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.

I just found this thread today so I'll try it tonight. I do have a Mackenzie neck roll! It's weird having an issue like this, but I can just tell it wasn't due to infection. It's the outside/cartilage area of ear and it's not red, itchy or swollen. I'm fine after I sit up for a few minutes. Like I said, it's like having a part of you fall asleep, then it stings till the blood gets back in the pinched area. Thanks again, I'll let you know how it works!

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@clt54

I just found this thread today so I'll try it tonight. I do have a Mackenzie neck roll! It's weird having an issue like this, but I can just tell it wasn't due to infection. It's the outside/cartilage area of ear and it's not red, itchy or swollen. I'm fine after I sit up for a few minutes. Like I said, it's like having a part of you fall asleep, then it stings till the blood gets back in the pinched area. Thanks again, I'll let you know how it works!

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Update: Mackenzie neck roll seems to be helping. I haven't had a night of ear pain yet!🤞

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I have this pain mostly on the outer ear in the center of the ear. It wakes me up, it is always on the same side. I do not sleep on that side. It is not every night. It is so strange. When it wakes me up I getting a heating pad lay on that and after awhile it goes away. When it first starts it really is painful. I did go to a specialist he said there is nothing wrong with my ears that I should consider maybe it is dental. I am not a specialist but I just don't think so.

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@franant

I have this pain mostly on the outer ear in the center of the ear. It wakes me up, it is always on the same side. I do not sleep on that side. It is not every night. It is so strange. When it wakes me up I getting a heating pad lay on that and after awhile it goes away. When it first starts it really is painful. I did go to a specialist he said there is nothing wrong with my ears that I should consider maybe it is dental. I am not a specialist but I just don't think so.

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@franant Welcome to connect We here try to help with our problems that may resonate with you . I had ear pain. It hurt to touch my outside of ear and it felt like the ear canal was closing . I had a friend to look at it and she said there was pus in the canal . I had a telecall with my PCP told her of my symptoms she said right away it was an infection. The Dr ordered 3 prescriptions for me now it is much better and Im ready to stop the meds The antibiotic pills where for only 7 days now Im still on ear drops and an ointment I rub aroung and in the ear not into the ear canal . What did the ENT say ? You can always go see someone else that's your right Hope you get some answers . Good luck

Liked by Juli

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I've been having the outer ear severe pain intermittently for about a few years now. No redness, both ears, mostly at night, but occasionally during the day. I was concerned that it was relapsing polychondritis, so went to my ENT doc. I told him that when it happens, I massage the ear with moisturizer and the pain subsides very quickly. That info plus the lack of infection or redness made it clear to him that it isn't RP, which was a relief. There's no way a pillow with a hole would help me – I'm a back sleeper. Just wanted to let you all know about massaging the ear with moisturizer (I use Eminence coconut moisturizer) but I don't think the brand matters. I find that if I moisturize the ears before sleeping, it minimizes the occurances.

Liked by lioness

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Yeah, that is a different issue than I had. Mine is from laying directly on the ear and cutting off the blood supply (or something!). Glad you found a solution to your pain though!

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@poco

I've been having the outer ear severe pain intermittently for about a few years now. No redness, both ears, mostly at night, but occasionally during the day. I was concerned that it was relapsing polychondritis, so went to my ENT doc. I told him that when it happens, I massage the ear with moisturizer and the pain subsides very quickly. That info plus the lack of infection or redness made it clear to him that it isn't RP, which was a relief. There's no way a pillow with a hole would help me – I'm a back sleeper. Just wanted to let you all know about massaging the ear with moisturizer (I use Eminence coconut moisturizer) but I don't think the brand matters. I find that if I moisturize the ears before sleeping, it minimizes the occurances.

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@poco that is interesting to read about moisturizing you ears before bed . I The Dr gave me a ointment to put on my ears 3 times a day one before bed so guess there is something to it . Thanks for the info . We all give tips as to what helps us .

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@lioness, does the prescribed ointment work for you? What is the name of it?

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@poco

@lioness, does the prescribed ointment work for you? What is the name of it?

