anyone had Accpuncture and if so any positive results.

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This may Sound Strange,
My pain is like yours but different. When I sleep on my side and the ear that is up is the one I wake up with in pain. One thing I have noticed with a lot of replies are that most of you suffer or are easily susceptible to acid reflux. I have a possible hypothesis. Question? Could acidic stomach fumes seep though the throat to the ear and cause an inflamed soar ear? Just a thought. I will try the vitamin treatment I see below but maybe it could be the acid. Anyway thank you all for the continued help.

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Yes it can still be the mild acid reflux. Look it it up. I will continue to try to manage my acid reflux without too much medication.

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@kevin1234

This may Sound Strange,
My pain is like yours but different. When I sleep on my side and the ear that is up is the one I wake up with in pain. One thing I have noticed with a lot of replies are that most of you suffer or are easily susceptible to acid reflux. I have a possible hypothesis. Question? Could acidic stomach fumes seep though the throat to the ear and cause an inflamed soar ear? Just a thought. I will try the vitamin treatment I see below but maybe it could be the acid. Anyway thank you all for the continued help.

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Kevin1234: MY PAIN IS GONE!!!! so Kevin. let me tell you my experience. have had terrible pain both ears for 20+ yrs when I sleep on them, especially the right ear. dr sent me for xrays, to Ent, to another Ent. no one had answer all looked at me funny as if I was nuts. also have acid reflux and very bad allergies for which I take generic Zyrtec. in meantime allergist retired and new one said we have a pocket of cartilage behind each ear which probably had become inflamed for all those yrs. that's why when I would massage behind ear gently at first then aggressively I would hear crackling. new doc said that was the cartilage breaking up. about 2 yrs ago I told my old allergist about getting very sick after plane ride. he suggested doubling up my allergy pills. BTW this allergist also had no answer about ears. because the next allergy season was so bad I kept taking double dozes of pills. I first noticed (about august of 2019) that my left ear was no longer painful to lay on. still did not make connection. then about 2 months later (late september 2019) the right ear was no longer painful. UNBELIEVABLE…..after 20+ years!!! but, during October, I had a very bad allergy day and my right ear (which had been the bad, bad one) started to hurt when I laid on it. so I decided to experiment. stopped taking allergy pills (in past only took allergy pills in summer). it took approx. 3 weeks (just a week ago) that my pain came back not as bad as before but bad enough to notice and only in right side. I got so scared it was coming back that I got up from bed and immediately took allergy pills. next day it was gone again. so….what does that tell you? I think everyone has this pain for different reason, but perhaps someone might have for same reason as mine and could benefit from my experience. BTW, your reference to acid reflux is very interesting and could very well be an answer for others.

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