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@poco Yes it did help the name is Mupirocin2%ointment 22gm Directions for me was to use it 3 times a day for 7 days . Ask you Dr about it tell him your symptoms and see what he says . Im on the last day and my ears feel a lot better . Gook luck Let me know how you are doing

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I had the same pain. Both ears for 30 years. Found that when i woke up from pain i could massage the ear area mostly in rear gently at first and eventually harder. Pain would go away. BUT…i want to tell u what happened last fall. I have bad allergies and ent told me we have cartilage behind the ear which can get inflamed and it will cause this pain although there was no solution to get rid of inflammation. My previous ent ..now retired…advised me to double up on allergy pills if i flew starting couple days before.. Flying would get me very ill w severe allergy symptoms. I did and it worked. But i kept taking double doses for several months. Last fall i no longer had pain in one ear. I was ecstatic. After 30 years i could lay on my left ear. A month later my right ear no longer hurt. I've thought a lot about this and only thing i can figure that my pain was due to the inflammation which was allergy related and the double doses healed it because nothing else had changed. I didn't dare stop double doses afraid it would come back. Couple months later did go back to one pill only. To this day my pain has not come back. This may not b everyone's problem. But who knows.

Liked by lioness

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@ellienewfan, what allergy medication are you taking and how often? I have had this pain (30yrs) on the outside of both my ears, I purchased the pillow with a hole. It works most of the time but I still get the pain sometimes. I currently don't have any allergies, as I've been tested for them. I'm wondering if Ibuprofen would work as it's an anti-inflammatory.

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@lioness

@poco that is interesting to read about moisturizing you ears before bed . I The Dr gave me a ointment to put on my ears 3 times a day one before bed so guess there is something to it . Thanks for the info . We all give tips as to what helps us .

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Meloxicam.

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@bon_bon

@ellienewfan, what allergy medication are you taking and how often? I have had this pain (30yrs) on the outside of both my ears, I purchased the pillow with a hole. It works most of the time but I still get the pain sometimes. I currently don't have any allergies, as I've been tested for them. I'm wondering if Ibuprofen would work as it's an anti-inflammatory.

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I tried ibuprofen several times . did not work for me….but could for you. I used feather pillows so I could punch hole where my ear would be. once a day I was taking two allergy pills cetirizine which is generic for Zyrtec. keep in mind that my idea that mine was allergy related is just my guess since nothing else changed in my routine or medical situations. my allergies started approx. 30 years ago so it would be logical that inflammation and pain was related to that. also, after the pain was gone, and I started to go to one pill a day instead of two, in couple of weeks my right ear (bad one) started to feel like it was coming back. I quickly went to 2 pills a day again. after a couple of weeks, went back to one a day. it has not come back since that time, last fall. I am so lucky. by the way I used to get up in middle of night when pain woke me and sit up for about 5 minutes or so. pain would go away. later I discovered if I massaged around outside of ear it would go away faster. started softly and increased pressure as I could tolerate it. I wonder if inflammation of cartilage can occur for many reasons. when I was at ENT and he mentioned about the inflamed cartilage, he said "buy the highest thread count of pillow casing, that should help". I could not understand how that could be but did buy it as he suggested. shortly after that all pain was gone. I can't imagine that the thread count could have done it. but it's wonderful to sleep on …ha ha. good luck to you.

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@ellienewfan

at least i’m not alone in this. no redness, no swelling, etc. Doctors i saw (ear, nose, throat doc.; my own internist; had exrays and MRI) looked at me funny when i tried to explain my situation. thanks @bearylynn,i also have been bunching up a pillow so there is least amount of touching my ear. i seem to be able to somewhat lay on my left side, but my right cannot abide it. in fact if i even lay on right side even without anything touching my ear, i’ll still get it.terrible pain. i am currently 72, and think that perhaps i’ll never get rid of this and must suffer with this for rest of my life.

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I do realize that this post is 4 years old but I had to take a chance and put my input in. I have this issue as well and I am wondering; do any of you that have this issue, have fibromyalgia? I do and I am wondering if this could be that?

Peace

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@hippygrandma

I do realize that this post is 4 years old but I had to take a chance and put my input in. I have this issue as well and I am wondering; do any of you that have this issue, have fibromyalgia? I do and I am wondering if this could be that?

Peace

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Hi @hippygrandma, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. While this discussion was started 4 years ago, it is still active. I'm confident that @ellienewfan @nibor63 @lioness @celesteh77 and others will join me in welcoming you. While we wait for the others to join in, I also want to let you know about the fibromyalgia discussions in the Chronic Pain group:
– Feeling at my wits end with Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/feeling-at-my-with-end-with-chronic-pain-and-fibromyalgia/
– Fibromyalgia https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/fibromyalgia-3/

Hippygrandma, Do you feel that fibro contributes to the outer ear pain? What have you tried to relieve the pain?

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